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A lot of people have voiced similar concerns on this thread and I strongly disagree, at least with the part where you say "no math=no value". I know plenty of people at my work who probably can't add two fractions together but are still extremely valuable to the company as a whole. Managers, lawyers, graphics designers, salespeople, the list goes on. Though a passing knowledge of math may be mildly useful in a few situations, having no knowledge of the subject at all really isn't any kind of problem for some people.

I agree that everyone should learn math in school, but that's so they can learn how to think and analyze. If the skills have atrophied through disuse I would conclude that they have found other ways to achieve the same goals.




Managers Sales people, and Lawyers with poor understanding of math as basic as adding fractions are vary risky. It's not that they can't preform most job fuctions it's that they are extreamly likely to make costly mistakes. When should I add one more person to keep people from charging as much overtime. Or the old should I offer overtime or comp time etc. As to sales people and Lawyers effective negotiation require them to be able to say: I can't drop the price any more but I can do X (which costs us less) etc.

Graphics designers often use a lot of math directly when working out layout's and things. An intuitive understanding and lot's of effort can help compensate but it's a significant loss if they can't do simple math on how tall / wide things are when you scale them.


What about poor language skills? You made a mistake in nearly every sentence in your comment.

I apologize if English is not your native tongue.


What about poor language skills? You made a mistake in nearly every sentence in your comment.

Then I guess he won't be using his comment history on HN as a reference for his next interview.


I would argue that inside a company it's communication that's important not polish. It's only when your company is interacting with the public that polish becomes important.


I have found that those who write poorly in the corporate world generally think poorly as well.


That's a pretty low blow. What he wrote was extremely clear, though clearly his punctuation was terrible and his spelling was shaky. If it had been read to you out loud, you wouldn't have noticed an issue:

"Managers, salespeople, and lawyers with [a] poor understanding of math as basic as adding fractions are very risky. It's not that they can't perform most job functions, it's that they are extremely likely to make costly mistakes. 'When should I add one more person to keep people from charging as much overtime?' Or, the old: 'Should I offer overtime or comp time?' etc. As [for] salespeople and lawyers, effective negotiation require[s] them to be able to say: 'I can't drop the price any more but I can do X' (which costs us less), etc.

"Graphic[...] designers often use a lot of math directly when working out layouts and things. An intuitive understanding and lots of effort can help compensate, but it's a significant loss if they can't do simple math on how tall / wide things are when you scale them."

Is that written poorly enough to take the time to passive-aggressively call someone stupid on the internet?


> If it had been read to you out loud, you wouldn't have noticed an issue

Maybe someone should start working on a text-to-speech app for HN with built-in meaning detection, then? Without one, onemoreact's posts unfortunately were not read out loud to me, and I had to do double-takes for "vary", "preform", and "incite" (all real words pronounced differently than what was intended). The missing punctuation also made it difficult to parse the text given the absence of verbal pauses or tone changes.


I'm not saying that I like to read emails like that, I'm saying that to accuse somebody of having difficulties thinking when they have difficulties in grammar and spelling is a low blow. The brother of an ex of mine is a dyslexic PhD geologist who uses a combination of text-to-speech and assistants to do a lot of important research work. English orthography is weird, and is largely used as a class marker to dismiss people with no regard to the content of what they're saying. In addition, it's not at all unlikely that English is onemoreact's second or third language.

It'd be different if the argument was incoherent, or took a huge amount of effort to understand.


I'm not saying insulting intelligence is acceptable when laziness is a more likely cause, but you can't say the the post was "extremely clear" then go on to rewrite it, adding several written language features that aid clarity greatly.

English is my second language, and I sorta know a couple more and could have a nice rant about English orthography and phoneticity or lack thereof and the root causes of this unfortunate situation. English as a second language issues might cause one to confuse "vary" and "very" but will not be the cause of pluralizing with an apostrophe. The lack of quotation marks is also at best a laziness issue, not a dyslexia issue.

I really struggle to see why someone would go to the effort of posting a comment and not bother to correct at least the spellcheck-catchable typo "extreamly."


I just corrected the grammar for illustration. I didn't have any problem understanding it.

Pluralizing with an apostrophe or not using quotation marks are even common with people who have English as a first language, and are signs of discomfort or lack of practice with English writing, which could be the result of dyslexia, English as an eighth language, or any other reason. Could even be stupidity, but when the ideas are coherent, to jump to that just seems to be a way to feel superior to someone.

Seemed like an intelligent enough comment to me, even though I would extend it to the reading comprehension that the author of the subject of this thread must lack to fail a 10th grade reading test with 62%, then further extend it to become a belligerent attack on management in general. The school boards in America are still debating evolution every single year. I add, of course, that school boards have nothing to do with teacher's unions, and break them more often than they support them.

I wish you luck in your struggle.


Why wouldn't quotation marks be a dyslexia issue? Dyslexics have no intuition whether written language "looks right." That includes punctuation.


That writing reminds me of a friend of mine who is dyslexic. I always have to sound out his writing to make sense of it.


I find those that think in such general terms also tend to think poorly ;-) My personal experience is the best writers rarely have much to say, but I have probably spent to much time in the consulting world where saying something meaningful is far less important than saying something well. Still, I try and avoid generalizing to much because incite rarely comes from generalities.


This is very valuable insight.


That applies in general, not just in the corporate world. Lazy writing implies lazy thinking.


Yes, but... Lousy spelling and punctuation are not necessarily lazy writing.


What else would you call them?


Dyslexic. An ex-girlfriend of mine is very bright and gifted at logic (majored in philosophy), but her spelling and syntax are terrible.


Disabilities don't count, I'm talking about people who can write better if they cared to try, not those who can't.


Negatively motivated writing.


Managers, lawyers, graphics designers, salespeople, the list goes on.

For salespeople, sums, differences, multiplication and division of fractions might not be the best example; calculus might be more appropriate. Some of the best salespeople I've ever worked with could effortlessly modify the deal numbers in their head on the fly during a negotiation. For example, it could entail working out a seemingly big "cash discount" number and offering it on the spot, knowing full well that it won't take so many points off the margin that the pricing team will throw a fit nor impact their commission such that they care. These are fairly simplistic one or two decimal place fractional arithmetic that are only moderately more complex for the layperson than tallying up the tip at a meal, but it puts a lot of pressure on the customers when they are told, "if I have to walk out of this meeting without closing, I won't ever get the authority to offer that discount again".




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