Kids: don’t achieve says Freak

book-TLaFI’ve commented before on how economists have contributed so much to education, especially on class size. In this interview in the Financial Times, author of the Freakonomics series of books, Steven Levitt says passion and curiosity are two qualities he hopes to instil in his children, who range in age from 10 to 14.

“A lot of parents emphasise achievement, but I think that’s the wrong approach. Almost every kid knows how to read and do math, but when I look at my students, what separates the truly exceptional ones is a combination of creativity and excitement for life,” he says. “Very early on I made my goal not to have my kids be really good readers or really good at math but instead to try to instil in them this idea of thinking and excitement of pursuing what they love.”

At university he says,
“I was forced for the first time to think a little bit and to make a real choice: I’m going to follow the topics, projects and problems that I love and not worry about whether anyone else likes them.”

This is what Steve Jobs did at uni – he attended the lectures he was interested in, not the ones that were on the schedule for his chosen degree. It paid off… Otherwise it’s like the suckers who spend their lives doing jobs for the sake of the wage at the end of the week, do the job you like, don’t do it for the money alone, then work isn’t like work.

This liberated Levitt to pursue the edges of life that fascinated him.

Interview in the FT.com with Steven Levitt, author of the Freakonomics books and the new Think Like a Freak.

Visit the Freakonomics website here

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