Hillbilly Elegy

91epx6odutlBook #32: Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance

Is poverty a state you find yourself in or a mindset, or both?  Why do so many poor people get trapped in cycles of poverty, family disintegration and drugs?  And more importantly, what can be done socially or politically for those who are trapped in these cycles?  J.D. Vance grew up a poor boy in a working class, broken family with Appalachian roots in Southern Ohio.  Despite his rocky childhood, he escapes this life and earns a Law degree from Yale.  More than sharing an inspiring success story, J.D. explores and wrestles with his childhood and describes the lingering effects on his current life, outlook and thought process.  This is a fascinating read for anyone who rubs shoulders with people in poverty.  For me personally, it helped to better understand the background and mindset for those whom I serve at work.

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The Conservative Heart

b00nepdgrw-01-lBook #29: The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America, Arthur Brooks

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These immortal words penned by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 describe the ethos of what it means to be an American.  But sadly, for many people in our country, the principles of this statement are just out of reach.  There are a large number of people who are trapped in a cycle of poverty and don’t have the ability to pull themselves up into a life of dignity.  Liberals and conservatives debate how best defeat poverty.  In this book, Arthur Brooks gives an apologetic for why conservative principles are the best way to elevate the status of the poor and bring dignity to those who have been left behind.

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