Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tyler Cowen’s Advice For Young People

young_people Tyler’s advice for college age people about the next 5 to 10 years regarding debt, investing, jobs, etc.

[A] long time ago I told Yana to take calculus and statistics; even if she hates them she'll know what side of that divide she stands on.  I am encouraging of learning languages, driving modest Japanese cars, and ordering the most unappealing-sounding dish on the menu of a good restaurant.  On investing it's buy and hold all the way.  Use TimeOut guides when you travel and when you are eating in third world countries avoid walls.  I'm not a big fan of debt; debt is worth it only if you're earnings-obsessed and I don't recommend that for most people.  Don't expect to be too happy, that is counterproductive.  I've mentioned that future job descriptions may be quite fluid and unpredictable from today's vantage point.  Being "good with people," combined with smarts and a focus on execution, will never wear out. 

Good advice, although I tend to use Lonely Planet guides in my travels.  I’d add that you should diversify your investments, plan for uncertainty, develop portable skills, read and travel as broadly as possible, and don’t hold too tightly to life’s plans.  Be open to new friendships, be careful with your finances, and do what you can to cultivate a sense of gratitude and generosity.  Pursue things that interest you as much as you can – both professionally and personally.  Foster your religious beliefs and be humble when dealing with those who hold different perspectives from you.  Take risks when the potential rewards are great.  Learn to forgive.  Smile.  Travel light.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Good advice Brian.

Since you're on the topic, I thought I'd share something that my favorite undergrad prof said on the last day of class:

"Continue working hard and balancing every day. Find your passion. Don't be afraid to fail. Give something back. Pass something on. Get in touch with somebody from your past. Attain peace of mind by doing whatever you possibly can to reach your potential. Compete against yourself. Live each day to the fullest. Get the most from each hour, each day, and each age of your life. Then you can look forward with confidence, and back without regrets. Be yourself - but be your best self. Dare to be different and follow your own star. Don't be afraid to be happy. Enjoy what is beautiful. Love with all your heart and soul. Believe that those you love, love you. Forget what you have done for your friends, and remember what they have done for you. Disregard what the world owes you, and concentrate on what you owe the world. When faced with a decision, make that decision as wisely as possible - then forget it. The moment of absolute certainty never arrives. Above all, remember that God helps those who help themselves. Act as if everything depended upon you, and pray as if everything depended on God."