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Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  468 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Bridges Out of Poverty is a unique and powerful tool designed specifically for social, health, and legal services professionals. Based in part on Dr. Ruby K. Payne's myth shattering A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Bridges reaches out to the millions of service providers and businesses whose daily work connects them with the lives of people in poverty.

In a highly re
Paperback, 293 pages
Published June 9th 2006 by aha! Process, Inc. (first published November 10th 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,211)
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Feb 25, 2008 Stacey rated it did not like it
This book and the author's accompanying theory regarding poverty and the cultures of classes in the United States is not only poorly researched and cited but academically and personally disturbing. It rationalizes the stereotyping (and generalizing) of people living in poverty by constructing a "culture of poverty" akin to the one rejected by American social scientists by the 1970s. Unfortunately, it seems to be taking the non-profit sector (at least in Wyoming) by storm, encouraging people to j ...more
Bonnie Atkinson
Feb 11, 2012 Bonnie Atkinson rated it did not like it
I've long since overcome my tendency to fling books at the wall when I find them offensive, but this book literally begs to be flung. I truly cannot read more than a page or two without catching the blasted thing before it sails. Disguised as a book about how to help those in poverty, this is a text about how different "they" are from "us" - and reminds me with every word about the Ladies Aid Society in To Kill a Mockingbird. Speaking as someone who has worked extensively with those suffering th ...more
Apr 16, 2008 Sommer rated it did not like it
Unless you believe in generalizing an entire socioeconomic group, do not...I repeat, Do not read this book. Seriously, I can't believe someone published this book. It is a waste of time and the only reason I finished reading it is because I had to. Just don't do it.
May 08, 2012 Helen rated it did not like it
sensational, over-generalized & under researched.

Dec 10, 2014 Andy rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I did the seminar that was based on this book, which motivated me to read the book. Since my work deals with those making their way out of poverty situations, I looked for -- and found -- good nuggets of information in understanding the mindset of those in poverty. It is a culture I am personally unfamiliar with. But knowing how best to help is essential.

The nuggets were insightful, but I found the substance of the book lacking in:

1. Offering values. We can provide the "bridge" opportunities, b
Jan 16, 2013 Celia rated it liked it
Shelves: general-interest
As someone who works with First Nations in the Southwest area, this book has been helpful in understanding some of the issues that those in poverty situations face. As another reviewer criticized, this book mentions systemic issues but then mostly provides tools for caseworkers, mentors, and other middle-classed people in working with individuals. However, for most of these people, addressing systemic issues isn't feasible, and what they do have the opportunity to do is to help alleviate stresse ...more
Emilia P
Oct 21, 2012 Emilia P rated it liked it
Shelves: real-books
Imperfect but totally interesting and thought-provoking. As some have said, and as I, too, would say, the layout and the shaky researchedness of this does nothing in its favor -- secret: I sort of wrote it off to the sociological practice direction it was leaning in, but maybe that is unfair to that discipline? And possibly incorrect?

Regardless, there was a lot to take from this, and a bit to leave -- I do really think there is something to the "hidden rules of social classes" -- in particular t
Chuck Engelhardt
Apr 10, 2012 Chuck Engelhardt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do believe this is an important book. I will admit that I was one who felt that many in generational poverty simply need to make better choices. As the book points out, that's not entirely wrong, but it is far more complicated than that. One of the reasons I felt justified in that position is because of the number of friends I have who have risen from underprivileged situations. As I read some of the case studies, I could see how many of the pieces came together in my friends lives that allowe ...more
Kayla Bennett
Not going to lie, I do not like the us vs. them perspective that Ruby Payne uses throughout this book. However, I could see how the message within this book could be useful for the population of American's who have never experienced poverty OR even come into contact with individuals currently living in poverty.
Sep 11, 2015 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a neighborhood book club pick, and I look forward to the discussion about it. It reads like a text book, but I did find it interesting and eye-opening. I see that several critics on Goodreads called the book sensational, oversimplified, under-researched, and even stereotypical. But personally, as a middle-class person (and I never realized just how middle class until now) who doesn't have a background in social services or any real personal contact with or understanding of poverty, I ca ...more
Matthew Kowalski
Jan 03, 2014 Matthew Kowalski rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I just finished reading the book.
To me the book was a little breath that I have never had.
Conversations that few people want to have.

I want to have these conversations. I want to help myself, and the people that I love. I can do that by learning information they do not have and sharing it freely, in a way that does not judge or justify, that loves unconditionally.

I am working on unconditional love. It is worthy of my efforts though because it allows me to simply allow people to be, and to help t
Aug 22, 2009 Rj rated it it was amazing
For years, I have been practicing pediatrics in neighborhood clinics which primarily serve low-income families. But it was not until I had my own aha! moment at a Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop, that I began to better understand poverty and what my patients were up against. So many missing pieces of the poverty puzzle came together in my mind. Besides adjusting some of my own practices when caring for families in poverty, now I am a much stronger advocate for change in our policies and procedur ...more
Oct 07, 2012 EBugs rated it really liked it
Do you know how to get someone out of Jail? Or how to pay your bills without having a checking account? Or where to find free medical services in town? These are life skills necessary for survival when you live in the culture of poverty. Middle class and upper class citizens have completely different sets of rules that dictate how we respond to different life situations. It is the author's hope that by better understanding the rules and characteristics of poverty that we do judge, but assist tho ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Dia rated it really liked it
Newly degreed and looking for work in the community mental health world, I was asked by two different agency employers whether I'd read this book. I hadn't, so I got it from the library. I can see why it's considered essential reading in social service environments, and I think it should have been a part of my Master's coursework.

The authors dispense with academic formalities and provide numerous case studies, checklists, and quizzes to demonstrate what they've learned about the hidden rules of
Christina Kay
Mar 08, 2016 Christina Kay rated it really liked it
This book is concisely written in a textbook format that reads easily. I found it useful as a professional who works with people in poverty but grew up in the middle class. Of course it is based on generalizations (seemingly derived from five case studies) that do not hold true for all individuals in the group, but it definitely helped to explain some behaviors that I have observed in my clients that I previously had trouble understanding.

By no means should this be the only book you read if you
Apr 15, 2015 Joy rated it really liked it
I've not finished this book yet (class is still in progress) but as someone who grew up in poverty I can tell you that the research and observations are spot on. My mom's role, my neighbors growing up and our values from those days are laid out in disturbing accuracy.
You can get wrapped up in ignoring 'us' vs 'them' stereotypes or you can come to understand. This book is trying to tell you what makes the poor tick. The research is right. It may be as close as you can get.
Nov 15, 2014 Mindy rated it it was amazing
We will be using this curriculum in my programs! It's very practical, easy to read, and gives excellent tools to help bridge communication across socioeconomic backgrounds (among a multitude of other things depending on what you're after- individual, agency, or community level of intervention- it's all here...). Awesome.
Apr 12, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
I finished this awhile ago - but was going to wait to review it until after I read all the notes about each chapter at the end of the book. Well I misplaced the book this week and can't find it. :( . . . . So i am just going to review it even though i technically have't read it from cover to cover. (when it turns up i will - because the notes are just as interesting as the full text i think).

Very very interesting book. It gave me a new perspective on poverty and the cultural factors surrounding
Matt Swaffer
Oct 06, 2010 Matt Swaffer rated it really liked it
Bridges out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities is an insightful and yet practical look into the world of poverty. The premise of the book is that the culture of poverty is so different from the middle class and wealthy cultures that it is difficult for people living in the latter to help people out of the former. Much of the content resonated with me and reminded me of my experience years ago in the Little Village area of Chicago. Having the benefit of hindsight, I can see ...more
Paula Bothwell
Feb 22, 2016 Paula Bothwell rated it liked it
Shelves: poverty
The best part of this book is the case study section. The information was interesting, but extremely repetitive as it answered the same question over and over each new section. I think the message is good, though.
Loretta Harbertson
Reading this book was a remarkable journey for me. I had to confront my own prejudices and rethink how I thought about and interacted with those who live in poverty. I am grateful for the understanding it gave me.
Marjorie Elwood
May 25, 2014 Marjorie Elwood rated it liked it
Based on Payne's research into the differences in behaviors and attitudes between socio-economic classes, this book is geared towards social workers, teachers, etc., who can help mentor individuals out of poverty.
Cheri Linton
Feb 01, 2015 Cheri Linton rated it it was amazing
This book goes far in describing the hidden rules between the three socio-economic classes. If you don't believe it take the quizzes included and I think most people would be able to answer only the questions from their own socio-economic group. Therefore, it becomes clear that when people from the different groups come to the table to discuss solutions to finding ways to end generational poverty, they must fully understand the hidden rules that create barriers between us. This book is truly bri ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating and has completely modified what I believe and percieve about the poverty culture. After a series of studies, testing and hands-on mentoring, the researchers of this book created a practical and wisdom based approach to helping individuals overcome their social and emotional poverty postition. Anyone who comes in contact with another person should seek this book out and read it. Not only will you see glimspes of yourself in it's pages, but you will finally start to unde ...more
Jen Juenke
Jan 19, 2014 Jen Juenke rated it it was amazing
Coming from a Childhood in poverty this book had a lot of hints as to what to look for ie always something going on in the background, focus on people NOT things, etc and how to overcome those for any professional working with people who come from poverty! A great beginning book for understanding people in poverty!
Nov 09, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Explanations of the different languages and values among generational poverty, middle class and generational wealth as well as practical tips for movement out of generational poverty.
Debby Sleik
Aug 09, 2014 Debby Sleik rated it really liked it
I am reading this book for the third time. This is a excellent resource for any educator.
Jun 15, 2014 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The more I reference this book, because I occasionally give trainings and presentations using some of its contents, the more problematic it becomes for me. It's under-researched and over-generalizing in a way that could really be harmful to those of us who work with people in poverty and those who receive our services. This is not to say that "hidden" middle class rules of engagement don't exist in our society, because I believe that they do, but her blanket statements about the "reality" of pov ...more
Oct 26, 2013 Jenna rated it really liked it
This is a one-of-a-kind book for me, and I've been influenced in dealings with my students by it for years. However, the disclaimer at the beginning almost doesn't cover it. There are a lot of generalizations in the book, and it's hard to bear the repetition of seeing 'this class vs. this class' in custom and history, etc. I'm aware that the book is highly researched, but a few of the examples cited didn't align with my own upbringing in generational poverty. Maybe because I'm an outlying piece ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Chad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book will definitely make you think about your own perceptions on class and what defines or keeps people in a class. It has great examples of language uses in each class and what resources each class values. Actual stories from people who moved from a poverty culture are interesting to see how these changes in self and resources took place. As the book states, "we seek change because we perceive something to be wrong" can be applied to many different situations. Although there are points tha ...more
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“Vocabulary words are the building blocks of the internal learning structure. Vocabulary is also the tool to better define a problem, seek more accurate solutions, etc.” 5 likes
“The nearly uniform advantages received by the children of the college-educated professionals suggest the evolution of an increasingly distinct subculture in American society, one in which adults routinely transmit to their offspring the symbolic thinking and confident problem solving that mark the adults' economic activities and that are so difficult for outsiders to acquire in mid-life. A trend toward separation into subcultures jeopardizes the upward mobility that has given this nation greatness and presages the tragedy of downward mobility that produces increasing numbers of working poor. If this trend is to be reversed, a beginning must be made now. The issue is no longer one of eradicating poverty or of putting welfare recipients to work but of reversing a trend, the downward drift of the working class.” 0 likes
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