Bryan Caplan  

The Time Capsule from 1983

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Here's Tyler:

I ask Bryan: would he still take the advice that his 12-year-old self might have taped to a door?
My answer: Definitely, especially if my time capsule from 1983 contained advice about how to treat kids. You can say "hindsight bias" all you like, but many of the life lessons I've accumulated pre-date my 12th birthday.

One of my all-time favorites: "Do not direct anger at others; lashing out is at best a short-sighted strategy that makes enemies and discourages honest feedback." Another: "Don't talk to people about things that don't interest them." Still another: "Dare to be different." 25 years later, this is all still good advice.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
David R. Henderson writes:

Here, here.

David

Tyler Cowen writes:

I am talking about the claims of the 12 year old Bryan Caplan that the current BC *wouldn't agree with*.

Beth writes:

It's like that somewhat cheesy poem 'Everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarden' - despite it's cheesiness, it's pretty true. I might go and google this poem now and come back and post it.

But I also think my 12 year old self might have benefited from a time capsule from the future. The main message I wish I had received from my future self was 'You'll get through the teenage years intact' and 'Don't believe the words of bullies;

Beth writes:

Ok - here it is from a book by Robert Fulghum All I really need to know about how to live and what to do I learned in Kindergarden:

"I realized then that I already know most of what's necessary to live a meaningful life - that it isn't all that complicated. I know it. And have known it for a long, long time. Living it - well, that's another matter, yes? Here's my Credo:
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
and then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it's still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

yeah, kinda cheesy but so true!

Mason writes:

I was just going to make the same point Tyler did, so consider that seconded.

Now let's bet.

Go to Mason's child development center and seek advice (from the kids!).

I'm sure you were a brilliant child but I'd guess that the wisdom of the crowds would kick in to more than equal the advice you would have left.

If your wife-reports that you are following more than 1/4 of the new advice (advice that you didn't already pass on to yourself, which will need to be identified) for more than 3 months, I'll pay $20. I've read your comments regarding confident people not offering odds, so I'll just try and shame you into it. Also if you'd prefer a different pool of kids that's fine.

One has to wonder though, if you thought you could gain valuable information by asking kids for it, wouldn't you have done so already, just to be a better parent/person, and not for the $20.

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