Author: Hunter Maats

#NISIS: Because you don’t bring a book list to a meme war

“Alexander Hamilton is one of American history’s most luminous figures…Yet in 1804 this brilliant man did something that by today’s standards was astonishingly stupid.” – Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature As fans of the hit musical Hamilton know that astonishingly stupid thing was that Alexander Hamilton engaged in a duel with Aaron Burr. As Pinker points out, the source of Hamilton’s stupidity was that he obeyed old cultural intuitions in the face of radically changed technology. Dueling to first blood with a fencing foil is one thing. Dueling to first blood with a giant musket ball...

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Staring at a Single Data Point: If You Want to Solve Problems At Home, Look at Your Neighbors’ Problems

Over the last thirteen years, I’ve tutored A LOT of kids and one of the most important things that it has taught me is that you can’t make sense of the world by staring at a single data point. And yet, that is exactly what most parents do because that’s how this culture has taught them to behave. Your kids are your responsibility and anybody else’s kids are none of your business. The result is that most parents have no clue what is really going on with other kids. I do. I get to see lots and lots of...

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The Attention Economy: What Do We Do About People Who Sell Attentional Crack?

In the age of social media, it has become fashionable to talk about The Attention Economy. Everyone is competing for eye balls. Nowhere is this competition more clear than to someone who spends their time educating children. Little kids are helpless. They don’t know that red means stop and green means go. They don’t know what they can eat and what they can’t. They don’t understand that one day they will be responsible for paying their own bills and that they’d better have marketable skills to make money with. And they certainly don’t understand that advertisers constantly hijack their...

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Learn, Unlearn, Relearn: Is it Time to Change Your Tune?

A few weeks ago, I was at a program from what we often call troubled teens. As I browsed the library of books available for the kids to read, I spotted a copy of The Tao of Pooh. I like Winnie the Pooh. I wanted to know more about Taoism. It’s a great title and so I picked it up and started reading it. [mbm_book_grid id=’9365′] In there, I found a fantastic analogy for how to think about emotions. Each emotion is like the key of a piano. They all serve a function. The challenge is playing each one...

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Unlearn: There is no distinction between entertainment and education

Twelve years ago, I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I’d just read Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning on an elliptical machine at 24 Hour Fitness and it really struck a chord. In high school, I’d DESPERATELY wanted to go to Harvard. That had helped focus, structure and organize my life for me. Harvard inspired me when I didn’t want to study. Harvard pushed me to do higher quality work. Harvard got me to do extra-curricular activities that I probably would have avoided otherwise. Harvard did all that for me BEFORE I even...

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