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    • One of the books they assigned to us was A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. The book was about the differences between how working class, middle class and wealthy class saw the world and the norms they followed. For example, if you went to a party, the book claimed that you would judge the food differently based on your class:

      quantity of food (working class)

      quality of food (middle class)

      presentation (wealthy)

      The book went on to describe other differences including settling arguments (fighting, discussion, lawsuits) and meeting new people.

      The author was exposed to all three worlds: she grew up middle class, married a guy who grew up working class, and then moved into a wealthy community where she was a fish out of water. It was fascinating to me, because I observed that fish out of water experience with my parents, both children of immigrants and both growing up in inner city ghettos and then moving into the middle class suburbs where the unwritten rules were different.

    • The food example reminds me of Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

      The most basic need is to have food at all (quantity). If that concern no longer is an issue, one might want their food to be safe, as in healthy and not making you ill (quality). Once that's established, it's all about status, as in having someone who caters to you (presentation).

    • Wow, both comments are fascinating especially taken together. Yesterday I finished a book about the history of Reddit and part of the story is one of the cofounders, Alexis Ohanian, marries Serena Williams, the tennis star. It seems to me both of them grew up middle class and now they are both wealthy and famous.

      I was wondering what it was like to make a class change like that when the book got to the part about the wedding. Serena had 3 different wardrobe changes and they described each one with descriptors like "the embroidery took 1500 hours to complete on the second dress she wore."

      I've never fully appreciated the need for elaborate presentation, which I guess means I will always be middle class regardless of income.

    • That makes a lot of sense with the hierarchy of needs over food, @Factotum .

      What was also interesting in the book was how wealthy people make new friends. Apparently you couldn’t just go up to someone at the country club and introduce yourself. Instead, you needed to be introduced by a mutual friend. I still can’t wrap my head around that one.

      @Chris I once took a week long crash course on French cooking at a culinary school. I couldn’t cook to save my life at the time and the course taught the basics so you could cook almost anything. The weirdest most useless part was when we practiced presenting how are food was assembled on the plate. We literally went around the room and commented on who’s plate was the most visually pleasing.

      I still don’t get the whole food presentation thing—it’s not like it tastes any better!