After reading some more of Silas Lapham, I noticed some interesting things. It seems like Silas is just unable to adjust to his new rich lifestyle. One of the best examples I've found of this is on page 146 where he gets into an argument with his wife and daughters as to how to get more aquainted with this new society.
He just doesn't seem to understand how society works, and refuses to take the advice of his wife on the matter.
"Don't you know that it wouldn't do to ask those people to our house before they've asked us to theirs? They'd laugh in our faces!" Mrs. Latham to Silas.
Previously, on page 139 or so, Bromfield Corey and others are discussing the Lathams and how they do not fit so well into society, if at all. They are amused that Silas Lapham does not have a single idea as to how society works, and as we can see, they are entirely correct.
I would like to think that in these modern day times these sorts of issues are not present, that is, earning a lot of money and being successful in business, but not being able to get in on the higher society. I think the traditions of giving dinners and such have died out for the most part, and unlike Tom and Bromfield's concepts of "good sense and right ideas" being a detriment to society have evolved to a modern day's view that good sense and right ideas, that is being a good businessman or woman are admirable attributes that are valued by high society.