The top 1,000 things

December 15th, 2004 6:12 PM

Seth Godin starts a list of things “every third grader ought to start learning” in “The top 1,000 things to know”. The top five are:

  1. How to type.
  2. How to speak in front of a group.
  3. How to write clear prose that other people actually want to read.
  4. How to manage a project.
  5. The most important lessons from American history.

I’d add:

  1. Basics of programming and computer architecture.
  2. Conversational skill in any foreign language. Preferably several, perhaps chosen from both Eastern and Western languages. (As opposed to Seth’s list which singles out Spanish.)
  3. How to play an instrument.


I’d also add

“How to raise the dead to create an army of mindless zombies”

but then again…I’m a bit crazy…

Posted by: Matt on December 16th, 2004 6:45 AM

I just read Seth’s list, and its totally wacked. For so many reasons. Teach kids formal logic? That’s like saying we should teach them math. Does he mean they should learn the introduction and elimination rules for the connecter “and” (which they already know, even if they could not articulate them), or that they should be conversant in S5 (you would have to be a sadist for that)? What the world’s religions have in common? That they are religions, and that’s analytic. But I’m down with basic chemistry. We need more chemists in the world. Or at least I do.

As for playing an instrument, I only wish you were there to hear me try and play the recorder in grade school.

P.S. Thanks for the cds. No doubt is making Prior not quite so painful. Have fun at home dude.

Posted by: Simon on December 20th, 2004 2:10 AM

I can’t say i totally agree with either his order or his chosen subjects. Especially the fact that #19 is “pick an art form”. It seems to me that along with the smattering of intermediate and advanced mathmatics, children should learn a smattering of art forms. i understand that beginning to master all of the arts is a little much to ask any 3rd grader, but still, the idea that these all fall under “art” and therefore can be lumped together as one thing to know seems a little biased to me. and i’m less sure about the gap between #5 American History and #16 Any other Country’s History. i’d think they should be a little closer together, especially considering how america-centric most american people see world history. i just think that maybe that shouldn’t be purpetuated when most of our children are too young to drop out.

i like you’re additions, greg. maybe we’d need less tech support that way. altho, it may increase our dependence on technology. which will only make the eventual robot take over that much easier.

Posted by: shuli on December 20th, 2004 10:54 AM

Simon: I wouldn’t dismiss the importance of being able to articulate logical operations. Having helped students in introductory programming courses (and now having tutored it, as well!), I can tell you I’m shocked at how poorly most people are at articulating logical expressions.

Shuli: I’m not sure the list was meant to be ordered. Perhaps it was. As for being biased with respect to “art,” I think the point is that everyone should at least try things that require creativity (although the juggling option seems out of place here).

Posted by: kasei on December 27th, 2004 3:39 AM