Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is the Study of History Useless?

With all the emphasis in higher education nowadays on "practical skills", "value added" courses, and so on, it is worthwhile remembering some basic truths. Here is one that crossed my desk from Brian Hamilton, CEO and Co-founder of Sageworks, a financial analysis firm:

"In preparation for a career in business, or for life generally, I can think of no more suitable academic major than history. History is the study of people, what they do, and why they do it: the perspective that's necessary for future success."
That's clear, simple, and to the point. In these ways, it reminds me of the statement by Edward Shils, distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago, that the task of the university is "the discovery and teaching of truths about serious and important things."

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