Arnold Kling  

Tyler on Ben

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Tyler Cowen praises Ben Casnocha in Tyler's New York Times column.


But why has America produced so many successful young entrepreneurs? Ben Casnocha, 19, author of the new book “My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young C.E.O. Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley,” offers clues.

...He had no formal education in marketing but, as a suburban American youth, he was exposed to intense commercial marketing every day. He decided to become an entrepreneur at the age of 12, he says, after being struck by the Apple “Think Different” ad. Critics contend that corporate selling and advertising are dumbing down America’s young. But marketing often motivates or instructs young people. In addition, it can teach them how to think about marketing messages more critically.


I imagine that the typical Times reader, sitting on the other side of the Great Tug-of-War, simply cannot grasp Tyler's argument that it is a good thing for bright young people to want to participate in the capitalist system rather than in government efforts to contain it.

Econlog readers will recall this post on Casnocha's book.

On his blog, Tyler notes


Ben will soon be attending Claremont McKenna college, I am curious to see whether or not it drives him crazy.

Reading Ben's book, I also wondered about this. I loved college for the unstructured time to explore the library, for the chance to study with bright professors, and for the opportunities to write as part of Swarthmore's Honors Seminar system. But I was very turned off by the cloistered, unworldly, academic atmosphere.

I remember the first day of my senior year, wearing a Lou Brock T-shirt, sitting in some welcome session at the Friends Meeting House hearing a Professor of Religion drone on and on about a curriculum reform that only he could care about. I had to struggle with myself to keep from jumping up and chanting "Lou! Lou! Lou!" to break the boredom.

I've had the same love-hate relationship with academia ever since.


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CATEGORIES: Business Economics



COMMENTS (3 to date)
Horatio writes:

As much as I hate commercials, they gave me an early education in BS detection that has served me well over the years.

James writes:

Arnold,

I had the exact same impression of college as you. I couldn't stand the lack of realism and worldly knowledge exhibited by most professors and a lot of students. Fortunately, I found the realism of my economics classes to be the perfect antidote to this.

Brad Hutchings writes:
I imagine that the typical Times reader, sitting on the other side of the Great Tug-of-War, simply cannot grasp Tyler's argument that it is a good thing for bright young people to want to participate in the capitalist system rather than in government efforts to contain it.

Wow. This reminds me of my first exposure to the concept of entrepreneur as a career. It was in 7th grade (1983), and one of the kids' Moms came in for career day and she was a self-described entrepreneur. Every other parent was a firefighter or a manager or a real estate agent or whatever. I can't even remember what her little business did. In career education class in high school (1985), we heard all about comparable worth and unions and Wall Street and regulatory agencies, but never about entrepreneurship. The next time I remember running into the concept was in college when I bumped into someone you featured in "Under the Radar".

It is amazing how things have changed in 25 years. Most kids know what an entrepreneur is. Many kids know one -- friend of parents, etc. That can only be great news for the next couple of decades.

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