Monthly Archives: February 2012

Links I liked…

Some more links I liked…
  • Creating a More Equal and Productive Britain” – A lecture by Professor James Heckman. ‘There is hard evidence on soft skills’. Based on a big research project titled “Personality, Psychology and Economics
  • Rethinking School – a Harvard Business Review article about American K-12 education. Explains the importance of good teachers and how Americans should use new technologies and teaching methods in their classrooms. Still wondering about the links with SA and whether technology can be used to leapfrog educational development steps in South Africa – if only…
  • Why is research higher status than teaching? An interesting article by a Canadian economist. The one quip I really liked was the following on peer review:

 “Some might say this is the best way to measure research productivity. After all, how can we, as outsiders, judge the rigor and relevance of research outside our own specialized discipline? Peer review is the sine qua non, the best and only test of research excellence. I have some sympathy for this view – although it must be confessed that, sometimes, peers are idiots.

And in other news…

Interesting education articles in the news…

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it — but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

 From Henry Miller on Writing, his 11 commandments:

Creative destruction?

“In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed – they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and  the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce…? The cuckoo clock.”

-Orson Welles

Makes you think…

Brilliant zoomable infographic – how big is the universe?

Click the picture and click “Start”

From here

How economists say I love you…


from here


Ogilvy on writing well…


Via Chris Blattman

Advice from David Ogilvy, the advertising executive and inspiration for the “Mad Men” of TV fame.

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.

Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6. Check your quotations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.


From Letters of Note, via Brain Pickings.

I have not read the Roman-Raphaelson book, but it has just been downloaded to the Kindle.

Here are the books I recommend to my students on writing.

I also have advice on how to write an essay.

SA Budget infographic (Brilliant!)

From here