Yana, who is fourteen, was complaining last night about her math homework, and about calculus in particular. Without much thinking, I responded that if you could only learn five things from schooling, calculus should be one of them. First came an “Ugh.” Then came a question:
“What are the other four?”
Without much thinking, here was my list, in no particular order:
5. The Bible
Another Ugh, directed mostly at the first three items. Writing would have been a natural sixth pick, and would not have drawn an ugh either.
Addendum: I’ve already received several emails asking why I chose the Bible rather than microeconomics. I didn’t mean anything sectarian in my choice of the Bible, rather it is a critical foundation of Western civilization and of Western literature. Plato would be next in line. As for microeconomics, knowing it brings huge social benefits but the private benefits are less clear. I love life as an economist, but it is not for everyone.