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Opinion | What Straight-A Students Get Wrong - The New York Times
"A decade ago, at the end of my first semester teaching at Wharton, a student stopped by for office hours. He sat down and burst into tears. My mind started cycling through a list of events that could make a college junior cry: His girlfriend had dumped him; he had been accused of plagiarism. “I just got my first A-minus,” he said, his voice shaking.

Year after year, I watch in dismay as students obsess over getting straight A’s. Some sacrifice their health; a few have even tried to sue their school after falling short. All have joined the cult of perfectionism out of a conviction that top marks are a ticket to elite graduate schools and lucrative job offers.

I was one of them. I started college with the goal of graduating with a 4.0. It would be a reflection of my brainpower and willpower, revealing that I had the right stuff to succeed. But I was wrong.

The evidence is clear: Academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence. Across industries, research shows that the correlation between grades and job performance is modest in the first year after college and trivial within a handful of years. For example, at Google, once employees are two or three years out of college, their grades have no bearing on their performance. (Of course, it must be said that if you got D’s, you probably didn’t end up at Google.)

Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence. Yes, straight-A students master cramming information and regurgitating it on exams. But career success is rarely about finding the right solution to a problem — it’s more about finding the right problem to solve.

In a classic 1962 study, a team of psychologists tracked down America’s most creative architects and compared them with their technically skilled but less original peers. One of the factors that distinguished the creative architects was a record of spiky grades. “In college our creative architects earned about a B average,” Donald MacKinnon wrote. “In work and courses which caught their interest they could turn in an A performance, but in courses that failed to strike their imagination, they were quite willing to do no work at all.” They paid attention to their curiosity and prioritized activities that they found intrinsically motivating — which ultimately served them well in their careers.

Getting straight A’s requires conformity. Having an influential career demands originality. In a study of students who graduated at the top of their class, the education researcher Karen Arnold found that although they usually had successful careers, they rarely reached the upper echelons. “Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries,” Dr. Arnold explained. “They typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

This might explain why Steve Jobs finished high school with a 2.65 G.P.A., J.K. Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter with roughly a C average, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. got only one A in his four years at Morehouse.

If your goal is to graduate without a blemish on your transcript, you end up taking easier classes and staying within your comfort zone. If you’re willing to tolerate the occasional B, you can learn to program in Python while struggling to decipher “Finnegans Wake.” You gain experience coping with failures and setbacks, which builds resilience.

Straight-A students also miss out socially. More time studying in the library means less time to start lifelong friendships, join new clubs or volunteer. I know from experience. I didn’t meet my 4.0 goal; I graduated with a 3.78. (This is the first time I’ve shared my G.P.A. since applying to graduate school 16 years ago. Really, no one cares.) Looking back, I don’t wish my grades had been higher. If I could do it over again, I’d study less. The hours I wasted memorizing the inner workings of the eye would have been better spent trying out improv comedy and having more midnight conversations about the meaning of life.

So universities: Make it easier for students to take some intellectual risks. Graduate schools can be clear that they don’t care about the difference between a 3.7 and a 3.9. Colleges could just report letter grades without pluses and minuses, so that any G.P.A. above a 3.7 appears on transcripts as an A. It might also help to stop the madness of grade inflation, which creates an academic arms race that encourages too many students to strive for meaningless perfection. And why not let students wait until the end of the semester to declare a class pass-fail, instead of forcing them to decide in the first month?

Employers: Make it clear you value skills over straight A’s. Some recruiters are already on board: In a 2003 study of over 500 job postings, nearly 15 percent of recruiters actively selected against students with high G.P.A.s (perhaps questioning their priorities and life skills), while more than 40 percent put no weight on grades in initial screening.

Straight-A students: Recognize that underachieving in school can prepare you to overachieve in life. So maybe it’s time to apply your grit to a new goal — getting at least one B before you graduate."
education  grades  grading  colleges  universities  academia  2018  adamgrant  psychology  gpa  assessment  criticalthinking  anxiety  stress  learning  howwelearn  motivation  gradschool  jkrowling  stevejobs  martinlutherkingjr  perfectionism  srg  edg  mlk 
december 2018 by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 67. Carl Abrahamsson & Mitch Horowitz in “Occulture (Meta)” // Anton LaVey, Real Magic & the Nature of the Mind
"Look, I’m not gonna lie to you - we have a pretty badass show this time around. Carl Abrahamsson and Mitch Horowitz are in the house.

Carl Abrahamsson is a Swedish freelance writer, lecturer, filmmaker and photographer specializing in material about the arts & entertainment, esoteric history and occulture. Carl is the author of several books, including a forthcoming title from Inner Traditions called Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward.

Mitch Horowitz is the author of One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life; Occult America, which received the 2010 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence; and Mind As Builder: The Positive-Mind Metaphysics of Edgar Cayce. Mitch has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Salon, Time.com, and Politico. Mitch is currently in the midst of publishing a series of articles on Medium called "Real Magic".

And it is that series paired with Carl’s book that lays the foundation for our conversation here."
carlabrahamsson  mitchhorowitz  occult  culture  occulture  magic  belief  mind  ouijaboard  astrology  mindfulness  buddhism  religion  academia  antonlavey  materialism  mainstream  intellectualism  elitism  mindbodyspirit  2018  esotericism  authority  norms  nuance  change  enlightenment  popculture  science  humanities  socialsciences  medicine  conservatism  churches  newage  cosmology  migration  california  hippies  meaning  psychology  siliconvalley  ingenuity  human  humans  humannature  spirituality  openmindedness  nature  urbanization  urban  nyc  us  society  santería  vodou  voodoo  voudoun  climate  light  davidlynch  innovation  population  environment  meaningmaking  mikenesmith  californianideology  thought  thinking  philosophy  hoodoo  blackmetal  norway  beauty  survival  wholeperson  churchofsatan  satanism  agency  ambition  mysticism  self  stories  storytelling  mythology  humanism  beinghuman  surrealism  cv  repetition  radicalism  myths  history  renaissance  fiction  fantasy  reenchantment  counterculture  consciousness  highered  highereducation  cynicism  inquiry  realitytele 
february 2018 by robertogreco
NINE WORLDS GEEKFEST
"As magic is easily seen as an allegory for money - magic means prestige, social capital, access to an entire *literal* world, as well as transport, enjoyment, learning - the use of the the same room in the Ministry of Magic as the setting for muggle-born hearings in OoTP clearly correlates to the hearings and judgments and approvals for benefits (the receipt of which often made the difference between ones’ ability to continue to be a part of society) in Muggle Britain. 

TL;DR - Voldemorts’ rise, and the accompanying social conservatism in the wizarding world - class hatred, allusions to racism, recession, a small but powerful government - actually tallies really well with what actually happened in Muggle Britain in the nineties."
jkrowling  uk  1990s  britain  class  economics  politics  via:tealtan  harrypotter  2015 
january 2015 by robertogreco
NINE WORLDS GEEKFEST
"Question: i was wondering if you had any thoughts on the hogwarts houses/ the way jk rowling wrote them?

Answer: apriki: lmao literally HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE, ANON



And this is something that happens in schools, workplaces, social groups all across the world. Stereotypes and assumptions based on choice of friends or being a member of a group are universal problems that have affected almost everyone at one point or another. And if you’re going to create a social stratification system in your society and write SEVEN BOOKS about a teenager attempting to navigate through them, you’d think you could take the time to deconstruct this phenomenon, or detail how it affects the hero or any of the characters, or at least even mention how messed up it is, right?

But jkr does not do this. Bar Dumbledore’s pondering on ‘perhaps we sort too early’ (which he says, by the by, to twist the knife into Snape a little deeper and thus make him easier to manipulate, so), the negative connotations and medieval nature of house sorting is rarely ever touched upon. There are no main, non villanous Slytherin characters. There are no main Hufflepuff characters. There are no main Ravenclaw characters - bar Luna, who becomes a part of Harry’s friend group because she is ostracised from her own house and peer group. There are seven Weasley children and every single one is sorted into Gryffindor - is this realistic? Are they choosing Gryffindor because they don’t want to feel isolated from their own families? Ron and Draco both grew up in the wizarding world and their concepts of the houses are already very much formed before they even get to Hogwarts. It’s a self-fufilling prophecy and it’s been happening in this society for A THOUSAND YEARS."
via:tealtan  2015  harrypotter  prophecy  sterotypes  class  socialsystems  jkrowling 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Kenneth Goldsmith - Talks | Frieze Projects NY
[Direct link to .mp3: http://friezeprojectsny.org/uploads/files/talks/Kenneth_Goldsmith.mp3 ]

"‘I Look to Theory Only When I Realize That Somebody Has Dedicated Their Entire Life to a Question I Have Only Fleetingly Considered’

A keynote lecture by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, whose writing has been described as ‘some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry’ (Publishers Weekly). Goldsmith is the author of eleven books of poetry and founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb. In 2013, he was named as the inaugural Poet Laureate of MoMA."
kennethgoldsmith  copying  uncreativewriting  mercecunningham  writing  internet  web  online  remixing  culture  art  poetry  originality  appropriation  quantity  quality  curiosity  harrypotter  poetics  digital  reproduction  translation  displacement  disjunction  corydoctorow  change  howwewrite  pointing  data  metadata  choice  authorship  versioning  misfiling  language  difference  meaning  ethics  morality  literature  twitter  artworld  marshallmcluhan  christianbök  plagiarism  charleseames  rules  notknowing  archiving  improvisation  text  bricolage  assemblage  cv  painting  technology  photography  readerships  thinkerships  thoughtobjects  reassembly  ubuweb  freeculture  moma  outreach  communityoutreach  nyc  copyright  ip  intellectualproperty  ideas  information  sfpc  vitoacconci  audience  accessibility  situationist  museums  markets  criticism  artcriticism  economics  money  browsers  citation  sampling  jonathanfranzen  internetasliterature  getrudestein  internetasfavoritebook  namjunepaik  johncage  misbehaving  andywarhol  bobdylan  barbarakruger  jkrowling  china  creati 
august 2014 by robertogreco
In praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger series
"And there we have it: The defining hero of our age is a girl who saves the day with her egalitarianism, love of learning, hard work, and refusal to give way to peer pressure. It’s hard to think of the Hermione Granger series as anything other than flawless. And yet — as fans constantly point out — there is a very big flaw in the series. You know who I’m talking about; it’s He Who Must Not Be Named, but we spell it H-A-R-R-Y.<br />
<br />
The character of Harry Potter is an obnoxious error in the Hermione Granger universe, made more obnoxious by his constant presence. It’s tempting to just write Harry off as a love interest who didn’t quite work out; the popular-yet-brooding jock is hardly an unfamiliar type. And, given that Hermione is constantly having to rescue Harry, he does come across as a sort of male damsel-in-distress.<br />
<br />
But, if we look closely, we can see that Harry is a parody of every cliche Rowling avoided with Hermione…"
feminism  satire  literature  harrypotter  jkrowling  hermionegranger 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Robin writes a book (and you get a copy) » Going full-time with a sack full of gold coins — Kickstarter
"tip articulated by writing coach Don Fry...Roy [Peter Clark] says it like this: "Place gold coins along the path. Don't load all your best stuff high in the story. Space special effects throughout the story, encouraging readers to find them and be delighted by them."...look at Harry Potter books...J.K. Rowling is, like, world's leading manufacturer of gold coins. Every one of her pages has some weird detail, some delightful aside about a fire-breathing candy bar or a painting that talks. They're not central to the narrative, but they provide pops & flashes of novelty that keep you reading. They're addictive, like potato chips...I'm a big believer in their power...think they might do more to keep people reading than the narrative itself. At the very least, gold coins are an equal partner...do [they] all have to be words? Could some of them be images, photos, scraps from this fictional world? I think of the sketch of Mr. Tyndall in Mr. Penumbra; it seems like it worked really well."
writing  goldcoins  attention  jkrowling  harrypotter  robinsloan  howto  tips  narrative 
october 2009 by robertogreco
J.K. Rowling Commencement : Harvard Magazine - "Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not...
"...and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared."
jkrowling  failure  risk  empathy  blogosphere  human  innovation  gamechanging  invention  inspiration  education  learning  activism  success  poverty  harvard  harrypotter  philosophy  classics  society  relationships  psychology  wisdom  imagination  creativity  identity  life  motivation  commencementspeeches  commencementaddresses 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Transcript and video of JK Rowling's Harvard commencement address, The... (kottke.org)
"Imagination as Rowling perceives it is essential in telling other people's stories and is sorely missing in the media today. And the blogosphere can almost be defined by its lack of empathy."
kottke  imagination  jkrowling  empathy  blogosphere  human  innovation  gamechanging  invention  commencementspeeches  commencementaddresses 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Video - J K Rowling speaking at Harvard Commencement. [video and transcript: http://harvardmagazine.com/go/jkrowling.html]
"In this powerful, moving, yet also funny speech Jo talks about her time working for Amnesty International, her personal experiences with failure and the power of the imagination to allow us to empathize with others."
jkrowling  motivation  speech  failure  risk  success  imagination  creativity  life  video  harvard  commencementspeeches  commencementaddresses 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Photo Essay: Unlikely Places Where 'Wired' Pioneers Had Their Eureka! Moments
"irony is almost always have pen & paper; I write all time...on this occasion when I had idea of my life, I didn't have pen. For 4 hours my head was buzzing...probably the best thing, because I ended up working whole thing out before I got off train."
writing  inspiration  invention  creativity  place  thinking  ideas  circumstance  postits  napster  richardfeynman  music  harrypotter  jkrowling  post-its 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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