Paul Thiebaut III
I learned my way out of poverty. It started in 2003 at age 23 when I read my first book and discovered I loved learning about poverty. Until then, I lived in poverty, sold drugs, had been incarcerated and homeless, and was bound for prison or being murdered. That first book made me aware that I loved learning about the environment I lived in. From then on, I read and wrote so much that I learned my way out of poverty.
I learned my way out of poverty by discovering two interconnected neuropsychological facts: (1) There are things I am innately driven to understand. (2) Continuously learning about these things makes me feel good, know more, and do more. At age 23, I accidentally created a neuropsychological feedback loop that resulted in the continuous acquisition of skills and understandings because of how good it felt to learn. I named my discovery “intrinsic learning motivation”, or ILM.
Discovering my ILMs led me farther than just learning to read and write. I believe ILMs are where a person’s potential originates and if relentlessly pursued makes maximum use of a person's experiences, abilities, feelings, and thoughts.
After earning an economics degree four years after reading my first book, I started a for-profit tutoring practice. Then in 2009, I founded 10 Books A Home, a preschool tutoring nonprofit located in East Palo Alto, CA, the community I’m from that was the murder capital of the US in 1991. All tutoring is based the educational method I invented to cultivate ILMs, called ILM Method. So far, ILM Method has empowered both high- and low-income children to significantly outperform their peers in school.
Today, my chief ILMs include: (1) developing a comprehensive theory of ILM and scientifically investigating ILM, (2) fine tuning ILM Method to empower millions of high poverty and low income children to start kindergarten above grade level, and (3) building an education system based on cultivating all children’s ILMs - their potential.