By the time their obituary was being written in the late 1980s, Yuppies—the elite, uber‑educated faction of the Baby Boom generation—had become something of a cultural punchline. This was a species that regularly drank white wine spritzers deserved to be mocked. But amidst the Yuppies's preoccupation with money, work, and career success; their colonization of previously working‑class neighborhoods in various American cities; their self‑evident self‑absorption; and their obsession with having just the right status‑signifying stuff, from BMWs and VCRs to American Express cards and Cuisinarts, there was something serious happening, too, something that continues to have profound ramifications on American culture four decades later.  Based on new interviews with people at the center of the action in the '80s, this book brings to life the ascendance of this Yuppie elite. It chronicles educated Boomers' transformation from idealists in the late 1960s to careerists in the early 1980s, and charts how marketers, the media, and politicians pivoted to appeal to this influential new group. And it shows how Yuppie values impacted the broader culture—from gentrification in cities and an obsession with money and career success to an indulgent materialism. Most significantly, it shows how the me‑first mindset typical of Yuppieness helped created the largest income inequality in a century.  Brimming with lively and nostalgic details (think Jane Fonda, The Sharper Image, and laughable tidbits of Yuppie culture), Triumph of the Yuppies is a portrait of America just as it was beginning to come apart—and the origin story of the America we live in today.

Triumph of the Yuppies

Written by Tom McGrath

By the time their obituary was being written in the late 1980s, Yuppies—the elite, uber‑educated faction of the Baby Boom generation—had become something of a cultural punchline. This was a species that regularly drank white wine spritzers deserved to be mocked. But amidst the Yuppies’s preoccupation with money, work, and career success; their colonization of previously working‑class neighborhoods in various American cities; their self‑evident self‑absorption; and their obsession with having just the right status‑signifying stuff, from BMWs and VCRs to American Express cards and Cuisinarts, there was something serious happening, too, something that continues to have profound ramifications on American culture four decades later.

Based on new interviews with people at the center of the action in the ’80s, this book brings to life the ascendance of this Yuppie elite. It chronicles educated Boomers’ transformation from idealists in the late 1960s to careerists in the early 1980s, and charts how marketers, the media, and politicians pivoted to appeal to this influential new group. And it shows how Yuppie values impacted the broader culture—from gentrification in cities and an obsession with money and career success to an indulgent materialism. Most significantly, it shows how the me‑first mindset typical of Yuppieness helped created the largest income inequality in a century.

Brimming with lively and nostalgic details (think Jane Fonda, The Sharper Image, and laughable tidbits of Yuppie culture), Triumph of the Yuppies is a portrait of America just as it was beginning to come apart—and the origin story of the America we live in today.