"Poor, hungry and driven” is a jocular backronym (back acronym) for “Ph.D.” Mario Gabelli, founder of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors in Rye, New York, said in the 1990s that he hired the “poor, hungry and driven”—Ph.D.s, but not necessarily people with that degree. Basketball coach Rick Pitino picked up the term from Gabelli and wrote about it in Success Is a Choice: Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life (1997).
Other Ph.D. backronyms include “Piled Higher and Deeper,” “Pizza Hut Deliveryman” and “Poor, Hungry Doctor.”
The Bachelor of Science degree is frequently called B.S. ("bull shit") and the Master of Science degree is called M.S. ("more shit” or “more of the same"), with both referenced in print since at least 1932. Popular backronyms for the M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) degree include “Massive Bank Account,” “Master Bullshit Artist,” “Mediocre But Aggressive” and “Mediocre But Arrogant.” M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree backronyms include “Money Doctor” and “Much Deeper.”
Wikipedia: Mario Gabelli
Mario Joseph Gabelli (born June 19, 1942) is an American stock investor, investment advisor, and financial analyst. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors (GAMCO Investors) a $30 billion global investment firm (assets under management (AUM)) headquartered in Rye, New York. Forbes magazine’s 2006 Forbes 400 rankings listed him as #346 on the list of wealthiest Americans and estimated his net worth at $1 billion as of 2011.
The Ultimate Stock Picker’s Guide:
24 Top Experts Recommend 25 Stocks to Buy and Hold
By Warren Boroson
Chicago, IL: Irwin Professional Pub.
Long before he (Mario Gabelli—ed.) arrived at college, graduate school, and Wall Street, he says, he was a Ph.D.: poor, hungry, and driven.
Success Is a Choice:
Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life
By Rick Pitino with Bill Reynolds
New York, NY: Broadway Books
“I hired PHDs,” he (Mario Gabelli—ed.) said.
“I don’t understand,” I said. “I would think in your business you would hire people with expertise in managing money, not Ph.D.s”
“Not in an academic sense,” he said, “I’m looking for poor, hungry, and driven people.”
I’ve never forgotten Mario’s phrase, and now I, too, look for people who are poor, hungry, and driven.
Google News Archive
29 March 1997, The Blade (Toledo, OH), “NCAA,” pg. 24, col. 4:
“The thing I feared the most, what we’ve been pointing out to the team, the thing I think Minnesota has without question, is that I believe you have to have a Ph.D —be poor, hungry and driven,” (University of Kentucky basketball coach Rick—ed.) Pitino said here yesterday.
Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette
Q&A: Gary Varsho
Former Pirate ready to apply lessons learned
July 3, 2006 12:00 AM
By Paul Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Q. You told me last fall about some “PHD” incentive thing from Rick Pitino. Refresh my memory.
Varsho: Poor, Hungry and Driven. It was in a book by Rick Pitino. In the book, Pitino told of a CEO in some company who took him up to the executive level and showed him a bunch of workers in cubicles. He said to Rick Pitino, “Do you see all these workers? They all have PHDs.” And Pitino says, “Well, how can you afford all those salaries?” And the guy says, “Oh, no, no, no. They don’t have the degree. They’re all poor, hungry and driven to get the hell out of here so they can become something, so they’re working [really hard]. Poor, hungry and driven is what we’re trying to find in today’s player. Guys who are poor, hungry and driven to excel—maybe to win a World Series.
Google News Archive
27 March 2007, The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), “Gators Still ‘Poor, Hungry, Driven’” by Mark Long (AP), pg. C1, col. 4:
“Last year our motto was PHD—poor, hungry and driven,” (University of Florida basketball player Joakim—ed.) Noah said.
The $10 Trillion Prize:
Captivating the Newly Affluent in China and India
By Michael J. Silverstein
Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing
The poor, hungry, and driven— the “PhDs,” whose only qualification is a bountiful supply of energy and enterprise—dream about success, achievement, hope, material wealth, and a better life.
Real Estate, The American Dream or Nightmare?:
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And if all else fails call me. the best I can say is I want to help you and help you avoid any troubles that I have had the advantage of learning through the school of hard knocks and having a PHD (poor hungry and driven).
DEC 10, 2012 @ 08:03 PM
Billionaire Fund Manager Mario Gabelli: ‘I Like PHD’s: Poor, Hungry And Driven’ (And Some Investment Themes)
David Wismer ,CONTRIBUTOR
Mr. Gabelli said a couple things of note along this theme, as to his style and practices:
. The most important thing in his company is intellectual capital. He likes to hire very bright people and this is where he joked, “We like to hire PHD’s: Poor, Hungry and Driven.”