I hate thug culture.

But I think that ex-thugs might actually help save our inner-city communities in America.

I am talking about the seemingly untapped brilliance of otherwise corrupt drug dealers and gang leaders in our American inner-cities. Rural communities too.

At a recent Clinton Global Initiatives America meeting (CGI America), I spoke about my vision for the re-winning of America, and it centers around our newest innovation with HOPE Business In a Box Academies, powered by the Gallup-HOPE Index. The example I gave while on stage at CGI America was not a traditional one. It was one of an inner city drug dealer.

As we were talking about the power of the American idea, small business, entrepreneurship and the thing we all need now — job creation — the simple question I posed to the audience of more than 1,000 leaders was, “what do you think a drug dealer is, if not an unethical entrepreneur?"

The whole idea of drug dealers, and the gangs I grew up around in Compton, California and South Central Los Angeles, actually turn my stomach. My best friend from childhood, George, was killed while hanging out with the neighborhood drug dealing thug.

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John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and is the only 2010-2012 bestselling business author in America who i
s also African-American. His
 newest book, due out May, 2014, is HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM, and will be published byBerrett Koehler Publishing. Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.

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