My daughter is being treated for Leukemia by some amazing doctors at Boston Children's Hospital. To my knowledge, none of the health care professionals at this world-class institution have won Nobel Prizes in medicine. All the same, for my daughter's sake, I'm still glad they hit the books for a couple decades.
There are great honor and value in doing an important job consistently and well. This idea that a life is wasted if you don't remake a field in your image seems hollow when these prodigies often end up with the power to save lives.
Our profession is moving toward identifying these doctors and promoting their behavior to the entire field.
There's a study that showed lower heart attack mortality when all the "top" cardiologists were out of the hospital attending a cardiology meeting. Too many confounders to make any real conclusions from that, but it lines up with my point.
Of course, if your child has a serious life-threatening and/or rare disease, then you want her to be treated at a vanguard institution like the one you took yours to. No dispute from me on that one.
But in the system as a whole, we make the most difference reducing complications of cardiovascular disease, sepsis, pneumonia, COPD, and kidney disease (which are orders of magnitude more common). And we're starting to find out how to identify doctors that do it better, with fewer complications, and with much higher efficiency than others. I think those are the best doctors and it's what I'm striving to be.
This. I think I've even posted about this here before. This has been my wife's experience too (surgeon). She trained with highly regarded academic surgeons that set the treatment recommendations and standards for her field. Then during her job search she went to a center with, well, surgeons not at all academic and she had a life changing moment because she realized their operations and outcomes (utilization, efficiency etc.) are far far better. At the academic centers you are recognized based on your research and publications, not on your surgical skills. These academic surgeons with relatively little experience are setting the standards for how the operation should be done and what the treatments should be. This is not at all recognized in her field unfortunately and is quite literally harming patients every day because of substandard treatment standards.
Perhaps it's not a perfect analogy, since it sounds like the academic surgeons are maximizing the wrong utility function (publishing / research).
I'd say a good combination of both academics and skills are needed. As another anecdote, where I am in school they have tried to teach us better clinical reasoning and procedural skills rather than solely preparing us for board exams.
The way I see it, your research and academic pursuits can wait until you have a good clinical background. You only have one chance to fully immerse yourself in the practice of medicine (residency), so why dilute that?
[NB This is in addition to the very high academic standards that are required for places at medical school].
I have a friend who is an eye surgeon. I'm definitely better at playing guitar and piano than him, probably equal at things like juggling and card tricks, but absolutely inferior when it comes to cutting people's eyeballs apart.
It doesn't invalidate your point completely, but just because someone is good at plaiting hair doesn't mean they'll be good at surgery!
Being a surgeon is more akin to performing arts. I.e you cant read your way to playing an instrument, you have to practice playing it.
the "best doctors" in my eyes are the ones with the best outcomes,
lowest utilization, highest efficiency and highest patient
I think those are the best doctors and it's what I'm striving to be.
Also, have you seen this article? It might interest you: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/10/03/personal-best
There is some name for this apparent statistical paradox, but I forget what it is. In any case, the main problem with your criteria is that the "best" doctor would be one that treated only the healthiest patients. They would have low utilization, high satisfaction, good outcomes, and very good efficiency.
I think you want that in a doctor - a capacity and preparedness to fight the system when it is wrong, unfair, of hurting your patient. Is that a creative skill? I don't know but I doubt it's born out of conformity.
Incidentally I know Dr Marshall, he's an academic at my medical school. He actually paid me to teach him and his team Ruby.
In the far off rural areas where connectivity is almost nil,The doctors rarely go to the hospitals and the doctor's assistant does more work,becoming at par with the doctors in a few years.
Also, for every patient and family that I meet, I explain right away that the only promise I make is that I will be honest, upfront, and clear when I'm talking to them; that I will give them my best effort. This has served me very well and I've won numerous local accolades because of it. It also softens the blow when something goes wrong, even when it's my fault. When I was a resident, I frequently had patient's demanding to speak with me instead of the attending because they trusted me more.
Keep in mind that I'm a hospitalist/intensivist, so I don't know if things will necessarily generalize to the primary care/office setting.
Knowing that my daughter wouldn't be here today without ECMO, I take issue with this assertion.
Edit: She was born with severe MAS and her lungs were practically non-functional. ECMO was the only way she had time to fight the infections and start breathing. She spent 12 terrifying days on ECMO and then 2 more weeks on ventilators.
Also, a significant number of my investment gains originated from stuff I read here (bought a bunch of Monero when it was $0.45/unit, for example).
Finally, I learned a little programming (mostly Go and C++) to automate some stuff at work and home (reports, backups, email notifications and things like that). HN is a reasonable litmus test for what people are using to do stuff like this.
No knock for learning. But if you want to get maximum bang for your learning buck, focus on higher level stuff with lots of third-party libraries that integrate with the things you want to automate, ideally with a interpreter REPL for exploratory coding.
\shrug. Hard to know.
I think that this is truly what made my father be not just "technically good", but a physician who could solve his patients' problems: he made an effort to understand their perspective, and adjust his treatment accordingly.
I've observed him interact with patients sometimes, and his effort at creating empathy was quite noticeable. It's particularly fascinating to watch with children.
I agree with you though that efficiency, and also just honing one's internal sense of what's going on inside a patient's body is important. My dad was department head at a first-world hospital. But every year he would go on a charity mission to some third-world place for two weeks and treat patients there. With essentially no modern technology (in fact, operations might have to performed in the shine of a flashlight), you are really forced to work with your instincts. I think these trips benefited his first-world patients just as much as his third-world ones.
If the standard of success for a gifted grade school kid is to be a Nobel laureate, that's a little warped.
My grandfather was one of the smartest guys I ever met. Through the circumstances of fate, he couldn't get education beyond the 8th grade. Yet he tutored my mom in calculus and did all sorts of good things for people. By any standard of mine, he lived a long, fruitful and successful life... yet he's a failure in the debate of an article like this.
I wish her, you, and the rest of your family the best.
I grew up in a household where compliance to parental authority was the prevailing rule. This made me fairly compliant as an adult (which opens you up for exploitation by peers and authority figures), but this wasn't too difficult to unravel with a few dozen sessions of therapy.
As a result, I pass down very few rules as a parent, and it's been a joy to watch my daughter's creativity blossom. We've done what the article suggests - provided moral guidelines to live by, rather than any strict set of rules.
She loves real estate - specifically interior design, but also analyzing neighborhoods, improving curb appeal, and understanding what makes a good school district. I think the seeds were planted when I was taking her with me in the evenings to do various handyman tasks at our rental property. We would stop for ice cream and she would sit there and eat it while I put together furniture or changed light bulbs or swept common areas.
And while our lax rules have certainly inspired creativity and fed into her individuality, it hasn't done a great deal to build work ethic. I'm aware of the stereotype of parents believing their kids are lazy, so I'm open to being wrong here.
Striking a balance between giving a kid a framework to discover herself but also emphasizing the importance of work ethic is probably my greatest concern as a parent. I don't want to stifle her from dreaming, but I want her to do what's necessary to accomplish those dreams too.
My big question is this: when the time comes to put in the work the accomplish what she wants, is she going to be ready to put down the ice cream spoon and pick up a screw driver?
I don't know. But I'm going to continue with the light touch and hope for the best.
> Backing off will no more produce a creative genius than pushing your child. Neither strategy makes the slightest difference to what is essentially an autonomous process. Beethoven's father did not back off. And Lars von Trier's parents left him to his own devices. Both are geniuses and both hated their childhood.
> My guess is that most parents who follow Adam Grant's spurious advice (one rule or none is better than six) will end up with the rude obnoxious brats whom you can see bouncing off the waiting room walls of any upscale Manhattan pediatrician's office. Maybe one of a million such brats will spontaneously become a creative genius as an adult but so will one out of a million drones who win spelling bees and piano competitions.
> But guess what, a large proportion of the remaining brats will be all attitude and no skill while the drones will at least become doctors and corporate lawyers. By using creativity as the ultimate-and perhaps only-benchmark, Mr. Grant falls into the same trap as the Tiger Moms he so despises.
> Enjoying a thing does make it more likely that a child will own it. But sometimes the initial drudgery is necessary to make the breakthrough to find something worth enjoying.
> When it comes to raising children the golden rule is that there is no golden rule. The greatest scientific creative genius of recent memory, Richard Feynman realized this when he tried to teach his children and discovered that what worked for his son did not work for his daughter.
Feynman's son was his biological offspring, while the daughter was adopted.
I think this is relevant information that was left out.
Also, Feynman's son chose to pursuit philosophy, much to Feynman's dismay.
Its highly likely that the "best" or "right" way Dad X learned topic Y will work pretty well when helping teach a little clone of himself and not so well when teaching random kids. I'd theorize that parents are generally better at teaching their own kids than public school teachers for this reason, even if on average a public school teacher would be better on long term average at teaching a very large pool of kids.
As a very specific example I remember reading one of Feynman's books where he explained he had very high spacial reasoning performance, much like a mechanical engineer would have. Its much more likely his child would have that ability than a randomly selected kid. So his teaching style for something like calculus volume of a solid of revolution disk vs cylinder seems self explanatory to someone like Feynman, probably his son, or me, because of high spatial reasoning performance but someone without it probably needs to memorize very hard or just guess -n- check, I mean 50:50 odds getting it correct? That's actually an interesting question, how does someone (like his adopted daughter perhaps) without unusually high spatial awareness decide on a disk or cylinder strategy for that class of calculus problem?
Perhaps, but children aren't clones of either of their biological parents, generally.
Wow really. Poor Feynman.
Respectfully, I'm sad for children whose parents think society is going to look out for them. Every kid deserves a couple of people who take personal responsibility for their behavior and well-being.
I have a pretty high tolerance for kids being bouncy and boisterous, but it's always nice to see parents giving the sort of information that helps them become considerate:("Look, that woman's trying to read. She wants it quiet!" -or- "That lamp could break - can you find a safer place to bounce your ball?")
Another big issue that isn't always mentioned is diet. A kid who eats a "normal" amount of sugar, corn syrup, and zero-nutrient high-carb products will understandably be going berserk on the outside because they're on a blood sugar roller coaster on the inside.
As an alternative perspective, I think that in France "kids are society's problem" doesn't mean building special places where they can run rampant, but training them to appreciate the culture and society they're inheriting. French kindergarteners spend 90 minutes sitting down to a white-table-cloth four course meal each day during school. This is done because it's considered essential for them to learn the table manners and appreciation of the cuisine that will allow them a lifetime of enjoyable, civilized dining.
(I think the creation of lots of "good", dignified jobs in the kindergarten-chef field is a wonderful side benefit, as opposed to cafeteria workers in the US who can hardly feel fulfilled while dumping bags of frozen nuggets onto trays.)
I wish that were true... They do get a 3 course meal (appetizer, main dish and desert) but it doesn't last 90 minutes and it's not a white table cloth meal... That's embellishing the reality a little bit. There was more decorum than a self service (we were served the food at the table as a kid in kindergarten in primary school) and the food quality is definitely better than most countries in primary schools* but that's about it.
As a kid in kindergarten though we would be told off if we were too boisterous during the meal so I guess that kind of qualifies in term of table manner.
That said, I did find that kids in the US tended to be louder and less well educated than I was used to. The same applies for kids in Japan below the age of 5 (parents there have a laissez faire altitude during the early ages).
(*) Middle schools and high schools are another story. Lunch is a self service concept (so no one brings the meal to the table) and the quality of lunch is lower (it was downright atrocious when I was in middle school to the point where I would usually skip most lunches). This may have changed though.
It might seem harsh, but you really do paint the image of someone who thinks it's fine for his kid to keep screaming and running around in public, and having people just accept that that's how it is. I don't know how it is where you live, but neither in my home country or the country I live in now would this be considered fine for a parent to think. In my home country I think the general sentiment would be "At least have the decency to be ashamed of your performance as a parent" and a little bit less harsh where I am now.
You can think the above cultural sentiment is harsh, but it's a culture based on valuing the collective very highly and respecting it more than you value even yourself.
This doesn't mean a parent is not teaching the kid, it is that their conception of how a kid ought to behave in public is different from yours, thus they have nothing to be 'ashamed' of in their performance. Indeed, I often feel bad for the kid when a parent values other people's judgment more than their child's perfectly valid desire to explore their surroundings.
Society ROUTINELY throws minorities under the bus because we have simply accepted that a small inconvenience for a majority could not possibly be worth paying if it helps a few people a lot. I think the cultural sentiment you're talking about is really just "agree with everyone else, or else risk exclusion" - the usual extortion. The same reasoning can justify much worse things. Humans are very social and children are partly raised by the society around them - people deny it because they don't want to have to change.
Just to be clear, I'm really against this because the parent said he can keep his child still, but its not the child's natural state. And you go and call him a "bad parent" for not stifling his kid. Bullshit.
The child can be in its natural state in the privacy of their own home, not in public where it's a bother for everyone else. If we were talking about a child with real issues that could be blamed on disorders, it wouldn't just be about "natural state" and whatnot, and as you say the parent is able to keep the child quiet, proving it's just him preferring to not be considerate to his environment.
> And you go and call him a "bad parent" for not stifling his kid. Bullshit.
Screaming and running around in public doesn't foster any desirable or productive behavior on the part of the child, as far as I can imagine. I don't think it'll ever be in the favor of the child. All it really does is inconvenience people that didn't ask to deal with the noise of the child.
Edit: I want to add that I think there's a lot more that goes into being a bad parent, by the way. The only thing this "Society will have to adapt to me" behavior shows is a general lack of respect for other people and putting your convenience before them.
You can see there's a wide range of behaviour starting at fidgety before you get to running around and screaming.
No they don't, I'm not quite sure where you could've got the idea ?
If anything, the soup is missing.
Instead what studies have found is if the parents believe their kids ate sugar they'll believe their kids are hyper even when the kids were actually given a placebo.
Studies used to exclude diabetic / prediabetic / obese kids because there were not many of them in the 70s before corn syrup.
Now of course over 1/5 of kids are obese or whatever definition, so once that legacy exclusion is eliminated...
Did you consider consulting society first before foisting such a responsibility on us?
I'm not responsible for those either, last I checked.
Proof that genetics has some effect, his daughter was adopted.
I don't know anything about their respective childhoods, and I have greatly enjoyed some of Mr Trier's films, but I fear this is a dangerously egalitarian notion of "genius."
I was going to pick apart the whole comment, but then this stuck out at me. WTF? The Feynman cult truly knows no shame or rational bounds.
I guess fuck all the parents who think their kids deserve more than an economically-optimized future?
Seriously with the future of humans doing work so utterly in question right now, especially work that can be done by "drones," this advice is fucking archaic. The days when you acquired some base skill, got good at it, and worked at it for 60 years till retirement are gone. I'd rather be broke and happy.
I 100% don't buy this narrative at all. I don't know who started it, but something about it makes me reach for a tinfoil hat.
The general historical trend has been towards automation but I still don't see any massive change in the horizon.
It's not a conspiracy, it's a cost/benefit chart that any responsible executive is going to be looking at.
There was almost no automation during the great depression, yet most people were unemployed. Automation has most certainly increased since 2009 and unemployment has fallen.
I'm skeptical there is any correlation between automation and unemployment at all, unless you are measuring job counts in a very specific industry being automated away.
It's true tech increases our quality of life, no one argues this (mostly). That said our current political climate can have it's roots traced to the fact that so many blue collar workers have been displaced (first by overseas labor, second by automation) and their uphill battle to attain new work at even living wages, forget similar wages has been largely ignored if not a target for mockery by the middle class.
We need to start taking a serious look at how to deal with the groups of people who will be displaced so far and at such advanced ages that asking them to re-enter the workforce is impractical not just for them, but for the economy at a whole. Hell, even older TECH workers have a hard time finding new work after their COBOL shop shuts down, do we honestly expect it to be any easier at all for a factory worker or coal miner? I do not understand why so many obviously incredibly intelligent people in the industries I work in and read about have such a hard time grasping that for a worker who's done what they call "dumb work" for 10-30 years will have difficulty getting an education and entering a white collar profession. That was hard for me and I was a kid!
Disrupting certain fields like "driving" has an even larger impact. Traffic signs, traffic cops, logistics companies, ... it goes on.
Or if you want an example that is just happening, look at journalism and how the internet has killed it. Once reputable news shops are now publishing click-bait top 10 lists and buzzfeed is here to stay.
It's not even hard to manage a small society functioning using robots for all menial work like cleaning, farming, cooking, transportation.
Like I said, it's the general trend (we could talk about automations on the same scale as your human driver example that have already happened), but the alarmism is not justified.
Plus truckers themselves are risky as workers, they have issues with exhaustion, the turnover is insane, they have accidents and they steal things, I'm not trying to demonize the profession don't misunderstand, I'm just saying that if there is one job that companies would LOVE to get people out of, this is it.
Also I really doubt it's decades. Maybe two of them, maybe but I'd say it's closer to 12-15 years depending how the DoT keeps pace, but with so much money and so many interest groups involved in making it happen, I think it's something we really need to start putting serious thought into.
If I'm wrong, I'd love to be corrected.
Which aspect of it do you think needs decades?
When you look at the burn rate and technology investments required of a company like Uber just to dispatch cabs, that should hint at the difficulty of the AI revolution.
Cabs need to drop you to a 50 meter circle adjacent to a street address. Trucks need to land at a specific dock at a specific warehouse at a specific time. Some warehouses are highly optimized and organized. Others are a total shitshow... Amazon warehouses for example often have trucks queued up for hours due to staff shortages or general incompetence at the docks.
So the business case for the automated truck is to take a trailer from X to Y, and be capable of taking direction from a $10/hr temp who can't find his ass with both hands. Or... you need to deliver the trailer to some staging area, and pay drivers to figure out that mess. Or some other solution. In any case, the "getting on the interstate" part is the most trivial problem to solve.
Hard to be happy if you are broke.
The thing I was most disappointed about in my own schooling was that I got very little support or time to do serious medium- or large-scale projects, and I got very little mentorship or instruction about the subjects I most cared about personally.
Even in a very good public school district, and then at a very good college, most of what I learned about my own research interests was learned entirely from books and my own experimenting, while most of the work I did felt like pure make-work for the convenience of my teachers.
I feel that it was partly because school only ever provided bite-sized assignments with prescribed subject and scope that I still don’t feel like I have mastered the skill of motivating myself to keep working bit by bit at larger-scale projects.
I wound up with lots of creative ideas, and a fine ability to do specific narrow small tasks, or to do tedious polishing work, but a serious “writer’s block” kind of problem when it comes to diving into the meat of large projects.
The best advice I can give is to support their interests and get involved in activities they enjoy, sure. But also allow them to get interested and involved in the things you enjoy. Kids go through a phase from 2 to 6 or so where they love to help and love to find out about everything adults do. They will help do housework, help do shopping, watch you do whatever you are doing. Talk to them and answer their questions. Pitch your answers to their level without being condescending (google maps on your phone works because a satellite floating no up in space can see where you are), spend the extra time it takes. Letting them help will make the job take twice as long, and that's fine. Invest that time and be patient, it's well worth it and will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
Being there and giving a shit is 90% of the battle.
I think it then follows, if this turns out to be the case, that people who are raised in rule "free" environments learn more independent thought and reasoning and more creativity than people who are raised in highly restrictive environments where their internal thought processes may be less developed, and their tasking and behavior needs to be externally supplied.
However, I think this is a very difficult idea to use for child rearing. The balance and thought that needs to go into teaching good principals is much harder than simply making a list of rules. In the worst case, a child will get neither.
> but nobody that was raised with completely unexplained rules so it's a bit of a strawman comparison.
That's your strawman creation. I never claimed people were raised with arbitrary and unexplained rules. Typically strict rules are given punitive reasons as motivation for following, not some intrinsic rationale within the rule -- and that's precisely the difference.
"Wash the dishes or you'll be sent to your room" doesn't teach why you should wash the dishes, only that you'll be punished for not doing so.
"I should wash the dishes so I have clean ones to eat off of later, eating off of clean dishes prevents sickness." Provides a complex rationale to drive the behavior.
The punitive approach requires no brainpower to follow, there's no specific reason why the effect (punishment) follows from cause (not washing the dishes) other than it was something imposed.
The principle based approach requires understanding logical cause and effect, chain of events, pre-planning and might drive the person to investigate why dirty dishes make one sick, opening up inquiry and forming connections into hygiene, medicine, pathogens, etc.
Given a different, but similar situation, why should the rules based person create a behavior?
"Wash the thermometer before and after use" is something the principle trained person would come up with naturally based on prior experience and reasoning, but unless some cause and punishment were set out for the rules trained person, it's likely they won't arrive at that behavior.
More sinister, and the context I'm familiar with this work in, is in advertising, building and forming habits. Advertisers are seeking to train consumers to logically arrive at buying their product rather having to be constantly reminded to. Especially since a company has much more trouble "punishing" a consumer for not buying their stuff than a parent might a child. If you can convince a consumer to derive the thought themselves to buy your product, then you own that consumer and no longer really need to advertise to reach them.
No, that's the strawman. Rules without explanations. It has nothing to do with punitive enforcement.
>"Wash the dishes or you'll be sent to your room" doesn't teach why you should wash the dishes, only that you'll be punished for not doing so.
Strawman again. The unexplained reasoning is the problem, not the punitive action.
>The punitive approach requires no brainpower to follow, there's no specific reason why the effect (punishment) follows from cause (not washing the dishes)
Ugh, I hope I made the point clear above, but I'll state it one last time: punitive punishments are not the same as unexplained rules.
The rest of your comment is based on this strawman assumption that all parenting using punitive actions follows this stupid method of not explaining rules. It's just as dumb as assuming the opposite (i.e. parents that don't punish children don't teach their children any morals).
I think the work ethic thing has less to do with rules, and more to do with how you approach small adversities. For a lot of people, if something is hard it's not worth doing. I think kids pick up on that.
Is struggling with something difficult bad, or good?
My daughter is three years old and for the past year or so, whenever she becomes frustrated that she can't do something—whistle, pronounce a word, build a lego set, draw a letter—I calm her down and remind her that not being able to do it is part of learning how to do it. I often use the example of how she didn't always know how to walk or talk, that she failed lots of times but she tried and tried and tried and eventually she got it, that after falling down so many times now she's running around the room and talking non-stop.
I've been blown away by how that reframing of difficulty has made her seemingly unstoppable. Sure, she still gets frustrated and overwhelmed, but when she starts whistling—full on whistling at three years old—and she tells me, "Daddy! I tried and tried and tried and eventually I got it!", I can't help but think that there's something to this. When she doesn't know I'm watching, I've observed that she seems a lot more determined to do things even when she's repeatedly failing—she doesn't give up as quickly as she did (often quickly followed by a tantrum) before I started explaining to her that learning requires challenge.
You can't guarantee any outcome. I don't know what level of influence you can even have, there are so many variables involved. All you can do is what you think is right, and react to circumstances as you go along.
This is something I've thought a lot about. I have an (almost) 2 year old, so I'm not speaking from experience exactly.
I know that growing up, I wish someone was more involved in talking to me about my dreams and goals, and asking me the tough questions about how to achieve them.
I'm planning on doing that with my daughter; not telling her what to do, or giving her strict rules for accomplishing things, but asking her to come up with her own rules and her own plans for how she'll accomplish things both big and small.
It's that conversation with her that I hope will be what she needs.
(I think this relates to the idea of encouragement vs. praise that you often see in parenting books.)
I have a daughter who reminds me of myself, and I (like you) try to take a gentler approach with her. I hope she can tap her intrinsic motivation and skip a lot of the needless misery I endured. Or at least always know her parents supported her as she spread her wings (whereas mine did not). I too worry about how to develop grit a work ethic for her, but I think that's the key: I CAN'T do any such thing. I can help expose her to things which might engage her interest (arts, inventing, medicine, engineering, etc...) but I don't dictate how the story ends. Stepping back, to me, means honoring the fact that it is their life to make something of, or not. I know until my parents adopted that strategy with me, in my mid-twenties, I was going nowhere fast. Suddenly they behaved like they didn't care if I worked, went to college, dropped out, or whatever. They told me they loved me, but otherwise would just pretty much grunt when I'd tell them what I was up to. So I think we have to communicate to our children that we're not going to try and make them some form of what we think they should be, and that if they want to do anything with their life that will be on them.
With my daughter that means lots of conversations about things like "oh, you want to play guitar, but you're frustrated because you're not good at it right away. Hmmm, well you know the only way to get good at something is to practice, work at it, spend time with it." Somehow she has the completely baseless idea that she should just know how to do everything, and beats herself up for all her perceived inadequacies.
So yeah, as you can tell, I too don't know if this is the best way... I'm just trying to find my way in the dark as best as I can, just as you are. Hopefully as long as we're operating from a place of unconditional love, understanding, patience, and kindness ultimately things will turn out for the best.
If my kids can grow up to be capable of creating their own meaningful lives then I'll be satisfied, no matter what that looks like.
You absolutely can. Praise effort instead of talent.
One of the mistakes my parents made when I was younger was to call me talented in things. It resulted in a tremendous amount of stress, and did not make me more likely to try. I felt like I should automatically know how to do things (because that's what talented people do, right?), and hated that I didn't. It made me more resistant to pushing past my comfort zone, because I knew I wouldn't be good at doing so, and I didn't want to disappoint.
There were times they pulled me out of after-school language or music classes, because again, I was stressed out and miserable. But it wasn't because I didn't enjoy the subjects- I just had unrealistic expectations of my own abilities.
I eventually figured out that hard work brings its own rewards, but it wasn't an easy path, and I only found it thanks to other family members who pushed/encouraged me in their own way.
Now, I do not have any children of my own, but I'm uncle to a lot of friends & family. I do my best to encourage the younger ones' efforts, making sure that they know that I see them trying hard. And it really seems to work. Kids need guidance. They do not yet have enough experience to know what they would enjoy. And that sometimes means making decisions for them, and that is OK.
 I want to be very clear, overall I loved my childhood, and I feel very lucky to have had the parents I did. We had (and have) a great relationship. It is simply that with the benefit of hindsight, I can identify choices that I would make differently. I do not expect my parents (or me) to be perfect. The best we can do is try to improve things for the next generation, until it is their turn to do the same.
I love the idea that you have your own rules, different than your parents, therefore better. And thus you will completely ignorant of the mistake you will be making, and focusing on the mistakes that your parents made.
I'm not sure how much of an outlier I am, but our education system is not built for creative types. It's too hard to get placed in anything significantly above your grade level, especially if your brilliance is restricted to a single subject. I remember showing an bistable flipflop design to my science teacher in 5th grade and getting a puzzled "that's nice Johnny" type look when I wanted help figuring out why my breadboard version wouldn't oscillate. A few of my skills were so beyond what anyone expected that they didn't know what to do with me, or what they were even looking at, so they did nothing.
It took another eleven years before I had contact with any teachers that matched my experience level with programming and circuit design. During that time I advanced my skills slightly, but not having any peers made me an outcast and certainly left me far behind where I could have been.
Backing off is a bad idea. You need to take your child's curiousity and do everything you can to keep it alive. I'm sure a lot of kids started out like me but eventually let their dreams die.
I remember my parents trying to get me into advanced classes in sixth grade but the school rules said it needed to be done by third grade. I couldn't skip a year either, it was too late.
The second (harder) way into double advanced classes was to pass a test going into high school. That test contained math that only those already in advanced classes had been taught. I aced the reading portion, scoring at 11th grade reading level, but it wasn't enough.
The same year I was sponsored to be an exchange student to Europe but my family couldn't afford the plane tickets. A year later, bored out of my skull and disappointed, I gave up completely on public school.
I embraced mediocrity because I figured out I could get by with no real effort. I concentrated my creativity outside of school and learned more programming languages and electronics. I never got above a C average again until college.
Some teachers saw promise but I let them down because I didn't show up to class and was always in trouble. I knew I had missed the boat to the good classes that led to good scholarships and onto good colleges, and I was bitter and didn't give a shit anymore. To get into the caliber of school I dreamed about I would have needed more than just good grades in regular classes, and all the windows except sports closed before highschool even started.
There's been some articles about "lost diamonds", which may explain why smart people do better as a whole but the large majority still end up living average lives and doing nothing of note. I might not have been any smarter than average, but I definitely feel like I was one of those kids who the system left behind. I knew many others I considered smart that shared my company at the troublemaking fringe of highschool society, definitely a pile of wasted potential at the bottom.
I have a comparable story; dropped out of school at 15 and didn't touch education since (>15 years ago now), then spent a few years high and drunk: but I'd learnt perl from the camel even before then.
What do you think you are owed? If i hadn't read k&r or learning perl by myself I should then blame my teachers who hadn't read them either? Most of the best folk I've worked with found these things on their own too.
You feel you're "a lost diamond that the system left behind?"
Bitch, who are you blaming here? The only job I could get in that situation was as a cleaner, and I worked my way from there to where I am now while definitely fitting into your category of those the so called "system" couldn't deal with..
If I hadn't learnt to do our thing regardless should I blame someone else?
I think not. Work hard or don't; blaming the system for your failure, while there are people around you who demonstrably made it from worse situations than yours is pathetic in the extreme.
Yes, you are personally responsible for your own circumstances and society isn't going to take care of you if you don't work.
However, it's also incredibly shitty that society let you down enough at 15 to stay "high and drunk" for several years, which, for most kids, doesn't turn out well.
There's enough blame to go around. Taking personal responsibility and blaming the system aren't mutually exclusive.
I think I would actually be considerably worse off if I had behaved myself, made it through high school and gone to university than I am currently; I know it seems counterintuitive but my point was just that it makes no difference how things go for you in "the system" as my experience is that those who seem to have been let down by it and still work at our level are better than those who went through the traditional process.
Yes; clear case of survivorship bias.
Parent says that being failed by the system was a disadvantage. I say, come conversely that being ignored/misunderstood by my teachers/authorities/family then going wild/rebelling as a result for a bit was essential/positive part of my development..
I don't see any of those events as shitty or sad, I wouldn't be where I am without those experiences, right?
Yeah, that's survivorship bias; I'm not really talking about one experience being better than another though; the only reason I went into my story was to counterbalance OPs statement.
I was only trying to say that being failed by "the system" doesn't count as a measure when So many seem to make it regardless...
I wouldn't change anything in my own life. I also wouldn't wish some of the experiences I've had on anyone else. I don't think those statements are contradictory.
The Spartan children that reached adulthood may have been tougher than the kids we raise today, but that is not an argument in favor of the Spartan system.
This isn't what happens in reality though. Schools and teachers demand submission to their authority on the implied promise that they are going to take care of you. When children believe that, and then are let down, is it the children's fault?
Gifted kids have high IQ, but probably not high EQ. They're defenceless against bullshit and blind to multi-level messages at that age, like most other kids.
Personally I don't blame the school system. What it does is not fair, but fairness is a fairy tale. It is a tool of society, with a useful purpose, and some unfortunate side-effects. The parents of a kid that's let down by the system should however take charge and start telling him how things really work, and make the kid realise that it's just him now.
I ended up fine and I don't really have a grudge, but that doesn't stop me from thinking the system is broken. I definitely wasn't the best student in the world but I don't see anything wrong with pointing out what happens to the kids that get left behind.
My only point was that, at least in my experience and situation, school/'normal progression' means very little in reality. Aas such I don't think it can be used as any sort excuse for anyone's situation.
I was comprehensively failed by the education system in my country and it made no difference. Shit; having thay experience actually seems to be the trend that all the best people I've worked with share.
Smart people are smart people. Some keep going and end up as weird and twisted as us, and some don't.
The ones who kept going tend to be those who got to where they were in spite of their situation. Maybe your world is different to mine tho.
This. Once past maybe grade 2-3, classes should be per-subject with mixed ages. Throw the 7 year olds together with the 12 year olds who are on the same level for any given subject. At some point, we need to find a way to tailor education to each individual student. Lumping kids together based solely on their age is ridiculous. Letting only very few children skip entire grades across all subjects rather than by level per subject is not the right solution.
I would have given anything to have been 3-5 years ahead in math while at school. I dropped out in grade 11 because the subjects I cared about were so mind-numbingly unchallenging that I lost all interest in what education had to offer me. I make as much today as a software developer as I would with a degree at most companies, so any incentive to go for a Bachelor's or Master's would be for purely personal growth. Of course my high school transcripts are incomplete, so I couldn't even register for university without going back and doing the prerequisite high school equivalency classes.
The depressing part is that the schools our kids go to entirely fail to take this into account and are, in essence, unchanged from what they were in our childhood, except maybe that they're now playing Math Blaster on iPads instead of desktops.
8 out of 2000 is a lot higher than most any other sample group.
The article is missing this point.
You pick 2000 teenagers, and 8 go on to win a Nobel Prize, and you're still not satisfied? High expectations much...
First the author laments only 8 novel prizes of the batch. Then in the next sentence goes on to praise Lisa Randall for revolutionising physics, and notes that for every Lisa Randall there are dozens that fall short of their potential.
Ironic because Lisa Randall didn't win a Nobel Prize in physics. Yet.....
And given her current work and experimental results there is no reasonable prospect she ever will, unlike people that you know that would win sooner or later (unless they died)
> For every Lisa Randall who revolutionizes theoretical physics
She did not revolutionize Physics. Not even close. She barely made a dent.
I'd bet money that the only group to perform better over the same timeframe is the list Nobel Prize winners themselves.
Edit: I stand corrected. Solvay Conference had 15/29 one year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvay_Conference#Fifth_Confer...
>Gifted children who have a noticeable head start and whose skill development begins remarkably early _do not_ usually end up being game changing professionals in their respective fields.
>Developing a skill set early on leads to competence in what is learned but stumps creativity and chances of innovation.
So having an deep, innate, intuitive grasp of a certain set of knowledge, made possible by said early exposure and disciplined training, has nothing to do with genius and potential inventive achievement in later life? But rather, it only allows for uncreative competence in what is learned and practiced, that and only that?
Is this man serious? How does something like this even pass for an article? How much thinking goes into writing something like this? Christ almighty.
I love it because the very things that Mr. Grant here paints as inhibitory to creativity are exactly the essential components of creative genius! His information is not only incorrect, it is the exact opposite of how things do work in real life.
It's not a zero sum game.
Both of aspects in question - Disciplined skill development as well as Creativity - are essential for intellectual success and are interdependent.
Structure, discipline, strong parent engagement and emphasis on learning and skill development, AS WELL AS creative undertakings, play, leisurely engagement, passionate tinkering / creation - both aspects are crucial.
In order to be able to create, the child has to imitate first. In order to fall in love with a pursuit, it has to be exposed to it first. And in order to be creatively successful in a pursuit, the child has to be very skilled in it first. And parents' intervention, guidance and support are very important in this regard.
Um, yes? Are you challenging the article's claim here? Depending on how strictly we're defining "game changing", only a small handful of people, even those who were "gifted" as children, ever accomplish anything really notable.
You can look at this  followup of "mathematically precocious" youth, for example. Around 10% ended up tenured at a top-50 university or became CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It is unlikely that anyone in the other ~90% is doing anything "game changing". Not even everyone in that 10% group is doing something "game changing".
1. You're defining "gifted" in a much narrower way than the article's arguments. Being a high achiever in math doesn't really encapsulate the meaning the article assigns when it creates a gifted vs. creative dichotomy.
2. It's pretty pointless to talk about the achievement of one group without comparing it to your control group. Do you think 10% of the general public is tenured at a top-50 university or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company? What about 10% of the creatives the article lauds? You know, without seatbelts there's only around 25 deaths per billion vehicle miles in the US. Nevermind that seatbelts cut that rate in half. . .
The reason why the article is interesting is because it goes against the common wisdom "you need to know the rules to break em", and backs its claim up with peer-reviewed science. And while you may find the findings unpalatable, isn't this how progress is made?
For all the author's dressing up a horrid argument with strained "statistics," he misses a key fact. True breakthroughs in most fields come around rarely, in time frames usually measured in decades. In the meantime, the market for high-end practitioners is evergreen.
For every Mozart, there are thousands of musicians to play in world-class orchestras. For every Jonas Salk, there are hundreds of thousands of doctors. On a risk-adjusted scale, shooting for competent if slightly less creative seems like a much wiser bet.
Performing music and writing music are really very different art forms. I'm surprised this NY Times author has conflated the two. Writing music is not the next step after learning to play music.
I remember reading some of László Polgár work after becoming interested in how he raised three daughters, two became chess prodigies, the third a concert musician. He posited that "that any child has the innate capacity to become a genius in any chosen field, as long as education starts before their third birthday and they begin to specialise at six". This seems at odds with the notion that parents should "back off".
Additionally, as I mentioned in another post. Many parts of the world have some of the most creative children and adults and their parents did the opposite.
Not saying either of these is right or wrong, but I am beginning to think creativity, like anything else, is more affected by culture and the surrounding of a child rather than just parenting. Kids are seen more by their peers and teachers than their parents ffs.
1.) High achievers are used to pushing at things to win. Creativity is like a garden - you have to do some tending, but then you have to back off and let the plants grow. Fiddling doesn't help, in fact you're liable to end up killing the plants.
2.) Smart people actually learn too fast. Creativity requires very broad neural connectivity, and I think fast learning tends to produce neural networks with sparse connectivity to different areas. This is supported to a degree by learning in artificial neural networks. When the learning rate in artificial neural networks is too fast, this can cause the network parameters to converge prematurely. This premature convergence typically results in poor generalization performance. It is also worth noting that human brains mature more slowly than those of previous hominids and great apes.
Anyhow, the point wasn't to say Brains == ANN, rather it was to show how learning too quickly has consequences in other models of learning. This was mostly so people wouldn't just dismiss the idea out of hand as having no justification (which people seem to want to do regardless).
first we need to understand the brain.
The trappings of intelligence are different, but very high raw intelligence is seen across most walks of life including actors, athletes, and salesmen.
As for your uber race, maybe you want to use the word "talent" instead. The only thing that connect these highly talented peopled is that they seem to excel at pretty much everything they put their minds to. If you tested them you'd find that their IQs have a fairly broad range. The median would certainly be above average but that isn't what makes them different. It is more about learning to focus and apply yourself than having a knack for manipulating symbols in your head.
As to low IQ scores people with an IQ of 60 generally don't have anything that they preform very well. The problem is everything we think of as takes even something as simple as holding your hand steady is really complicated. Getting better at even simple motor functions takes feedback loops, effort, and optimization. Further, intelegence generally allows people to optimize more quickly even as an infant. Which means intelegent people not only get to optimize more quickly they have more time to optimize complex tasks or tasks they are worse at.
Specialization of course kicks in, but the sills a six year old has are fairly universal and things 98% of people can do. Intelegent people tend to be better at.
Further sub 110 IQ's don't indicate a problem. Natural variation is simply much wider than you assume.
Still, Roughly one third to one half of the billionaires (45.0%),
Fortune 500 CEOs (38.6%), Senators (41.0%), and federal
judges (40.9%) attended a school requiring standardized test
scores that likely places them in the top 1% of ability. https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/56143/wai-... Further, why that's only a proxy for intelligence, those with different backgrounds may also have unusually high IQ's.
Granted we are now using a proxy for g to estimate IQ. But, as I was saying intelligence not scores on IQ test IMO it's a valid approach.
My point is if you look at Intelligence and assume they should be more successful with more IQ you need validate the IQ test to verify it's still valid at the outer edges. But, if you look at the most successful people and find IQ > 140 to be vastly more common than the general population then intelegence unlikely to be actually harmful.
Another disagreement: Not all intelligent people are highly social. Many are introverted.
Intelligent or introverted kids get bullied the most.
Source? I've never heard of intelligence being correlated with visual attractiveness.
Consistent with such views, meta-analyses
(Jackson, Hunter & Hodge, 1995; Langlois et al., 2000) show that
there is a small but significantly positive correlation between
intelligence and physical attractiveness https://personal.lse.ac.uk/kanazawa/pdfs/I2011.pdf
That said, selected populations may show a negative correlation such as when more attractive people are more easily given a job etc.
How is that possible? If intelligent people are attractive, wouldn't they be the ones getting the jobs?
Artificial Neural Networks/DL =! Biological Neural Networks
The repeat after me meme is really condescending by the way, might want to avoid using that.
You are correct that neurons can't do backprop. Keep in mind that the networks of the brain aren't straight feedforward, they're recurrent. In order to provide temporal control of activation propagation throughout the network, inhibitory neurons are needed. Thus, instead of "tweaking weights" backwards in the network, the brain learns to activate inhibitory neurons to provide forward feedback against activation.The mechanism is different but the learning effect is pretty similar.
Conversely, with my children, I try to talk with them as much as I can, and let them talk too. I let them order food themselves and I demand good table manners. That doesn't mean they can't be children, but they are not allowed to climb under or on the table, or be a nuisance. An easy fix for a problem child in a restaurant is to leave. The child must learn that there are consequences. The child wont go? Leave without them and they will freak and catch up. They fail that drag them out. Saying no and sticking with it is important, but equally important is giving the child a chance to catch up, mentally, with decision making and situational awareness.
And then you see a clip of 5-year old Messi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DWZ0fD64Uk) demolishing the other 5-year old kids who happened to share the same football field as him and realize that "letting your kid be creative" and all this mumbo-jumbo talk doesn't mean anything unless your kid doesn't have the inside genius-like quality. Bonus link, the Maradona childhood tricks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAjQ7NF8Hj0
The best marathon runner is probably sitting on a couch eating a bag of cheetos.
More than likely, they simply lacked the capacity to be original (as in, world-class historical originality, which is the subject under discussion here), just in the same way that almost all people lack this capacity. It's only particularly surprising that child prodigies rarely become adult geniuses if you confuse genius with the capacity to learn information and acquire skills. Mastering calculus at age 6, though highly unusual, does not in itself constitute original work, and, going off of the data, is not an extremely strong indicator of the presence of the capacity to do original work.
So you can't necessarily expect creativity-focused interventions on child prodigies to produce more revolutionary geniuses than normal.
I think the most important thing, however, is to provide resources for learning, far beyond what is available in our pitiful public education system, which is designed more to cater to the mean and less to allow remarkable students to fully excel.
> Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart.
There are many parents though that do just to opposite by not backing off no? This is sort of generalizing, but kids from Asian countries are a great counterpoint to this. With that in mind, couldn't we also amend that theory, and add culture as a factor?
Furthermore, isn't it also the case that since kids are getting into school earlier than they used to (say 50 or so years ago; random number, don't goto imright.com and disprove it xD), wouldn't they be more susceptible to other kids/teachers? I mean now a days parents see their kids less than their teachers. They basically work 9-5 just like adults.
Addendum: Forgot which famous book this is from: But appraising a child for their hardwork over natural talent is one of the best things we can do. So to that end, creativity should be garnered as something one has to work towards. Man.. I can't wait to test all this shit on my kids.. (obviously joking)
Edit: Change wording and add more meaningful question.
Said differently: slightly less than 1/2% of identified gifted teenagers in this group went on to win Nobel prizes. Given the rarity of Nobel prize winners and the difficulty of predicting future Nobel prize winners (as teenagers) that strikes me is pretty amazing.
As an anecdotal example my toddler was often the smallest kid in a given group of playing children. He was at the mall play area one day and he kept getting knocked down onto the foam floor. I kept thinking man I've got to step in and helicopter a bit. I almost did, but right as another kid was about to bump into him he did something new. He bowed at the legs, leaned and braced with his elbows causing the kid to bounce off harmlessly and they both ran on.
I'm often reminded of that moment now when I see him in safe but precarious situations. I'm always there for him if he needs me, but I have to wonder if I step in am I denying him a life lesson?
My siblings and I had the same imperfect parenting, same resources, similar genetics, etc, and at the end of the day I was the one that went hardcore down creative pursuits during childhood. I could see a similar spark in my siblings, but for whatever reason they put their 10,000 hours elsewhere. It was only during college that one of my brothers picked up writing and the other picked up music. The potential (and opportunity!) was always there, but for whatever reason they didn't capitalize on it in childhood.
Even the best athletes didn’t start out any better than their peers. When Dr. Bloom’s team interviewed tennis players who were ranked in the top 10 in the world, they were not, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, doing push-ups since they were a fetus. Few of them faced intense pressure to perfect the game as Andre Agassi did. A majority of the tennis stars remembered one thing about their first coaches: They made tennis enjoyable.
All kids are different. Child rearing is as far from "one weird trick" territory as you can get.
In the case where you can't have both. I think it's better to focus on discipline. At least you'd get something tiny done, not just wandering around.
I know some people believe there's a correlation between good engineers and musical study (no idea if that's true, only that I've read it before)
I also know that I've rarely met a child that wants to practice their musical instrument. Usually they have to be made to do it "No TV, no internet, no video games until you've finished your piano practice!" "But Mom!!!!!"
I know lots of adults that are happy they can play a musical instrument or speak a second language (parents sent them to language school as a child) but I know of few children who would chose to do either of them.
I believe that the second step, making things fun, mostly consists of letting young people be with their friends, with no more than some open space, and only the minimum adult involvement needed to maintain safety.
I find this somewhat offensive. Gifted kids should be encouraged (cautiously & organically) - not be turned into a beauty pageant style competition.
Why on earth is that something to 'lament'?
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14128052 and marked it off-topic.
In the same way drug addicts are society's problem, or unemployed people are society's problem, or sociopathic second generation rich never-worked-a-day drunk drivers are society's problem.
This isn't to say that you'll be conscripted in to a psudo-parent role against your will, but they are your responsibility as a member of society in a very abstract way.
Anything less and sorry, but you're a part of society.
I don't have to move anywhere to absolve myself of the responsibility to strangers.
By taking part in every day life, using civil infrastructure, having contact with other people you're a part of society with all that goes with that.
It logically follows that the only way to extricate yourself from the situation is to leave society and all the benefits it brings. There are people who have done that!
However I don't see how you can possibly do so and have the convenience of a doctor available when you're sick, coffee sold by the cup and roads on which for you to drive. These are physical and organisational manifestations of 'society'.
By remaining in proximity and contact of other humans you're their responsibility and they are yours.
It's fine to want out but that does need to come with a realisation of what benefits you draw from societal organisation and what you'll need to lose to withdraw from the uninvited, unwritten, yet tangible 'bargain' that society represents.
I'm trying to picture what remaining with other people yet rejecting 'society' theoretically looks like and I can only see it as a kind of parasitic relationship. When aware of parasites humans have a tendency to try and kill or remove them. After all, you would be rejecting all the protections legal and otherwise that society offers its members.
I reject this completely. That's your reality, not mine.
I'm an individual and I'm free to help or not help strangers as I see fit. Neither you nor anyone else has the right to tell me what problems of which people I'm responsible for.
But he may not be compelled. Indeed, it is the societies where people have talked about us all being responsible for everybody else that have murdered the most people (e.g. Soviet Union).
The foregoing interaction with lacampbell might be an analogy of how society fails creative types. They are often awkward, abrasive people who insist on doing things their own way. As a result they are denied jobs, ostracised socially (in the name of friendliness) and generally swept under the rug.
Society would far rather give academic posts, for example, to those who fit in enthusiastically:
The desire to be accepted and to fit in, despite appearances, is not really about friendliness, is my guess. It is actually rooted in the fear of others and the fear of being cast out of the tribe. Like all emotions this fear enacts behaviours which tend to install it in other people. As a result of early socialisation most of our creativity goes into being/appearing normal instead of into making original stuff.
> All of your post hinges on the premise that you feel responsibility for individual problems should be collectivised, by force presumably, and that I am required to morally feel obliged to help any and all strangers by virtue of being born or living in roughly the same area.
I categorically reject that this is my position and am sorry I wasn't able to explain it better. Let me try further:
I'm not suggesting that you be required to do anything. At all. It is your choice to choose to do nothing.
However as a member of society, of which the only way of really escaping is to escape the proximity and influence of those who comprise 'society' you do have a collectivized stake in the outcome of society. If you for example choose to do nothing about drug addicts, and the rest of society does the same... society is then responsible for what happens as a result of untreated drug addiction. You, as a member of society, have some small part ownership over what happens.
Does that make sense? I'm talking in a very abstract sense, not a direct "here is a kid -> take care of it" sense.
But problems are solved by individuals. So part of the gauge of the strength of a society is how receptive it is to knowledge originating in the minds of rare individuals. Does it protect them? Or does it shut them down with censorship, disemployment and so on?
It's vital that people realise that they are not responsible for the fall of every sparrow, lest they be burdened with undue guilt. Their minds are then at least capable of remaining free and creative.
I'd like to think I'm not particularly awkward or abrasive. I'm not some cold hearted monster that has no empathy, or never helps or shows kindness to strangers. But you rightly point out that I reject being compelled to help all and sundry. A charitable act should be mine to perform freely.