Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Real Education?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Scott Adams of "Dilbert" fame claims that schools should "teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship."  He asserts that A students can "study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature" because these students "are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward."  I think that literature is necessary for all aspects of life, but Adams suggestion has a couple of important details that I endorse and try to teach to all students: write simply and lean persuasion.

Write Simply. I took a two-day class in business writing that taught me how to write direct sentences and to avoid extra words. Simplicity makes ideas powerful. Want examples? Read anything by Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett.

Learn Persuasion. Students of entrepreneurship should learn the art of persuasion in all its forms, including psychology, sales, marketing, negotiating, statistics and even design. Usually those skills are sprinkled across several disciplines. For entrepreneurs, it makes sense to teach them as a package.

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