The Black Man’s Guide Out of Poverty

BM guide

The Black Man’s Guide Out of Poverty: for Black Men Who Demand Better, by Aaron Clarey, Kindle Edition. Published in 2015.

I ran across this book by accident doing tangentially related research, and decided to spend the $5 to purchase the Kindle edition. I was driven by curiosity more than an expectation that I’d find any new information in it, but I’m glad I took the time to give it a quick read. It is a very quick read.

Author Aaron Clarey says several things in his book with which I vehemently disagree. Those disagreements center mainly on the tenets of my Christian faith against his pretty strident stance of disbelief. However, because he makes it clear that this book is written with very clear and practical aims in mind, I made the decision early in to focus my attention on the steps he offers to black men which will lead them out of poverty, and to base my conclusions and review on whether or not his book does what he says it will do.

I can draw no other conclusion than yes, the lion’s share of the counsel Clarey offers here will help not only young black men, but any young men who would take the advice offered in it. I can speak to the veracity of his advice because much of it –though not all of it- is identical to the path my husband took on his journey to building a successful life and family. This is particularly true of the advice related to education and career choices.

Among the sage pieces of wisdom Clarey offers are things such as:

  • Don’t major in stupid degrees
  • Be suspicious of the education establishment while using it to your advantage
  • Stay out of debt
  • Budget
  • Live minimally
  • Critically gore the sacred cows which are taught in the black community to determine their value and level of truth
  • Be willing to abandon the tribalism and dysfunctional elements of black culture
  • Choose your wife (if you choose to marry) well
  • Don’t get a girl pregnant

There was a lot of sexual and dating advice in the book which many would find problematic at best, and misogynistic at worst. As a Christian, there was plenty there for me to take issue with. The frank talk regarding the nature of relationships, women, and the treacherous landscape created by the current marriage of sex and politics is not for the faint of heart nor clutchers of pearls. Clarey pulls no punches as he expresses his beliefs on those issues.

Conversely, there were elements in those sections that I couldn’t argue with. Even though they offended my sensibilities, the reality is that black men suffer a disproportionate amount of financial harm as a result of poor sexual and relationship choices. These self-inflicted injuries needed to be addressed in a direct and no nonsense fashion, and was also why this book was written for men, to men, by a man. I was just an eavesdropper passing by.

I appreciate that Clarey acknowledged something that isn’t acknowledged anywhere else in American culture in an obvious, unambiguous way. Namely, that for all the wailing and beating of the chest on behalf of so-called “marginalized” groups in this country, American black men are among the most marginalized people in our society. It’s not women, not black women (at least not when it comes to college and career opportunities), and it isn’t immigrants. It’s certainly not the sexually degenerate fluid, who are celebrated everywhere we look. Last I checked, being celebrated is the exact opposite of being marginalized, which underscores how poorly educated our populace is, despite the fact that we experience more schooling than any other generation in history. It’s why you’ll find more and more commentary on the nature of a true education in the archives here. Clarey, to his credit, and using what shouldn’t even be keen skills of observation, got that part exactly right.

There were some definite areas in this book that could stand improvement. Firstly, I think it would have benefited greatly by having a ruthless editor. While the conversational tone made it an easy-flowing read, it also made for frequent errors more suited to a ninth grade composition student than an educated, successful author and consultant. Subject-verb disagreement, which commonly goes unnoticed in conversations, stands out more starkly in black and white.

In the Kindle edition, the charts and statistics which bolstered the arguments presented were not always easy to access and zoom in on. Also, there was profanity which was distracting at times. The latter note is just one more indication that the book wasn’t written with a Christian woman in mind as its audience.

Taken in its entirety, the book does what Clarey’s title says it does: Gives black men the tools and guidance they need to rise above the pack and build a successful life. Because of that, I think it’s worth the time to read it and worth purchasing. This is particularly true for black men who are grappling with the common handicaps and setbacks of being raised in the inner city or from the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.

4 out of 5 stars.


10 thoughts on “The Black Man’s Guide Out of Poverty

  1. Jed Mask says:

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing Mrs. Elspeth. Shall spread the word…

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your family. May you, husband and family stay blessed in God’s Great Grace. Amen!

    ~ Bro. Jed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. smkoseki says:

    Thank you for reading/reviewing. Surprised you would read Clarey(white manosphere) but find your value in being both a woman & black (whites endlessly miss the male/female thing with blacks; eg the prosecutors made with OJ case).

    Clarey takes on in his other books the sad lifestyle of the professional male in America & how money does not equal happiness so how to actually “live” on a budget. But for black men I think Clarey has a lot to offer…I find the idea of a black Clarey to be flat-out heroic…

    In the book, did he mention two huge advantages black males have in the US today, namely black women are very short of black men plus how many firms absolutely desperate to hire black men? So for the black man willing to “live white” and “date black” he’s got the world at his feet; I would go the opposite way of Clarey were I a black man willing to shoot for the top. For whites, Clarey makes more sense, to me. But I’m more interested in your opinion here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elspeth says:


    I am a woman of many dimensions, multi-layered and complex; one who doesn’t fit neatly into any one box. I can appreciate what Clarey offers in his book because I value Truth over ideology.

    The book really is written specifically with black men in mind, and Clarey does make a point of noting that what is considered “acting white” is not really acting white. Rather, it is simply the opposite of ghetto culture. He’s right, by the way.

    My daddy was very black identified but was hard working, financially savvy, and able to get along with people as individuals. Only ideological, race obsessed fools are hamstrung by the notion that there is but one way to be black.

    Also, he gave props and nods to Thomas Sowell. That alone is worth a lot to me, as you know.


  4. smkoseki says:

    …what is considered “acting white” is not really acting white.

    Yeah, I don’t consider Clarey to be “acting white” at all (a crude way of saying “go to school/trade, get married, and work for the man”). More accurately I should say “acting Asian” :-). This is the difficulty with any book that writes about race as the defining issue I guess.

    And boy, I can only imagine what Sowell would say about Clarey! Heh. The two cannot fit in the same box in my skull…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elspeth says:

    And boy, I can only imagine what Sowell would say about Clarey! Heh. The two cannot fit in the same box in my skull…

    See, having read a LOT of Sowell, I can easily see where he and Aaron Clarey overlap. Not hard at all…if they stick to the economics. The sexuality part is another matter.

    Of course, those of us out here living relatively mainstream lives have long since learned how to navigate, dealing with individuals and finding points of agreement with lots of people while saving our closest confidences for those with whom we share our most deepest beliefs and ideals.

    This is the difficulty with any book that writes about race as the defining issue I guess.

    As I noted in the book, almost all of the counsel in it is good for anyone. It’s common sense, economics, and healthy self-interest. And some not so healthy self-interest. Most of it is stuff that kids raised in a normal environment are taught it (or we caught it) growing up.

    The point of the book was the acknowledgement that many black men (upwards of 70% in fact) are not raised in an environment where these kinds of things are taught and/or modeled. Couple that fatherlessness and lack of structure with the anti-male bias in education and the culture at large, and there was an opening for tailoring a message to that specific group of men.

    Unfortunately, as more and more young men of all races are being raised apart from their fathers, this book (as I have said repeatedly) can easily be revamped and tailored for millennial men regardless of race.

    If he happens to come across my review, I think Clarey might make a pretty penny if he decides to do that, and markets it well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bike Bubba says:

    I have to admit that something in me cringed when Clarey, almost as fishbelly white as I, wrote a book with that title. But just as I must admit that I’m a more complex critter than a lot of folks give me credit for being, I must also admit that a lot of other people, not just our gracious hostess, set me straight on how they’re more complex than media stereotypes would indicate. And I fully approve of the notion of broadening the scope of the book–having lived in small towns for a lot of my life, and having seen Gary and Compton close up, it’s obvious that the differences are mostly in scale so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Elspeth says:

    @ Bike Bubba:

    You know, I see your point. There is probably somewhere out there, a black guy who could have (or maybe even already has!) written such a book. I hope so. I just happened to run into this one. Haven’t ran into any other guy’s yet.

    What this book adds to the conversation in my opinion was that it: 1) was ruthless in its dissection of the failed political strategy 90% of black Americans continue to cling to.
    2) It was written in plain -if coarse- English. Sowell, as remarkable as he is- isn’t for the average Joe. His writing requires a bit of intellect and willingness to think.
    3)Actually, Walter Williams, another black economist did write a pretty succinct column on the issue before. It covers many of these same bases:

    It just doesn’t go into the details, practical steps, and options that Clarey does. And Clarey writes this book on the level of the average Joe. Our intellectually snobbish culture doesn’t appreciate that nearly enough. But if you’re going to reach out at men on the margins of the economy, there isn’t any better way to do it.

    So unless and until I find another, better one, written by a black guy, my recommendation of this one has to stand.


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