Some social science tends to minimise the scope for personal choice. By repeatedly pointing out how rural elites act as a net to intercept benefits, how poorer people are exploited, and how capital-intensive technology can destroy the livelihoods of the poor, social scientists have exposed scandals and myths and helped to free practitioners from delusions. For that majority of outsiders concerned with rural poverty who practice rural development tourism, measures can be taken to offset the anti-poverty tendencies of contact. Urban, tarmac and roadside biases can be countered by going further afield and by walking away from roads; project bias by visiting not only projects but other areas and by non-scheduled stops. To enable the poorest to do better, the starting point is to understand how they manage at present. Research conducted outside the rural environment often entails heroic simplifications or gross distortions.