Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Further postings are delayed because one of the co-founders had his house robbed and currently has no computer from which to post material.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sports, Education, and Opportunity

I had a great discussion today on sports, education, and opportunity in
the United States. Here are some of the better thoughts:

- Getting to a comfortable "middle class lifestyle" is attainable by
almost everyone; however, the issue is that many people don't realize
this possibility.

- More people in the lower income brackets overestimate the chances of
becoming a professional athlete; consensus was because of lack of
education, lack of role models, and lack of forseeable options.

- Some questioned value of sports in US but others added that when
realistic about sports as a career then sports add value by teaching
teamwork, perseverance, leadership, work ethic, etc

- Debated econ value of sports... Must be in billions!

- Wondered what is worse: lottery/gambling or sports?

- Debated allowing kids to be professional (football, bball, MLB,
golf, etc players). Some were wary but most said whatever makes the
kid happy.

The results of the debate weren't groundbreaking but the debate itself
was a great mental exercise (and completely unrelated to anything else
I did today).

Today's Links (Monday, 9-17-07): The Job Hunt

-"I am more than a test score."

- Literally living your dreams, from the NY Times.

- "Nervous about public speaking? Try taking on an offbeat topic..."

- Tips on being assertive.

- An education revolution going on in North Korea.

- Five ways the job hunt is about to change, from Penelope Trunk. (The same Penelope who wrote back to us saying she liked this post).

- The state of manufacturing in the US (it's not what you think!)

- Life lessons at Meerkat Manor, a great article by Steven Malanga at City Journal.

Did we miss something? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Knowledge vs. Wisdom

Note: This post was written by Becca Wehunt, one of the newest members of the College Knowledge team.

I came across this quote by William Cowper while doing an assignment for school. I think it speaks to what we’re trying to accomplish here at College Knowledge:

“Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,

Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells

In heads replete with thoughts of other men;

Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;

Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.”

In this quote, Cowper has drawn a distinction between “wisdom” and “knowledge.” Often, we use these words interchangeably, and admittedly the difference is subtle, yet it can have a significant impact on one’s approach to education. If it is the “thoughts of other men” that we seek, i.e. facts and figures, theories and treatises, then our education is reduced to memorization. I liken this type of education to a squirrel’s cache of acorns meant to last through winter; individual, disconnected thoughts are stashed away in preparation for an exam.

On the other hand we have the pursuit of wisdom. I enjoy Princeton University’s WordNet definition for wisdom as the “ability to apply knowledge.” Thus, it is internalizing (eating) the facts (acorns) to make them part of one’s own understanding (or one’s body, in the case of the squirrel), and, incorporating Cowper’s description, carefully considering the additional knowledge (digestion?).

Ok, I think I’ve stretched my metaphor, but the point I’m trying to make is that the two are connected, though distinct. Knowledge is required for wisdom, and the latter can be achieved simply by adopting an attitude of reflection toward the hard facts.

Now, what does this have to do with education or life in general? Learning is made easier and more interesting when the connections between topics and lessons are drawn as you learn them. When it’s like one big story, studying for the exam (or board meeting) is less painful. Besides, people who come across as know-it-alls are generally less liked than those who are considered wise.

So, why do we call it College Knowledge and not College Wisdom? Well, for one, the difference is subtle and the two are interchangeable in mainstream conversation. With our emphasis on the individual student’s needs and the mentoring component, what we market really is wisdom in a sense. But mostly we call it College Knowledge because it rhymes!

Check out the website for more information about our services and our exceptional rhyming ability!

Today's Links (Friday, 9-14-07): Get Paid to Travel

- Is social networking changing the face of friendship?

- Solo dwellers are on the rise... looks like this generation of young adults is doing things differently.

- Doing business with college students.

- Going to med school? Try going with your mom.

- Our schools' cellular plague, from the excellent City Journal.

- It looks like schools aren't preparing kids for college.

- "I think if the world knew what was good for it, it would establish a fund to pay for Americans all to have a free trip for six weeks, anywhere they wanted around the world upon graduation." Read more here.

Did we miss something? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today's Links (Thursday, 9-13-07): iPod Study Buddy

- Tough to justify some aspects of green energy / alternative energy after this attack.

- The one Buffett book every investor should read, which we book reviewed here.

- A fantastic movie on the nature of happiness.

- Some new globalization insights.

- Advice for graduate students, from MR.

- No surprise there's a huge lack of male teachers.

- The 17 year old millionaire.

- On having Facebook and MySpace blocked at work.

- The iPod study buddy, definitely worth checking out.

Got a suggestion? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today's Links (Wednesday, 9-12-07): Top Money Drains

Happy Birthday, Ricardo!

- Too young for college life? Seeing as we've witnessed two students begin at 16, and have no difficulty with adjusting, we'd have to say Brittany is going to be fine.

- "Products can be ranked, but education can't - it's a process."

- Bad incentives when picking colleges.

- It seems that now the government is getting up in our laundry!

- Shooting the messenger may make you feel better... but it's not advisable.

- A decent piece on the deficit.

- For the MBA friends out there, you may want to try out for the Braun challenge.

- "Physicians just out of medical school have difficulty interpreting the statistics presented in medical articles." From the Boston Globe.

- Wow, reading 100 novels in 100 days.

- A list of the top money drains... and some solutions.

- "Hooray for Hollywood." Is it ironic that this article is between the money drain article and the forced happiness piece?

- Following up on our bit yesterday about forced happiness, check this article out.

- The best take we saw on 9/11, from Scobleizer.

Did we miss something? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Do Not Use This Word

Word you should not use if possible: obviously.

Here's why: using the word, especially as a response to a suggestion, is a killer of other people's confidence AND it makes the person saying the word look mean and/or arrogant. Example:

John: We may want to consider phasing out these TPS reports. They are not efficient.
Steve: Obviously. They even make fun of the reports in Office Space.

So if you say obviously, try phasing it out and replace it with something positive. In the above example, something simple that gives credit to John would be appropriate, even if John did not come up with an innovative solution. Saying obviously could kill John's confidence and Steve may miss out on good future suggestions that John will start holding back for fear of another negative response.If you do replace obviously, do not replace it with something similarly negative, like "I know".

The goal here is to use positive words.You may be surprised how replacing just a few words will go a very long way towards creating a positive perception of yourself (which is particularly valuable if you ever work in teams). Being positive makes you easier to work with and gets people saying good things about you.

Today's Links (Tuesday, 9-11-07): Transformational Leadership

- Carrying cash will grow your wealth. At least, that's what Mind Petals writes.

- On that note, what's the best way to pay?

- Amazon and Google want to mind your read (yes, we wrote that correctly).

- Deloitte is providing some flexibility to its workforce.

- Don't miss the CK Tutors advice on getting rid of bad work.

- Does music education have a positive impact on grades?

- It turns out that happiness classes actually depress students.

- Banning "I don't know" via Joanne Jacobs.

- Irving's take on transformational leadership.

- Putting the Smart car to shame with this car.

- The ultimate guide to being successful in college.

- High tech learning is making progress.

- Accommodating gifted children.

Did we miss something? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Today's Links (Monday, 9-10-07): Poker Camp

- Great perspective from Slate on how the rich are saving the economy.

- On Facebook's public search feature and the downsides of social networking.

- An article on how entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger, via the Boston Globe.

- Pay down student loans or invest in stocks? Tough call. Here's a perspective.

- Speaking of student finances, a piece on the lack of financial advice geared towards students, appearing in last week's Technique.

- The future career path of gifted youth can be predicted by 13. Doubtful and tough to prove, but check out the article.

- Advice to college students from Matt Wixon over at the Dallas Morning News: think hard before getting a tattoo.

- More advice for writing cover letters.

- Our friends at MR (well, friend, since it's only Tyler Cowen that is a current Facebook friend) on the "Library Appreciation Day".

- Somewhat silly: picking your hedge fund based on the manager's SAT scores. Not that SAT scores years ago and the ability to pick stocks would even be reasonably correlated.

- Do you like poker? Want to go to poker camp? It'll cost you...

- "In short, Belgium has served its purpose. A praline divorce is in order." An opinion piece on why Belgium should cease to exist, from The Economist.

- On the difficulties of finding unique talent, regarding Cirque du Soleil, via WSJ (subscription required).

This is unrelated but congrats to Tiger Woods and Roger Federer... both won again.

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Getting Rid of "Bad" Work

Have you ever found yourself dealing with "bad" work? "Bad" work refers to the kind of work that you might call menial labor, such as making copies, shredding paper, packing boxes, and the like. We've all dealt with it, but here's a tip for avoiding "bad" work in the future:

Don't do "bad" work to the best of your ability. Now, you should definitely do the work because not finishing your work would be bad advice and you may get fired; just keep in mind that when you are given menial tasks that aren't time critical, you should conscientiously take longer doing the "bad" work than meaty assignments that make you think and use your skills.

For example, let's say you've been asked to reformat some documents and then load them onto a server, renaming each one by one. This hypothetical task will take you hours. Let's also say you've been asked by a few other co-workers to be a big contributor to a project, making this "good" work. The best way to avoid "bad" work in the future, without making a scene, is to do the best job you can (as fast as you can) with your contribution to the big project... and to take a longer than usual time reformatting the documents and then renaming them. Think of this as a subtle way of managing your managers to give you the work you want.

The old way of thinking where young workers needed to do menial work all the time to "earn their stripes" has been thrown out the window. Yes, we know that some menial work is unavoidable but we're referring to situations where almost everything you do is menial labor.

The advantage young workers (and really all workers) have right now is that the general job market is so competitive. If you're still doing almost all menial work after being on the job for a while, you should probably be looking for positions at companies that will actually use the skills you spent so much effort developing.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Why do we do it?

Why do we blog? has been a question we've been thinking about the past few days. Our friends over at Abnormal Returns wrote about the difficulties of blogging (for no pay) and the lovely Going Private blog wrote about the same, only a few weeks back.

But this post isn't to complain (certainly not!) - it's just to note that quality blogging isn't easy and that if you have any feedback, please make sure to let us know. We're certainly always trying to improve the quality of this blog. Anyways, the company maintains a blog because:

it's fun: we actually like to blog, especially hunting for useful articles and posts

mutual benefits: it helps us (i.e. learn, organize thoughts) almost as much as features like Today's Links help you

- giving back: it's another way we feel we can give back to the community, in this case the internet community/blogosphere

it draws people to our website... and thus brings clients: with this blog's page views in the thousands, a likely good number of visitors have clicked our company's link on the right (hint, hint)

And just one more secret: in the near future, we'll be having a few guest bloggers. With more and more visitors coming to the blog, the attention that will need to be devoted to just the blog will increase; as that occurs, you can expect more insights and features from other contributors. As we like to say: look for more to come!

In fact, I was pleased (and shocked) to see that there were over 70 page visits to just one post on one day this past week. This means all our readers are doing a great job of spreading the word - keep it up!

Like our blog? Click through to the main page of our blog right here.

Got something to say? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Who Killed TV's Family Hour?

Here is another excellent article from the talented group over at the City Journal. Of course, Adam is right in saying "the family hour may well be dead—but parents, not broadcasters, were the ones who killed it." However, a few more thoughts to add:

- These corporate interests that "hijacked" TV's family hour actually do hardworking adults a huge favor: by pushing the shows that typically were shown later in the evening, they allow people who don't have DVRs to watch the shows they might typically miss if they came on very late.

- Perhaps kids are more jaded or realistic about the world we live in and the "inappropriate" shows that come on at 8, 9pm are only appropriate by a 1950's standard and not today's standard.

The strong impression from the report about the death of family hour is that the Parent's Television Council is trying to impart 1950's values on 21st century families. As any rational mind would know, this sort of thinking doesn't lead to any solid conclusions.

Our different masks (or hats)

Have you ever thought about how you present yourself? The likely answer is yes. But have you ever thought about you consciously and subconsciously present yourself according to the specific person or situation you're dealing with? This is something I've been wrestling with and decided I could turn into a full fledged post.

I started by looking up books on human behavior. I am amazed there are so many but one that stuck out as a "classic" that is still relevant is titled "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life". Then a related search showed up with an excerpt from Ben Casnocha's new book "My Startup Life" and a reference to the same book! Anyways, I think this passage from Ben's book it's quite telling and raises some provocative points:

Throughout my sophomore year I experimented with different masks. In business with adults, the appropriate mask seemed close to my instinctual self. I would layer my vocabulary and appearance with professionalism, politeness, and intensity. In school with teenagers, the appropriate mask—if I wanted to be engaged, friendly, social—was different. Not professionalism, slickness. Not "I look forward to picking you up tomorrow morning," but "I'll swoop you tomorrow A.M." Being "chill" trumped all. The prop change wasn't a simple swap. The teen setting required the same category of skills, only of different gradations. Pick the wrong shade and your voice cracked. You're supposed to be polite to teachers and peers, yet too polite and you're side-brushed as a suck-up, a pushover, a brown-noser. You're supposed to be funny, except when you become too obnoxious. You're supposed to be academic and get straight A's but also be “ghetto” and loose. You're supposed to treat girls as equals and not objectify them as sex objects, but also confirm your own heterosexuality through silent catcalls at someone who just walked by. There's even another teen mask for those weekend drinking parties, where you're supposed to morph into a wild-and-crazy drunk dude after just a few sips.

Every high schooler wades through these unforgiving waters, kicking fervently to find a balance among all this sociological nuance. But most high schoolers are also placed in the right sea at the outset; they just need to figure out how to swim north. For me, though, it took effort to even find the sea. How do I reimmerse myself in the highly self-conscious environment of a high school cafeteria after finishing a conference call with a client on the cell phone outside? On the conference call, or in any business meeting, professional and personal aren't mixed. It's a one-dimensional interaction predicated first and foremost on the exchange of ideas rather than personal appearance, social plans, or dating history.

Interesting, huh? What got me thinking was how we control our behavior from situation to situation, in many cases in an unnatural manner. In the above example, Ben tries to act like the typical high schooler to fit in. In my life, I find myself in a "caught in between" situation - sometimes I act way too old and serious when I'm around people my age, but then other times I act too young and "chill" around people much older.

Do you find yourself wearing different masks, hats, or whatever you want to call it? And if you do, do you sometimes have trouble switching from one to the other? And do you ever wish you could just wear one hat or is it better that we constantly adjust around different people and situations?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Article on Summer Goals

We've noticed a theme in this article: successful people work really hard. They can't even meet their summer goals:

The difficulty of achieving summer goals has even been the object of academic study. In her paper, "Competing Demands and Complementary Motives: Procrastination on Intrinsically and Extrinsically Motivated Summer Projects," Regina Conti, associate professor of psychology at Colgate University, found that since summer goals tend to be more intrinsic (personally satisfying) than extrinsic (such as a requirement set by other forces), people tend to procrastinate more. It isn't enough to just want to improve oneself -- there has to be some other motivation, such as money or a deadline, to make people act.

Indeed, "too much work" was a common excuse this summer. Lee Cooperman, chairman and chief executive of the hedge fund Omega Advisors, had one extremely modest goal -- spending a long weekend at his son's rental in the Hamptons. Explaining why he didn't expect more time off, he tallied up his long hours: up at 5:20 a.m., on the 6:29 a.m. ferry from New Jersey to New York's financial district, at his desk by 6:45 a.m., not home and in bed until 11:30 p.m. When his wife asked him to go on a cruise of the Greek Isles, he reminded her of his daily ferry ride to work. "That's my cruise, and it only takes six minutes," he told her. (Her reply? "She called me a jerk."

Read more here.

Today's Links (Friday, 9-7-07): Texas Edition

- Here's a Texan's version of the United States.

- Pavarotti got plenty of coverage yesterday, but it's interesting to note the timeline of his career (and how it wasn't a straight journey to the top). There's something to be learned from this!

- President Bush is going to sign legislation to increase college aid by $20 billion.

- Recruitment by military in schools is criticized, via NY Times.

- "We spent a record-breaking $4 billion at the box office this summer." (

- Maybe globalization actually helps the environment?

- "93 percent of female graduates from a US university simply accepted the starting salaries they were offered in their first job, while more than half of the male graduates tried to negotiate up." (from Times Online)

- If you're looking for a decent defense against raising taxes of private equity and hedge fund firms, look no further.

- Statistics on college drop outs in California, via Joanne Jacobs, though we'd like to see some of her own commentary as well.

- For our friends doing Teach for America the next few years, you may want to check out this book.

- Do you have a good job? Read this post for guidance.

- And if you're looking for some laughs, click here, here, and here.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Stating Your Causes

Do you have causes? Professor Elliott at Claremont certainly has causes.

The point here isn't whether his causes are right or wrong, but rather that he has stated causes. Try writing down 2 or 3 things you're passionate about and would like to see changed... and then start doing!

When I was completing my PURA research I got to know Professor Maier very well and one thing I admired about her is that she had 2 very passionate causes (at least!) that she was always doing something about. 

Like the causes or not, people admired that she was standing for what she believed in. Another benefit (occuring most of the time) is that having something to stand for will make you happier, particularly when you see progress within your cause.

This post raises a whole new issue: execution. It's one thing to state what you want to do; it's quite another to accomplish your stated goal. More on this later.

Today's Links (Thursday, 9-6-07): Earnings

- Creating your own happiness commandments.

- Electronic books are taking over? Via the NY Times.

- Should teacher's records be posted online?

- More "On the Road" tributes

- Good lesson behind this: there's no such thing as a free lunch.

- Creating the perfect cover letter.

- It's not just IT workers that have to work hard to keep their skills current.

- On the earnings of college grads, from BusinessWeek.

- What makes a product cool?

- Who said cheerleading was easy?

- Great points from Sham Gad on investing in a bear market.

How do you reflect your parents?

The other day in Newport the conversation got around to how I got ahead in school. Whenever this happens I always explain that my brother also is 2 years younger than his grade and that, in fact, he is the smarter of the two (by a good bit). One of the people I was talking to said, "Well, you must have a really smart family!" and I got to thinking on the drive back home. How much is "smartness" a reflection of one's parents? How much is one's "success" a reflection of parents and the parents' success?

To me it seems that successful children do not necessarily come from successful parents but that they come from parents who are best at passing on the various traits that lead to success. Parents don't necessarily have to be successful for you to end up the same way, but it probably corresponds that parents who are big on teaching important character traits such as perseverance and honesty in a supportive environment tend to have successful children.

For example, Ben Casnocha mentions his mom all the time in his blog (run a search for "mom" on his blog and you'll see what I mean) and he's certainly a successful and ambitious person; you can tell his parents brought him up in an incredibly supportive environment. Another example is Orion - he's close with his parents and I've seen first hand how supportive they are; Orion is by all accounts successful so far.

When I thought about it some more I realized most of my friends have very supportive family environments; is it no surprise, then, that they're all quite successful in pretty significant ways? Or that an impartial observer would likely bet on each of them to be successful down the road? And if sons and daughters are a good reflection of their parents' ability to teach the right character traits, do sons and daughters consciously make "the right decision" more often than regular people?

Addendum: After writing this post I decided to run a search on whether parents matter or not. It was interesting to see the authors of Freakonomics wrote an editorial on the matter.
Got something to say? Come over to the blog and leave a comment under this post. We love joining in the discussion.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Our apologies with any formatting errors on the blog yesterday and today. We're trying out new services and it may lead to problems, though these often don't show up in facebook. We suppose this is just part of the fun and evolution of the blog.

Apple's Evolution (No comment necessary)

A Call for Audacity

Here is a fantastic article on Barack Obama, his education initiatives (sometimes lack thereof), and on merit pay. From the City Journal: "Could Obama make education his issue, stand up to the unions, and prove that his inspiring words aren't just empty rhetoric? Now that would be audacious."

Keep in mind: Hilary Clinton's viewpoints on education, Mitt Romney's viewpoints on education, and Rudy Giuliani's viewpoints on education.

Today's Links (Wednesday, 9-5-07): Rankings

- Newest rankings from The Economist such as the Global Peace Index and the Business Environment Ranking, among others.

- How much cash should you carry in your wallet, via Marginal Revolution.

- Be responsible and live at home after college.

- 5 stocks to love in "troubled times" according to Kiplinger. Tip: do your research before doing anything.

- Yet another issue raised by globalization.

- For Jack Kerouac or Beatles fans, some interactive essays and photo journals from Slate.

- An internet bill of rights, via Scobleizer.

- What was the best book of the summer?

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How to become an entrepreneur

It seems that everyday you hear in the news about this guy starting a company and becoming rich, or this person starting a business and creating jobs, etc. but you never hear about the sort of questions you should ask yourself before starting a company. Well, here's a pretty good list that got posted about 20 minutes ago on how to become an entrepreneur.

But be careful, it may take 10,000 hours to become good at what you do.

Quote of the day

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius,
power, and magic in it." -Goethe

Today's Links (Tuesday, 9-04-07): Top Blogs

Due to the long weekend and the accompanying break, today's links will
be short.

However, one topic we want to visit is blogging. These are the blogs
we like at the moment:

Marginal Revolution
Joanne Jacobs
Ben Casnocha
Brazen Careerist

Linking is not working, but a google search for any of these terms
will take you to their blogs.