Before the 20th of December (2018), I have to have completed the manuscript for my next book with Penguin. It's tentatively titled 'Poverty Proof - 50 Ways to Train your Brain for Wealth,' and thankfully, I'm almost done. 

As part of the research for this book, I looked extensively into studies on 'what keeps people poor,' versus 'what determines upward mobility.' 

The answers are varied enough to fill a book, and will do so. But two things stand out above all. They are remarkably simple, yet critically important. 

According to The Brookings Institution, and a wide array of additional sources, the two most important things for any human being to do in order to escape poverty are:

1. Work hard; and
2. Faithfully maintain a family. 

Award-winning author and sociologist Isabel Sawhill points out that these answers - a good work ethic, and not having children out of wedlock - may not sound politically correct, but they are true. Provable, demonstrable, replicable.

She expresses disappointment in liberals who perpetuate a narrative of victimhood, telling the poor that they are eternally oppressed and unable to change their own scenario, thus perpetuating dependence. 

It places me in an interesting scenario as I write my book: I can either be politically correct, or I can tell the truth. I've decided that the truth is more useful. Sawhill points out that she is often called 'mean' for the conclusions that her studies reach. Like me, she doesn't care. She insists that correct answers are more useful to people than kindly lies. 

Which side of this equation do you err on? May I make a suggestion? Only one of them will set people free... 

Tell the truth, even when it's hard, and you could own your industry. 


Douglas Kruger is the author of two books on expert positioning, two on innovation, and several more, all published by Penguin. He is an international keynote speaker on the business circuit, focusing on innovation and strategic rule-breaking for leaders. To book him as the motivational speaker for your next leadership conference or event, visit