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December 17, 2008



Here are a couple of my thoughts on the issue.
I am a bit of a glutton for education. One of my major life goals, and it is one that I will happily remain involved with until the day I die, is to know everything. What I like about Shimer and the Great Books approach to education is the fact that it does not ask one to limit what areas one explores. It is education as its own end and it seems that fewer people are seeing the value of such a thing. The idea of receiving an education that very practically prepares me for a very practical job that I will choose because it will make me a lot of money is incredibly boring and depressing. The average human being spends far too high a percentage of her or his life working to do something that is not of personal interest.
I think that people obsess a little too much over what should be considered a great book. I think that this sort of education should involve as much variety as possible. The idea isn't to give us a comprehensive understanding of every topic but a bit of exposure. The idea is that, once finished with Shimer, we will have the tools to explore any area we may choose. The bias against writings that are less than 100 years old assumes that we as students aren't capable of evaluating the theories for ourselves and I find that a bit insulting. Besides, age is no proof of validity. Look at Freud's theory of female development.


Upon graduating from Shimer, I ended up (perhaps oddly) in the business world. After my first year as controller of a fairly good sized company ($100 million annual revenue, $2 billion in assets), I refused to hire anyone in the accounting/finance department who had only accounting degrees. I hired people with English degrees, math degrees, even one with a dance degree. The reason was simple, and it had nothing to do with my visceral antipathy to narrowly "educated" people. I found that human beings could always be taught accounting, but accountants could not always be taught to be human beings.


Love your blog! Specially when you talk about books... I read a lot!!! :-)


Is there a way to determine what is true or false when an antique book is discovered regarding a print error on the Title Page? Have a First edition of a book by John Chalkhill,Esq published in 1683 by Izaac Walton. There was an error regarding friend's name. On some the name Edward Spencer is printed and on others Edmund Spencer is printer. What was first? That would determine if it was a first or second editon and its value. Where can I find the information to determine which name is correct? The name of the book is Thealma and Clearchus.

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