Monthly Archives: November 2004

Why a college degree does not means as much as people think

Getting a college degree is not truly necessary and employers should stop requiring them for most jobs.

Most jobs that require a college degree only do so because so many people go to college nowadays and employers just use it as an easy way of discriminating in-favor of the "motivated". You don’t really need a college agree to be a city clerk or a salesperson or even a software developer.

Among my circles the common question is "where did you go to college?" not "did you go to college?"

yes, a degree from a good school proves that you’re smart and can be a good ticket. But other than that, how essential is college? — especially if it is not from one of the most prestigious schools?

most things you learn in college you could learn on your own, or by taking a class or a seminar, or by joining a study group … or just by reading a book or looking it up on the Internet …

yes, college is essential if you want to be a professor and it is necessary if you want to go to grad school (though I would agree that most masters degrees are unnecessary as well)

the college experience is very important in developing people socially and increasing maturity — and also helping increase our drinking skills. But that is only true for the more elite 4-year universities — not commuter schools where most people get their degrees. couldn’t two years of national community service be much better for most people?

skills are important to learn: nursing, mechanics, dry wall, sales, putting together my computer, writing … all those things would give people a much better living then the typical college degree does

best education I ever got was the training I got on a summer job I had right after my senior year in high school. I went door to door for the environment asking for money. I learned how to make a sale in 6 seconds. You can’t learn that at no college … we don’t need no education …

Books: How We Know What Isn’t So

Review of How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich

This is a book on bias and on prejudice and stereotyping.

Everyday we all make decisions by relying on our biases — it is human nature. We misinterpret data, assume they are better then everyone else, and we believe what we are told.

This is a masterful book that Gilovich put together and I highly recommend it. First, the book is short. Second, it is the perfect companion to Influence: The Power of Persuasion (which is one of my favorite books of all time).

To really understand humans I suggest you read Influence, the Tipping Point, How We Know What Isn’t So, and Why We Buy. I haven’t yet read Gladwell’s new book, Blink, but I suspect that one too (on whether you should trust your gut) might join these four important books as a must read.

Ukraine elections … the sequel

My recent blog on the Ukrainian elections has been getting a lot of hits lately — it is very timely.   Last year I was in Georgia, this year in Ukraine.   similar situations.   will the outcomes be similar?  too early to tell but I don’t think it will happen.

i’m worried.   one always worries when hundreds of thousands of people protest in the freezing cold.   in means they’re serious (as Kiev can get pretty chilly this time of year).   and the Yuschenko supporters are pitching tents and staying put.  for now.

we cannot afford to let Ukraine lapse into a civil war … and yet we cannot afford to have its citizenry feel so unempowered.   so we wait and hope the sides come to a resolution as the alternative, a civil war, is not unlikely.   

see: Questions linger about Yuschenko’s illness
see: Monitoring the Ukraine Presidential Election

Brown belt and black shoes — why fashion is stupid and makes no sense

Why does fashion matter? I mean, what does it say about a person that is fashion coordinated? Only that the person spends a lot of time thinking about fashion. Is that such a good thing???

Why can’t I wear a black belt with brown shoes or visa versa? Why is this such a faux-pas? And when I do this, why does everyone chastise me to no end?

And why can’t I wear my blue faded jeans? How can a good pair of Levi’s go out of style?

Fashion is stupid.

Whoa!! Do I dare say that? Yes … I’ll even say it again … watch out … here it comes …

FASHION IS REALLY STUPID!!

Yeah. I can understand trying to look clean and presentable but why are ALL the men wearing those diagonal stripes these days? I mean is everyone a lemming and just needs to follow the oracle of the "trend"???

Ok … something else that bugs me .. Ties. I mean, what is the purpose of a tie except to suffocate you and to land in your lunch? I just do not understand the point. I mean, how did all of western society conform to such a stupid fashion? Don’t we have an sense to change this fad?

Guess what else is stupid??? Grammar. And spelling. Huh? Yeah, Spelling. And table settings.

OK. I admit it. I don’t know a thing about grammar. I never learned it. And frankly … I don’t care. I’m sure this post will be riddled with grammatical errors … but guess what? You’ll still understand what I am talking about. You’ll understand me just fine.

So what’s the big deal about grammar???

I find huge joy in ending my sentences with prepositions.

And spelling. So Dan Quayle spelled potato as "potatoe" — so what’s the big deal? Is there anyone who speaks English who doesn’t know what he means? Spelling is really important to avoid confusion — and so is grammar by the way — but beyond that it as little value except to take a whole lot of brain power and to attempt to draw class distinctions — neither of which is really useful to society.

And … while I am on a role … who really gives a hoot about which side to set the fork??? I mean, come on!!! There might occasionally be some practical purposes (like so you do not steal your neighbor’s fork), but overall, table manners is a lot of hooey. When I’m at home alone … with no one else around … I like lick my plate. I mean, I just cooked something tasty, finished it, and there is some scraps on my plate (or in a bowl). So I lick it. Delicious. But I wouldn’t dare do that in front of company (or even in front of my best friends) … I’d be an outcast, a pariah, a fool.

So I sit there, sitting on my hands, staring at this delicious plate … and I bemoan things fashionable that are not purposeful …

Book: The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia

The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia By David Hoffman

David Hoffman (no relation to me) is a masterful writer and he brings to life six characters that shaped Russia from its post-Communist days — for better and for worse.

This book is similar to The Wise Men — the men that shaped the U.S. foreign policy in the post WWII era.

The book was originally sent to me for my birthday (in April) by Adrian Scott (CEO of Ryze) but I just got to it now. The book was fascinating and riveting. Though 500 pages, I could not put it down and it was a great addition to my trip to Ukraine.

Summation: if you are interested in the evolvement of the post-Soviet states, I highly suggest you read this book.

Book: How to Survive Dating: By Hundreds of Happy Singles Who Did & Some Things to Avoid from a Few Broken Hearts Who Didn’t (Hundreds of Heads Survival Guides)

Mark Bernstein and his company, Hundreds of Heads books, came out with their newest book: How to Survive Dating: By Hundreds of Happy Singles Who Did & Some Things to Avoid from a Few Broken Hearts Who Didn’t (Hundreds of Heads Survival Guides)

this is another great book and a great job of marketing by Mark. My guess is the the “How to Survive” series will become as popular as the “Dummies” books.