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Criminal Genius: Troubled Kids Become Successful Entrepreneurs 

Wednesday, Mar 6 2013

For those tired parents who are stashing away money to bail their punk-ass kid out of jail someday soon, they can take some comfort in knowing there may be a return on that hard-earned cash.

A study conducted by researchers at University of California, Berkeley, shows that badly behaved children tend to grow up to be incredibly rich and successful entrepreneurs. We're talking the Bill Gateses who had to go to therapy in their youth for behavioral problems, and the Mark Zuckerbergs who were disciplined in college for creating a time-machine that throws people hours into the future with nothing to show for it but some vaguely frothy feelings about that girl in high school.

Here's how professor Ross Levine of the Haas Economic Analysis and Policy Group explains the results:

"Our data revealed that many successful entrepreneurs exhibited aggressive behavior and got in trouble as teenagers. This is the person who wasn't afraid to break the rules, take things by force, or even be involved in minor drugs."

Of course, not every kid booked into juvenile hall shares that destiny, so don't get excited just yet, parents; the study notes that these criminal kids generally have a bit of luck to boot, including a high IQ, wealthy parents, and exceptionally high self-esteem.

The researchers combed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a representative sample of 12,686 males and females who were between the ages of 14 and 22 when first surveyed in 1979; interviews with participants have continued to the present day.

In terms of earnings, the study found that successful entrepreneurs displaying these traits typically started their careers as high-earning salaried workers, and when they branched out on their own and established companies, they often enjoyed a 70 percent boost in earnings.

So be proud of your troubled brat, and hope they grow up to be one of the rich ones.

About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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