April Thoughts

* shorter post due to a crazy week *

“Education isn’t a problem until it serves as a buffer from the real world and a refuge from the risk of failure”         – Seth Godin

This is my favorite quote from Seth’s Stop Stealing Dreams manifesto that I went through a few weeks ago. It really resonated with me because I find it so true. In a month I’ll be graduating, and I can see how many fellow graduates are treating education as a fill-in next step because they don’t know what to do.

Higher education is increasingly serving as a buffer from the real world. This buffer is a privilege that has become expected and makes the real world seem scary. For most of human history, there was no easy path to a comfortable life. Only within the past 50-100 years has the idea of college = a comfortable life come to life. Before that, education occurred on the job, in the real world. The idea that you could be more successful by disappearing from the real world and learning only from books was absurd.

I know that I’ve learned more from reading and applying what I read than I have from any class I’ve taken in school. Writing also helps with the learning process, and helps filter what I learned through the lens of my experience. For example, I’m working through Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People right now, and doing so very slowly. I’m trying to apply one principle from the book every day for a week and seeing how things go for me. Someone, I forget who, had a fantastic quote about how reading more is the easiest way to be smarter- you essentially are spending a few hours to learn everything about a subject from someone who has studied the issue extensively for at least a year.

 

Links I found interesting this week:

Article about Chicago’s new mayor. I especially liked how he is having corporations shape the curriculum of local community colleges, and give those graduates preference when they hire. It’s similar to what I wrote about here where corporations are beginning to assume the responsibility of educating future employees due to institutional failure.

Post from Chris Dixon about how the next big thing will look like a toy. He draws this idea from the Innovator’s Dilemma, a book I just finished this week. Things I see looking like toys: photovoltaic cells, electric cars, drones, and the entire Maker movement. I think all of these things will grow to become far more prevalent than they are now.

Patio11‘s comment really resonated with me – “Indeed, part of me thinks that applications (in general) are a backup filtering mechanism for people who haven’t figured out a more effective way to get what they want yet.”

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