Rags to riches

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For other uses, see Rags to riches (disambiguation).

Rags to riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth, and in some cases from obscurity to fame--sometimes instantly. This is a common archetype in literature and popular culture (for example, the writings of Horatio Alger, Jr.).


The concept of "Rags to riches" has been criticised by social reformers, revolutionaries, essayists and statisticians, who argue that only a handful of exceptionally capable and/or mainly lucky persons are actually able to travel the "rags to riches" road, being the great publicity given to such cases a natural Survivorship bias illusion,[1] which help keep the masses of the working class and the poor in line, preventing them from agitating for an overall collective change in the direction of social equality.[2][3]

Classic times[edit]

Modern times[edit]



  1. ^ Taleb, 2001. "Part II: Monkeys on typewriters; Survivorship and other Biases"
  2. ^ Peña, 2012. Chapter 5 "From Rags to Riches"
  3. ^ Weiss, 1969. P.35
  4. ^ Roosters storm into NRL grand final - www.smh.com.au
  5. ^ The Pursuit of Happyness - Rotten Tomatoes

See also[edit]

External links[edit]