Advice to Grads?

This week, we wanted to do a show aimed at graduating students — which is why we booked The WSJ’s Andy Kessler to discuss his column Advice to New Grads: Scale or Bail and Amy “Tiger Mom” Chua (yes, her new book Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations isn’t strictly for grads, but hey, she’s the TIGER MOM). But one of our podcasters decided to hijack that theme and take us on his own magic carpet ride. Still, it’s a good show, chock full of advice, life, hacks, and other illuminating factoids. Happy Memorial Day!

Music from this week’s show: Eye of the Tiger – Bluegrass Tribute To Classic Rock

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There are 51 comments.

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  1. Icarus213 Thatcher

    I get Andy’s point, but I think he’s totally missing the whole reason behind why people do what they do. He seems to be assuming everyone is starting with a kind of utilitarian question: “how do I most effectively change the world for the most people?” If everyone (or even most people) started with this question, then yes, scale would be the key advice to give.

    But most people are not like that. I am extremely happy running the small business I started 3 years ago. It makes me happy, because I get to work with every single client personally, and I get to make a difference to people I know in my town. That means a ton to me, because my connection with everything is personal and real. My goal is not to optimize the scale of what I do, it is to intensify the personal quality of what i do.

    So if someone came along and said “but wait, if you found a way to scale what you did to a huge level, wouldn’t you be impacting a ton more people?” I would say, “no, not really.” I would be maximizing the quantity of my impact, but it would not nearly make me as happy as what I do right now. My goal is not to take my small company and eventually make it a huge company. That would not make me happy.

    There are certain industries that Andy is probably thinking of: Google, GE, Starbucks, whatever. And yes, scaling something small to something large in order to Save The Planet or whatever is a goal. But I don’t think that’s why young people are going overseas and working personally with some local community. They are doing that because they are meeting real people and putting their personal time and effort into it. I don’t think they are sitting back after it’s done and saying “okay, one community down, 50 million left to go!”

    I’ll be honest, I sort of experience a viscerally negative reaction when I hear guys like him talk. Not because they are wrong, but because they live in their own type of bubble, and don’t seem to understand people outside of it.

    • #1
    • May 25, 2018, at 12:49 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Kephalithos Member

    Icarus213 (View Comment): I’ll be honest, I sort of experience a viscerally negative reaction when I hear guys like him talk. Not because they are wrong, but because they live in their own type of bubble, and don’t seem to understand people outside of it.

    And then, there’s the fact that most of us newly minted 33-percenters don’t face a choice between Goldman Sachs and the Peace Corps; we face a choice between flipping burgers and flipping burgers . . . or, if our grades were high enough, delaying the inevitable with graduate school.

    Yes, all work benefits someone, somewhere. But the notion that any more than a fraction of a fraction of college graduates will “change the world,” by any means, is simply mistaken. Becoming valued members of our communities — “making a difference” locally — is all that most of us can hope for.

    • #2
    • May 25, 2018, at 1:20 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Good show, interesting guests. I really would like to hear the “micro-dosing” show. Probably need to bring in one of the scientists working on the subject. Rob mentioned New York and, I believe, California. The last time I saw an interview with Graham Hancock, I believe he mentioned some scientists in London also looking into the subject.

    • #3
    • May 25, 2018, at 1:39 PM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Freesmith Inactive

    “We have undergone massive demographic change,” said Professor Chua. 

    I guess it’s kind of like an act of nature, demographic change. It just happens and then we have to adapt to it. 

    Demographic change such as we’ve seen in America isn’t the result of a policy. Americans have no agency over it. Nobody caused it, promoted it, accelerated it or prevented opposition to it from succeeding. No massive amounts of money were spent to make it happen, nor did anyone consciously and premeditatively plan and profit by it. 

    No one should ever believe that. Such talk is “conspiracy thinking” and is very bad. Don’t even mention such things. 

    Be like Professor Amy Chua here on the center-right Ricochet podcast. 

    Massive demographic change just happens. 

    Deal with it. 

    • #4
    • May 25, 2018, at 6:07 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Dick from Brooklyn Thatcher

    Rob’s not here, man.

    • #5
    • May 25, 2018, at 6:29 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. filmklassik Member

    Wow. The most depressing part about the (illuminating) interview with Amy Chua was the last 4 minutes, when she (almost matter of factly) described how the rules of discourse had changed in her classroom in the last few years: More land mines. That is, more forbidden words, more forbidden phrases, more forbidden topics, and more people who are ready to be offended.

    So, the constriction of free speech.

    And she was so casual about it. For example: “I’m always having to learn all these new words, so as not to offend to people…”

    She didn’t even hint at the possibility of pushback. It was just “Here’s what I have to do.” Like eating and sleeping.

    See? Depressing.

    • #6
    • May 25, 2018, at 9:15 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. J Ro Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Wow. The most depressing part about the (illuminating) interview with Amy Chua was the last 4 minutes, when she (almost matter of factly) described how the rules of discourse had changed in her classroom in the last few years: More land mines. That is, more forbidden words, more forbidden phrases, more forbidden topics, and more people who are ready to be offended.

    So, the constriction of free speech.

    And she was so casual about it. For example: “I’m always having to learn all these new words, so as not to offend to people…”

    She didn’t even hint at the possibility of pushback. It was just “Here’s what I have to do.” Like eating and sleeping.

    See? Depressing.

    “There are topics now white male professors won’t teach. It’s just too dangerous.” It sounds like an entire generation failed to raise their children properly and now we are all paying for it with the self-destruction of higher education.

     

    • #7
    • May 25, 2018, at 11:22 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Henry Castaigne Member

    I totally support Rob Long’s cautious and conditional endorsement of mescaline. Jordan Peterson who is a P.H.D. and a clinical psychologist has basically said what Rob said. That using it a few times under proper conditions can permanently improve a person’s empathy and religiosity.

    • #8
    • May 25, 2018, at 11:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Icarus213 Thatcher

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I totally support Rob Long’s cautious and conditional endorsement of mescaline. Jordan Peterson who is a P.H.D. and a clinical psychologist has basically said what Rob said. That using it a few times under proper conditions can permanently improve a person’s empathy and religiosity

     

     

    I love that album.

    • #9
    • May 26, 2018, at 12:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  10. filmklassik Member

    J Ro (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Wow. The most depressing part about the (illuminating) interview with Amy Chua was the last 4 minutes, when she (almost matter of factly) described how the rules of discourse had changed in her classroom in the last few years: More land mines. That is, more forbidden words, more forbidden phrases, more forbidden topics, and more people who are ready to be offended.

    So, the constriction of free speech.

    And she was so casual about it. For example: “I’m always having to learn all these new words, so as not to offend to people…”

    She didn’t even hint at the possibility of pushback. It was just “Here’s what I have to do.” Like eating and sleeping.

    See? Depressing.

    “There are topics now white male professors won’t teach. It’s just too dangerous.” It sounds like an entire generation failed to raise their children properly and now we are all paying for it with the self-destruction of higher education.

    Oh it’s a lot worse than that, my friend. The colleges are just 5-10 years ahead of the broader culture. No exceptions. And the SJW toxin is already seeping from the campus into the “real world.” (Just ask James Damore, formerly of Google).

    So the contagion is out. And I’m afraid there’s no stopping it.

     

    • #10
    • May 26, 2018, at 3:49 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Fresch Fisch Member

    Juicy Lucy?

    Did they tell you to “fear the cheese”?

    Did they give you the brief legal disclaimer like they do at Matt’s on Cedar Avenue?

    • #11
    • May 26, 2018, at 6:24 AM PST
    • Like
  12. Henry Castaigne Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    So the contagion is out. And I’m afraid there’s no stopping it.

    Oh yea of little faith. 

    • #12
    • May 26, 2018, at 7:15 AM PST
    • Like
  13. J Climacus Member

    My advice to grads would be very different than Andy Kessler’s.

    Making your career the center of your life is a decision that is likely to end in frustration. And if you hope to “scale up”, that is what you will have to do. To succeed on a substantial scale, you must have a great idea, the dedication to see it through come what may and whatever sacrifices it might take, and also get lucky. Even with great ideas and giving it everything you have, you will probably still fail, as most startup companies do. That’s the nature of the beast. The motivational speaker Matt Foley had it right: You are probably going to find out, as you go out there, that you are not going to amount to jack squat. At least in “changing the world” terms.

    Even if you are successful, it doesn’t follow that you will have done anything that actually benefits humanity. On the podcast it was suggested that coming up with a better way to market potato chips would be a good path on which to set yourself. If you succeed at that, all you will have done is increase the rates of obesity and heart disease. 

    I would urge graduates to realize that there are more important things in life than career success or trying to change the world. Friends, love and family among others. Instead of trying to “scale up”, get married, have a bunch of kids and devote your life to your family. Get a good and worthwhile job, yes, and do your best at it. But remember that the center of your life is not there but at home. Spend as much time with your kids as you can. Try to arrange your earnings so that your kids can be raised by family (i.e. you or your wife) rather than by paid strangers. If the opportunity comes up to try to create the next great thing, think hard before signing on to it if it means a significant sacrifice to your devotion to family. I’ve never met anyone who said they regret having spent so much time with his kids. I have met people who have lamented missing out on their kid’s childhoods in favor of pursuing career success.

    And you will be contributing to humanity. Our culture does not lack technology or material capital. It lacks human capital, in the form of large, robust and stable families. You want to be innovative, live outside the box, and give America what it desperately needs? Raise a family of six kids. (Full disclosure: I only have three.)

    • #13
    • May 26, 2018, at 8:30 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. harrisventures Inactive

    Great podcast.

    Appropriate accompanying ad:

    • #14
    • May 26, 2018, at 9:00 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Buckpasser Member

    I was surprised that the end of show song wasn’t “Legend of a Mind”.

    • #15
    • May 26, 2018, at 10:27 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Blue Yeti Admin

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    I was surprised that the end of show song wasn’t “Legend of a Mind”.

    Don’t think I know that song. 

    Didn’t use one of the many obvious songs about LSD or tripping because I’ve used most of my favorites on other shows where this topic has come up (see GLoP) and I am a big fan of Amy’s and wanted to spotlight her a bit. 

    • #16
    • May 26, 2018, at 10:47 AM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Scott Wilmot Member

    Great podcast. I had a good time listening to James and Peter tease Rob about the micro-dosing. Sounds interesting to me. Maybe Rob can get a few doses for the Pope so he can undo the confusion he has caused in the Church.

    • #17
    • May 26, 2018, at 10:54 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Freesmith Inactive

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    I was surprised that the end of show song wasn’t “Legend of a Mind”.

    Don’t think I know that song.

    Didn’t use one of the many obvious songs about LSD or tripping because I’ve used most of my favorites on other shows where this topic has come up (see GLoP) and I am a big fan of Amy’s and wanted to spotlight her a bit.

    “Timothy Leary’s dead.

    No, no, no, no he’s outside, 

    Looking in.

    He’ll fly his astral plane,

    Takes you trips around the Bay,

    Brings you back the same day,

    Timothy Leary.”

    ”Legend of a Mind” – The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord

    • #18
    • May 26, 2018, at 3:34 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. filmklassik Member

    Also buried in the interview with Professor Chua is the reality that (in the Professor’s words) fully half the country (and presumably most college students) are rejecting the idea of American exceptionalism and traditional patriotism in favor of “Being citizens of the world.”

    And Professor Chua agrees with them (Yes, she said as much in the interview).

    So her rebuttal to them is not, “No, un-uh, sorry, kids, that’s wrong. You and John Lennon are wrong. Borders are good, America is exceptional, and one-worldism is deeply flawed.”

    No such luck. Professor Chua’s argument to these children is, “Advocating for one-worldism is divisive.”

    In other words, it ain’t wrong, kids, it’s just divisive.

    So her disagreement with them is one of tactics, not ideology.

    Their goals and her goals are precisely, 100 percent the same.

    So my final question is: If one-worldism is the dominant ethos among college students and their professors (even professors who, like Amy Chua, have written and said things we Conservatives agree with), what does this reality bode for America in, say, the next 15-20 years?

    • #19
    • May 26, 2018, at 7:52 PM PST
    • 1 like
  20. James Lileks Contributor

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    She didn’t even hint at the possibility of pushback. It was just “Here’s what I have to do.” Like eating and sleeping.

    I’d love to do a podcast with her on this very matter – how certain subjects are just glided over without conflict in order to preserve comity. Ten years ago, one could say “Males with penises are not women, despite their assertions to the contrary” and you’d suffer no consequences. Today, such a remark would be highly problematic, and lead to institutional complications.

    If you polled the students in public, I’d guess that most would find the statement offensive, because they realize that the liberal orthodoxy on that question now embraces the entirety of the fluid-gender / self-ID argument, and they don’t want the moral arc of history to snap them on the keister like a wet towel in junior high gym class.

    Privately, they may admit doubts, but fear admitting these thoughts in public lest they be shoved into some alt-right camp of TERFs and -phobes. Pushback just earns you a flailing on Twitter and doxxing, and you have your own life to lead and laundry to do; why bother? 

    The Left does a good job of positing radical ideas as the baseline, jumping three steps ahead, and castigating anyone who’s still considering the second step as a counter-revolutionary impediment. 

    • #20
    • May 26, 2018, at 10:36 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. RufusRJones Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Good show, interesting guests. I really would like to hear the “micro-dosing” show. Probably need to bring in one of the scientists working on the subject. Rob mentioned New York and, I believe, California. The last time I saw an interview with Graham Hancock, I believe he mentioned some scientists in London also looking into the subject.

    It’s really shameful how they shut down the research on MDMA in the 80’s. It looks like a slam dunk at this point. 

    • #21
    • May 27, 2018, at 1:48 AM PST
    • Like
  22. RufusRJones Member

    Here’s my policy: Everyone that is sympathetic to La Raza has to live in North Dakota or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    • #22
    • May 27, 2018, at 1:51 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Arahant Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Here’s my policy: Everyone that is sympathetic to La Raza has to live in North Dakota or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    Don’t send them to us. How about Tierra del Fuego instead?

    • #23
    • May 27, 2018, at 2:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Paul Erickson Member

    I think I got some of what Amy Chua said, but really guys, she was an awful guest. Talking at 100 mph, never quite settling down to let her points sink in, but flitting on to the next thing. This is a law professor? I don’t remember ever before wanting to shut off the podcast. Count me as a vote against inviting her back to the flagship.

    Maybe she needed a micro-dose.

    • #24
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:25 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Arahant Member

    Paul Erickson (View Comment):
    Maybe she needed a micro-dose.

    If she tries it and it helps, she can be one of the guests on the Micro-Dosing Podcast.

    • #25
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:29 AM PST
    • Like
  26. Arahant Member

    You know, I meant that as one Ricochet Flagship Podcast devoted to the subject of microdosing, but maybe we need a new podcast: Tripping with Rob. Each week he brings on a new guest to micro-dose and see what happens.

    • #26
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:30 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. kedavis Member

    How anyone could get the idea that any kind of “consciousness-altering” substance produces anything actually superior to normal consciousness, is and will always remain a mystery to me. All I can figure is that they’re deluding themselves. And trying to delude others as well.

    So what if LSD or whatever “increases religiosity?” If religion isn’t actually true, then what you’re doing is increasing the falsity of your mind. Just the opposite of what is being claimed.

    • #27
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. RufusRJones Member

    kedavis (View Comment):
    How anyone could get the idea that any kind of “consciousness-altering” substance produces anything actually superior to normal consciousness, is and will always remain a mystery to me.

    If you’re traumatized, you don’t remember your life in a normal way. Your memories are scrambled so you can’t get a grip on yourself. The best videos I’ve seen about it are interviews of Dr. Alexa Altman. 

    I would think that MDMA would interdict that so you can get a shot at seeing things properly. 

     

    • #28
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:56 AM PST
    • Like
  29. filmklassik Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    She didn’t even hint at the possibility of pushback. It was just “Here’s what I have to do.” Like eating and sleeping.

    I’d love to do a podcast with her on this very matter – how certain subjects are just glided over without conflict in order to preserve comity.

    The Left does a good job of positing radical ideas as the baseline, jumping three steps ahead, and castigating anyone who’s still considering the second step as a counter-revolutionary impediment.

    I agree, James. For a modern professor, the cost/benefit calculation in defying Progressive orthodoxy couldn’t be more simple: There’s little to be gained and a great deal — everything, in fact — all that you’ve worked for — to lose. So why rock the boat?

    And it’s so easy to rationalize not rocking it. I need this job. I don’t just want it — I need it. I have a family, a mortgage, bills, mouths to feed, career goals, so many people who depend on me and so much I still hope to do! How can I put all of that at risk for the sake of — what? — one courageous remark??! And how many minds will it really change, anyway?

    And so the result, of course, is silence. Which of course amounts to assent.

    Again, I don’t really blame Amy Chua. I could see myself making the same calculation (as thousands of her fellow professors have).

    But what these new ideological default settings portend for the future of this country is anybody’s guess. And how can it be good?

    So I hope you guys will devote a podcast to this specific topic. All too often it gets, to use your phrase, “glided over.”

     

    • #29
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  30. RufusRJones Member

    They have hijacked the job signaling function of college. Credentialism enables progressivism. A complete Frankfurt school take over.

     

    • #30
    • May 27, 2018, at 4:07 PM PST
    • Like
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