Why do we make B students sit through the same classes as their brainy peers?
The idea of a fixed pool of "A" students is a false one.
That said I think that we should be teaching all students most of the topics he mentioned.
I was a gifted student, and I did not start off that way, I was not until high school that I gained entry to the higher level classes and I had to fight tooth and nail to get into them because my grades in the regular classes were Bs not As. It took a few of my teachers arguing with the administration to get me into the program where I excelled, and my grades got better, but because of the blind spot you describe it was almost impossible.
I know people smarter than I am who graduated (or dropped out of!) college with abysmal GPAs-- like 2.5, which is a disaster following U.S. grade inflation. I also know intellectual mediocrities who were good at playing the system despite mediocre effort. My sense of Mr. Adams is that he had A potential but probably got B's and C's because he had other projects. That's the good case of a "B student": someone who got mediocre grades because he was working on other things. They should be considering entrepreneurial pursuits. But I wouldn't want to see the average U.S. college graduate (fairly lazy, intellectually mediocre, able to meet college's low minimum demands based on socioeconomic status rather than merit) managing a large, complex company. Hell no on that one, sir.
"Assume good faith." The piece makes more sense as the latter, and it certainly doesn't break the argument. I don't see any good reason to impute the first one to Adams. (Not that you did.)
It's obvious that it's not easy to separate who is who, but it's equally obvious that the B crew does exist.
The only skill that doesn't strongly apply is Write Simply, although it does to an extreme -- in the sense that the less you have written down the better off you are.
Scott Adams just shared with us the ideal framework for an entrepreneurial curriculum. But more importantly, the article reinforces the fact that the whole is far greater than the sum of these parts, especially in the context of an entrepreneur.
I succeeded as a cartoonist with negligible art talent, some basic writing skills, an ordinary sense of humor and a bit of experience in the business world. The "Dilbert" comic is a combination of all four skills. The world has plenty of better artists, smarter writers, funnier humorists and more experienced business people. The rare part is that each of those modest skills is collected in one person. That's how value is created.
As an aside, this makes a compelling case for the pursuit of a co-founder with complementary skills.
Sorry, but that "education in entrepreneurship" curriculum just looks like a list of skills absolutely anyone should pick up in the natural course of life and career. I understand the need for a useful, technical education, but sometimes I think we overestimate how much useful, technical skills can be gained from classroom instruction v. the real world. This is an argument against mainstream college education as much as it is for a challenging, classical liberal arts degree..despite what Adams writes.
I found this bit disturbing though
' I pointed out that my friend—the soon-to-be-fired bartender—was tall, good-looking and so gifted at b.s. that he'd be the perfect leader.'
Students should be taught that failure is a process, not an obstacle.
Luck finds the doers.
Simplicity makes ideas powerful.
What made the article worth it were the real life stories he shared to make a point. Would love to hear some similar stories. Any HNers have any good ones that they'd like to share?
Audentes fortuna iuvat - Virgil.
Wikipedia once again impresses with an article on the subject:
In fact school is here to increase your wisdom to the fullest before putting in you in risk to gather experience.
This is relevant to any student. And explains why sometimes B students (as marks) succeed at business - they may not been better memorizers, but have the knowledge to make better choices and use this knowledge.
I think that the "B students" know who they are: they are the students who are not so fond of math / physics / litteratures, etc.. but have other interests in life.
The idea is not to force these guys to learn entrepreneurship, but rather not to force them into studies that don't fit their qualities and potential. Most of them would be glad not to attend the hardcore math class and instead do something useful that interests them..
I think the term "B-student" is just an effective way to identify to the reader students who wouldn't do well in math or science for any reason, whether environmental, motivational, or natural. That is, it brings about a connotation of someone who is smart enough to succeed at most things, but who can't compete head to head with students who specialize in a specific academic field.
It's hard to define, but the term's usefulness comes from its general connotation and the associated imagery, not its definition.
I think the takeaway here is that these individuals, whatever you call them, should focus more on learning skills that will allow them to compete laterally by creating opportunities for themselves and others rather than learning to be superficially cultured or trying compete for existing opportunities head to head with others who are more specialized and talented in their respective field.
"B school" == "Business school"
Last I checked, he was somebody who made a semi-funny cartoon. Why are we listening to him for education advice?
I have a general rule not to heed advice unless the advisor can back it up with some kind of personal experience. This excludes maybe 99% of financial advice, which I think is a good thing.
Your criticism might be relevant if he was putting forward a comprehensive plan to reform the education system, but he is just trying to give another perspective on what the goals of education should be.
The only reason this got any traction is that he happens to make Dilbert. His is not a particularly rare and/or valuable insight, and nothing in there makes it different from millions of other armchair education reformers.
I expect more from HN links. My mistake for making a snarky comment instead of spelling it out properly.
Disagree with what he says, not who he is.
When you have a complicated system, and a non-expert comes in with a plan, then it's appropriate to dismiss it without overwhelming support. The burden of proof is on the non-expert. Expert time is too valuable to waste debunking every hobbyist solution.
You see this on a small scale in mathematics, with professors getting incorrect (and frequently laughable) 'proofs' or outstanding unsolved problems or problems that have been proven not to have solutions.