All of us over here at Lion & Ox just love liberal education.
We think that liberal education is for everybody.
We think that the object of every primary and secondary school and college should be to offer a liberal education.
We think that the time for specialization is after a liberal education has been acquired. Therefore specialization should happen in graduate school or medical school or law school or any other technical school, but not before one has tried his best to acquire a liberal education.
But you say,
“yes that is a very nice idea, but unfortunately we live in a world where one needs to think practically. Liberal education is very nice indeed, but we all know that the best way to live, pragmatically speaking, the real path to success is through choosing a career early and focusing on that career doggedly from at least junior year in high-school. And for musicians one has to focus on music from the time that one is three!”
Well both the Lion and the OX are here to tell you that this is a narrow minded self defeating idea. We are ashamed of you for even saying such a thing. It makes me blush.
And besides Mr. Laszlo Bock, who is in charge of all hiring at Google does not agree with you!
Here is what Laszlo said about getting a job at Google, (April 19 2014 interview in the New York Times )
My belief is … that among 18- to 22-year-olds — or people returning to school years later — most don’t put enough thought into why they’re going, and what they want to get out of it…It’s a huge investment of time, effort and money and people should think “incredibly hard about what they’re getting in return.”
…the first thing Google looks for “is general cognitive ability — the ability to learn things and solve problems...a knowledge set that will be invaluable is the ability to understand and apply information — so, basic computer science skills. I’m not saying you have to be some terrific coder, but to just understand how [these] things work you have to be able to think in a formal and logical and structured way. But that kind of thinking doesn’t have to come from a computer science degree. I took statistics at business school, and it was transformative for my career. Analytical training gives you a skill set that differentiates you from most people in the labor market.”
…Humans are by nature creative beings, but not by nature logical, structured-thinking beings. Those are skills you have to learn. One of the things that makes people more effective is if you can do both. … If you’re great on both attributes, you’ll have a lot more options. If you have just one, that’s fine, too.” But a lot fewer people have this kind of structured thought process and creativity.
When Bock was asked “Are the liberal arts still important?” he replied,
They are phenomenally important…especially when you combine them with other disciplines.