Best Non-Fiction Books to Read: Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

Photo Credit: (

Anderson Cooper is best known for his reporting work for CNN and CBS, but one lesser known fact about him (or at least I wasn’t super aware of) is that his mother was a descendent of the legendary Vanderbilt family.

The Vanderbilt family is one that carries a lot of weight in American history, and it all descended from railroad and shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Unfortunately though, the Vanderbilt family fortune dwindled in the generations after Cornelius, mainly due to overspending and poor money management skills.

In the book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of An American Dynasty, Cooper goes through all generations of the Vanderbilt’s (starting from Cornelius) and describes their stories and contribution to the downfall of the family fortune. It is a bit sad to see such a legendary family squander their opportunities, but it is also interesting to hear about all the drama and struggles each family member endured.

Listening to the audiobook was a great experience because it is read by Cooper himself; I also was unaware that Cooper is an author in addition to being a reporter, so it was an opportunity to see Cooper showcase his writing skills. I really like his writing style and flow, and if you are interested in learning more about Cooper and his family history, this book is worth a read!

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty Recommendation Rating: 4

This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:

1: Something worth checking out if you have time

2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone

3: Something worth prioritizing if interested

4: Something worth making time to check out

5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: