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Summary

A sociologist and former fashion model takes listeners inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of men.  

Million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley Mears takes listeners inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit - from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez - to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure.  

Mears spent 18 months in this world of "models and bottles" to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These "girls" enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Though they are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men's money.  

A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity.

©2020 Ashley Mears (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Very Important People

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Detailed, eye opening, but tedious and monotonous

Mears' book was extremely well researched, full of interesting accounts of the work of real life promoters and 'girls'. It was too detailed however, very repetitive and monotonous to listen to.

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WOW. This woman is SERIOUSLY SMART. Shines a light

This is a fantastic listen to a subject written by a highly intelligent, smart and savvy woman. I never really read books on Sociology, its not my field. I am so glad that I listened to this book. Ashley shines a light on a world that everyone wants to be a part of but most people only observe from the outside. She tells it how it really is from the perspective of a lot of the major players in that arena. The cold hard truth is brought to bare on things.

It has clearly been very thoroughly researched and is very very well written. In no way is the book patronizing or looking down on anyone. Facts are presented as facts. Written in a very open and approachable way, in way that is lacking in so many academic books these days. A lot of academics seem to have their heads up their own backsides. This book is a refreshing change from all that.

My only criticism would be that I wish it had be narrated by the author. Nothing wrong with the narration, I just prefer books to be narrated by the author.

Those people who are giving bad reviews clearly have some kind of chip on their shoulder. Those people who say that models are all stupid or nasty are just as narrow minded and bigoted as those that think that all ugly people must have nice personalities and be very intelligent. To the person who said "Who cares what models think?", I care and so do a whole load of other people.

She presents an inside look into a world that is spoken about, written about and often derided and yet so many people want to be a part of it. There is an explanation about the economics of what goes on as well as a sociological look at things.

I really look forward to discovering more work by this author. She has clearly got brains and physical beauty and what appears to me to be a very down to earth and realistic approach to life. Keep up the great work Ashley and lets hope that you are able to narrate your next book.

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Who cares about Joe Low

Rubbish book I couldn’t believe this got past any editor.. boring dull who gives a fuck about ‘models and bottles
’ Jesus wept


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Fun and interesting

I like books on socioeconomics, particularly as applied to parts of the economy that I don't have visibility into. This book was exactly that and was interesting and enjoyable.

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Absolute rubbish

The only reason I purchased the book was on foot of a not bad review in Saturdays FT. I am now through four chapters and cannot force myself to go any further. So far it consists solely of a list of New York clubs and the names of those who can gain you access where for the dubious pleasure of parting with exorbitant amounts of money for various brands of alcohol one can have the company of very tall young women. What other services these ladies may be called upon to provide is politely skirted. It would appear that the the billionaire frequenters of these establishments have no ulterior motive other than to share their good fortune with aspiring models, admittedly very tall ones.
I really must take it up with the FT. How the reviewer could decribe Very Important People as other than drivel is beyond me.

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A book that should have been an article

Rich men like young, beautiful girls which can be provided by other men who like money.

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  • nikiverse
  • 10-05-21

Sneak peek into "models and bottles"

A 31-year old sociology professor travels with high profile club promoters for about 2 years and tells us all about the promoters' job and lifestyle, "whales" and very rich clients, and "girls" aka models (attractive, tall, slender females) who provide the attractive backdrop.

The narrator was great. The story felt repetitive even though the author was highlighting different parts of the club lifestyle. There's just so many times you can hear "attractive" and "models" before you feel like you're reading some American Psycho babble.

The book seems to higlight what it's like to be a promoter. We only get about a chapter focusing on the models and their attitude towards the whole arrangement. Lastly, we hear little to nothing from the "clients" or the high profile rich people who make this whole book even possible. Seems like the party circuit is just so clubs can sell champagne at 1000% markups to rich white men or Saudis.

From what I gathered, the promoters get paid by the club to bring 10-15 models that sit around VIPs tables and provide attractive ambiance. The models get free meals at expensive restaurants and access to the clubs but, other than that, they dont receive cash for appearing at the club, nor are they expected to sleep around with any of the clients (sure jan). The models are expected to be available about 4 nights a week from 5pm-3am. It's an interesting read for sure ... it just feels like you're listening to the same thing but said in different ways after a few hours.

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  • The Person
  • 08-10-20

I liked it.

I didnt know this type of world existed. It was really interesting to hear. !

1 person found this helpful

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  • A D
  • 25-04-21

an excellent story but a little cynical

The book had a very Marxist view that value creation is always exploitation and seem to suggest a lack of agency from women, many of which probably understand this world and choose to participate in it willingly. The speaker was excellent.

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  • Yelena
  • 16-02-21

Fair and interesting treatment

An intimate but fair portrait of the people in this secretive and exclusive world. Very interesting to see this sexy world through an academic lens.

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  • Vladimir
  • 03-01-21

great as always

i have really enjoyed this second book by Ashley. I was continuously fascinated by her choice of words and language to accuratbel label the social interactions for what they truly were. I learned a new perspective and settled some of my older myths about night life. thanks for the detailed expose!