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Chapter One: Love, Death, and Money

This chapter serves as an introduction to why O'Rourke wrote the book, how he intends to write it, and what it will be. 

O'Rourke starts by saying the primary focus of his book is to determine what makes some places rich and others poor. He determines it is neither resource nor education, and puts forth a self admittedly weak postulation that it is something to do with money.

O'Rourke tells about his life when he was younger in the 70's, going to college as a hippy and getting a job as a journalist, and how he didn't care for economics then despite seeing some of the most important economics of the time happen right before his eyes. He realizes that most people do not think actively about money, and tries to reason why. He thinks that money may just be too complicated, or that people would just rather not think about money.

After saying some words about how economics is boring, particularly classic economics, he explains what he will do in the book. He would investigate successful places and poor places, and see if he could figure out what made each one the way it was, in hopes that a broader pattern would emerge.