If all you had was twenty-five dollars, a gym bag and a good attitude, how far would you get? Adam Shepard set out to see whether starting with in a homeless shelter in Charleston, South Carolina with only those three things to his name was enough to get him his goal of a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within twelve months, and without relying on either his education or his former contacts.
He made it in ten.
The most important thing he started with was a good attitude, something apparently missing with author Barbara Ehrenreich who set herself a similar challenge and then whined about her failure in her book Nickle and Dimed, which "chronicled the difficulty of advancing beyond the ranks of the working poor." As Megan McArdle helpfully points out to Mssss Ehrenreich, "If you set out to prove you can fail, you will generally find it is not that hard. That failure is therefore not good evidence of the impossibility of success." But it does provide evidence that if you're poor in spirit then you'll likely remain poor in more tangible ways too.
It's only a small example, but it illustrates a point well made by both Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, that most of today's rich are yesterday's poor, and that 'class' is more an adjective than a noun. [Hat tip Noodle Food]