The life of I. J. 'Izzi' Wagner mirrors the development of Salt Lake City during the twentieth century—from poverty and obscurity to affluence and prominence. Wagner was born in poverty, but through hard work, wise management, and good luck, he built a fortune. He also changed the city for the better—leading the movement to eliminate overhead signs on Main Street, opening the southwest quadrant to controlled industrial development, ridding the city center of railroad tracks, funding the Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts, and using his substantial influence to promote tolerance.
His sense of humor was legendary. His tenacity in pursuit of goals was unwavering. His grasp of past, present, and future opportunities was profound. Bags to Riches shows the personal side of an 'outsider' who became an 'insider' through congeniality, good humor, and integrity.