Tyler on Ben
By Arnold Kling
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.
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.