Links: Writers, academia, thinking about thinking, and more!

* Similarities between programming and writing.

* “Why William Deresiewicz Left Academia (Since You’re Wondering).” He was pushed out, as he says; the whole essay is highly quotable, but I’ll note that Deresiewicz “went [to grad school], in other words, because I wanted to read books: because I loved books; because I lived my deepest life in books; because art, particularly literary art, meant everything to me.” But he found there that “Loving books is not why people are supposed to become English professors, and it hasn’t been for a long time. Loving books is scoffed at (or would be, if anybody ever copped to it).” This may seem curious, but the way the humanities professoriate has evolved is curious. Deresiewicz says that “what disgusted me the most was not the intellectual corruption. It was the careerism.” The overall essay is consistent with my own writing in “What you should know BEFORE you start grad school / PhD programs in English Literature: The economic, financial, and opportunity costs.”

* The midwit trap, which doesn’t do the essay justice; it concerns the way simple solutions often outperform complex ones, and the challenges of understanding both problem and solution spaces, among other things.

* “Nonprofit boards of directors usually exist to be controlled by the organization’s executive director“—something most people don’t realize but more people should.

* “Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read,” using phonics and direct instruction, which are old, effective, and yet disdained by many people in the education-industrial complex. That we’ve not seen stronger efforts to reform the education of educators seems odd to me.

* Tight versus loose cultures.

* “Why Are American Teenagers So Sad and Anxious?

* Argument for re-building higher education.

* “You can’t afford to be an artist and/or author, let alone be respected.” Not exactly my view, but of interest.

* On Philip K. Dick. I think Dick understood best that many if not most people don’t want to be free.

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