February 8, 2019

"From elementary school through college, girls are more disciplined about their schoolwork than boys; they study harder and get better grades."

"Girls consistently outperform boys academically. And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies. What if those same habits that propel girls to the top of their class — their hyper-conscientiousness about schoolwork — also hold them back in the work force?... So how do we get hyper-conscientious girls (and boys, as there certainly are some with the same style) to build both confidence and competence at school?... Th[e] experience — of succeeding in school while exerting minimal or moderate effort — is a potentially crucial one. It may help our sons develop confidence, as they see how much they can accomplish simply by counting on their wits. For them, school serves as a test track, where they build their belief in their abilities and grow increasingly at ease relying on them. Our daughters, on the other hand, may miss the chance to gain confidence in their abilities if they always count on intellectual elbow grease alone."

From "Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them at the Office/Hard work and discipline help girls outperform boys in class, but that advantage disappears in the work force. Is school the problem?" by the clinical psychologist Lisa Lamour. That's at the NYT, where the highly rated comments are very resistant and want to talk about sex discrimination in the workplace and the demands of childcare.

I'm interested in this subject of the downside of conscientiousness. My tag for it is "scrupulosity."

258 comments:

1 – 200 of 258   Newer›   Newest»
David Begley said...

News flash to the NYT. Successfully run a large business (or any business at all) is not correlated to graduating with honors from an Ivy League school. Different skill set.

“No one hands it to you. You have to take it.” Jack Nicholson in “The Departed.”

More intersectionality stupidity.

tim maguire said...

I want to be surprised that NYT readers are focused on bias and discrimination, but I'm not. I'm surprised the Times printed a different opinion.

There is an underlying assumption that getting good grades should, without reference to other factors, predict success in the marketplace. There's not a lot of evidence for that and there never has been. There is more evidence for the cynical proposition that everything that high school teaches you is important becomes meaningless the moment you walk down the aisle and accept your diploma.

jaydub said...

Jordan Peterson has debunked this claim about women being discriminated against in the work place. The following you tube video covers has arguments. You should watch it if you haven't already.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcjxSThD54

rehajm said...

What if those same habits that propel girls to the top of their class — their hyper-conscientiousness about schoolwork — also hold them back in the work force?

1- An educational system that caters exclusively to the wants and needs of girls often at the expense of boys and 2- The choices and decisions women make once they enter the work force.


rhhardin said...

Girls are into social stuff - behaving in class - and boys in technical stuff; the former likes adding complexity and the latter likes abstraction from complexity.

Abstraction wins in workplace leadership.

rhhardin said...

I know of no girls who secretly read the Radio Amateur's License Manual in English class. Bad for English grades.

Shouting Thomas said...

My daughter was one of those scrupulous students. She's done very well. She's a school teacher approaching tenure, making good money.

My son-in-law hated school and came close to dropping out. He never attended college.

He's making twice what my daughter is making, and for good reason. He spent his childhood taking things apart and putting them back together when he was a kid, and now he's a master craftsman in half a dozen trades. He knows every skill needed to build a house from the ground up, how to maintain cars and heavy equipment.

He now works for one of the major commuter lines as an electrician. His job is both very skilled and very physically demanding. He works outdoors in cold NE winters.

The disparity in income seems fair to me.

MikeR said...

"Girls consistently outperform boys academically. And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies." Odd that someone thinks these two facts are contradictory. Do they really think that performing well academically is the same skill set as needed to hold a top position at a large company?

rhhardin said...

I heard an actual boss complaint in the 60s that the (technical) girls get good grades (in school and company training courses) but don't know how to do anything.

Laslo Spatula said...

"It may help our sons develop confidence, as they see how much they can accomplish simply by counting on their wits."

Women often work to tests.

Men often work to achievement.

The ones doing the scoring are different for each focus.

Working to test leads best to bureaucracy and teaching.

Working to achievement leads best to business and engineering.

When you find you have spent your life trying to please the wrong judges a certain sadness may set in.

This sadness is best tamped down by alcohol or feminism, depending.

I am Laslo.

tim in vermont said...

Look at baseball. Girls are famously more coachable than boys. But once the play reaches a certain level, well, lot’s of coaches have had the sad experience of having to cut a player who did everything they asked of him to the best of their ability.

Shouting Thomas said...

The current to do over women in tech is instructive, too.

We're told constantly that women need support and mentoring.

I got into computers in the early 70s because I had kids and needed a job. I had no training or education in computers. Small companies would hand me the manual to their PC, and ask me to take it home to read it. Then, I would go to their office the next day and try to hack it.

Some failures. Some successes. In a period of 3-5 years, my skills advanced to the level where I had half a dozen big money corporate clients. It was only at this point that I began to focus on formal education in computer science and programming.

There were zero (0) women around during these early years of the PC era. What prevented them from doing what I did? I think it was the very notion that people should have support and mentoring to develop their skills. Women are too reliant on school and on a supportive social structure.

buwaya said...

I have often seen the difference in mixed teams, formal and ad-hoc. The women, even if technically trained, tend to migrate to documentation and procedural matters like audits and compliance. The nut of the problem, the troubleshooting and the, well, figuring out, is male through and through.

AllenS said...

Being "book smart" can only take you so far.

traditionalguy said...

Girls do what is expected of them in school and teachers reward that in the grades given. Boys are risk takers and show offs that run circles around the system. In the real world of competitive business those boys are the most valued. Robots can do what the girls are diligently doing.

tim in vermont said...

Women migrate away from the work in mathematical abstraction that is coding to project management, and management in general. Managers do plenty of math, but they don’t create new math. That’s my experience. Though I knew two decent (a high complement) women coders. The problem is when they try to make the number of women coders 50%.

My name goes here. said...

Much like the people that have substituted morality with legality, the Left (and this includes many many self identified Republicans) have, in their minds, replaced many of the pillars of success for people with success in school.

Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind
Obedient
Cheerful
Thirfty
Brave
Clean
Reverant

It used to be that these traits were viewed nearly universally as hallmarks of a successful person.

Now, in the overwhelming culture, good grades, or a degree gets to be used as a replacement for these traits. And among certain circles, a degree from the right place (Harvard, Yale, MIT, West Point) will replace all of them.

In short shool, and doing well at it, is not a proxy for what makes you a successful person.

BamaBadgOR said...

Not only is school different than life and the business world, succeeding at school in many cases reinforces behaviors which hurt in life and the business world. My guess is mostly women think school is relevant and helpful, while men feel otherwise.

tim maguire said...

rehajm said...1- An educational system that caters exclusively to the wants and needs of girls often at the expense of boys

Good point--if we're going down the discrimination road, then we must recognize that this set of facts argues for anti-male discrimination in schools just as much as anti-female discrimination in the workplace.

tim in vermont said...

Good point--if we're going down the discrimination road, then we must recognize that this set of facts argues for anti-male discrimination in schools just as much as anti-female discrimination in the workplace.

If it weren’t for the Althouse Rule of interpretation of any study on sex differences, you mean.

Jeff Weimer said...

What was the old saw?

"A students work for C students?"

Sebastian said...

"Is school the problem?"

Compared to what? Might boys and girls come to school with different, gasp, innate differences in aptitudes?

Let's run an experiment randomly allocating boys and girls to different treatments.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Th[e] experience — of succeeding in school while exerting minimal or moderate effort — is a potentially crucial one. It may help our sons develop confidence, as they see how much they can accomplish simply by counting on their wits.

Maybe girls, in general, do see how much they can accomplish simply by counting on their wits. That is why they learn they must depend on discipline if they want to succeed.

Note that my daughter is doing quite well in tech. She has both the discipline and the wits.

Charlie Currie said...

All you have to do is look at the real estate industry and all its ancillary businesses to see that the narrative that girls/women can't succeed in business narrative is bullshit.

Put a fat commission on the table and see who works for it. And, who will cut your throat to get it.

Leland said...

Th[e] experience — of succeeding in school while exerting minimal or moderate effort — is a potentially crucial one.

Reminds me when my daughters were eight and played in a coed non-scoring soccer program. The ideas were the same, allow kids to build confidence by playing a sport but not fail. As a parent and coach, I was conscientious. Fortunately, so were the other parents with children on my team. We scrimmaged our kids and taught them to play the sport properly. That is, we taught them skills and techniques that would help them succeed.

We played the league games, and we followed the rules and didn't keep score. But the children on the other teams knew they were getting beat. You can't hide real talent, and you really can't hide lack of preparation. My players definitely felt confident.

After one season, we moved to competitive sports.

tim in vermont said...

BTW, I never had any discipline whatsoever in my working life. Still I managed to keep getting promoted, and ended up in a play for pay gig in which all that was really expected of me was to occasionally come up with an idea that we could sell that would keep the rest of the team busy and the money coming in, which I would have done for free because I liked thinking about the problem space we focused on. I don’t know how you teach that in school.

Kevin said...

That's at the NYT, where the highly rated comments are very resistant and want to talk about sex discrimination in the workplace and the demands of childcare.

It’s much easier to explain phenomena when all the correct answers end in -ism, -phobia, or privilege.

stevew said...

"Girls consistently outperform boys academically. And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies."

And yet this girl that wrote the article can't see that the two things she juxtaposes - academic performance and large company leadership - are not related, despite her stellar academic credentials.

Ralph L said...

Shoot the girls up with testosterone.
They'll get ahead if they don't spend too much time shaving everything.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

The implication is that the current situation is a problem.
A problem for whom?
The girls/women?
The boys/men?
Society as a whole?
I did pretty well in school and real well in real life. Girls and women did better than me and worse than me. I did not see any of this as a problem. I'm sure it's a problem for some who need problems.

Rosa Marie Yoder said...

I believe that team sports develop attributes that serve one well throughout life, something that most boys participate in while most girls (still) do not.

daskol said...

Scrupulosity is actually a disorder, often religious in nature. Excessive, debilitating guilt around moral issues. Example: a child I know of spent many months crying herself to sleep, only to reveal that the reason was that earlier in the school year, she'd lied to her parents about consuming her lunch. In fact, she'd been throwing parts of it away, a practice long since ceased, but the guilt was still overwhelming.

mccullough said...

Asians have the problem even worse. Natural born followers.

Tony said...

Mark Shields many years ago talked about how the smart and lazy make better leaders than the smart and conscientious according to the "von Molte grid."

Washington and the Von Moltke Grid

Fernandistein said...

I'm surprised the Times printed a different opinion.

They didn't. They claim, as usual, that the comparatively poor performance of women is not the fault of women, it's the fault of some outside forces; they just added "schools" to the standard feminista nonsense:

Article: "To be sure, the [school-caused] confidence gap is hardly the only thing keeping women out of top jobs. Women also face gender bias, sexual harassment and powerful structural barriers in the workplace."

MikeR: Do they really think that performing well academically is the same skill set as needed to hold a top position at a large company?

The article also compares population averages - grades for all students - with CEOs of big companies, who are probably considerably < 1% of the population. Kinda bogus, eh?

The blank-slatist authorette ignored two factors to insure that fault must not be found in women themselves: men's higher standard deviation in almost all characteristics; men's 3-5 point higher average IQ for adults (not students).

Fernandistein said...

"Is school the problem?"

Boys and girls generally go to exactly the same schools, so no, schools are not the problem.

Iowan2 said...

My son was in the top five in his graduating engineering class. He has no desire to take mgmt promotions. Another engineering graduate has had several promotions and moving toward the executive floor. Not sure why success is measured by rank in the company. If I had to guess, each measured his skills against his peers and decided where their future lied.

Gabriel said...

School performance is fundamentally about compliance. Succeding in the marketplace is not about compliance.

1) So many people are good at something, and decide they want to go into business doing that thing. Tying flies or baking cupcakes or making furniture or whatever. And they go out of business.

Because doing something well, and making money at doing something, are entirely different enterprises. If you are good at doing something, generally you got that way by making that thing your highest priority. You make money by making profit your highest priority.

2) The people who tend to perform best at something are those people with a passion for it, who think about it morning noon and night, and those people are not the same people who got a degree in it.

For example, anyone who's middling bright can get a degree in computer science and be a programmer. The good programmers, though, are the people who progam computers for hours every day because they like doing it. Not all those people got into college, they were coding instead of doing their English homework.

I was lucky enough to work with someone like that, with an analogous skill set. My coworkers would ask, how do I learn to do what he does? And I would say, you'd have to go home and put in 8 more hours' work like he does, because that is what he likes to do, and it's what he did for fun before he had a job that paid him to do it.

I too have a skill set I practice morning noon and night, because I enjoy it, which makes me good at my job. My job is the not the one I went to school for, but I figured out how to make my skill set carry over, because I knew my skill so well and I had already used it in so many contexts, on my own, not part of recipes I was taught in school.

Danno said...

Most of the men they are pointing to are baby boomers and gen x and are slowly working their way out of the workforce. I see way more successful women than men in the millenial generation and these women are ascending to the best jobs.

Jason said...

Men are much more likely to be veterans, as well.

Ann Althouse said...

When I was in grade school, I thought the trick was to learn everything from doing the homework and paying attention in class (and also having lots of freedom to make fun of the teacher). I thought you shouldn't study for a test because if you'd studied, you wouldn't see if you could do it without studying. Learn it the first time! I was an A student on that approach. I continued mostly that way until 9th grade when I noticed I'd gotten a couple Bs and it was just out of not making a point out of getting straight As. So I made a point of insuring that no class (not even gym) had even a risk of getting a B. I had all As after that and was the valedictorian of my high school class. But where do you go with that. My plan for college was to be completely free and independent and not materialistic or grasping at all. 5 years after graduating from college, I entered law school, and at that point, I believed I was at a terrible disadvantage (having gone to art school undergrad and living like an outsider in the previous 5 years). So I made a scrupulous study plan and stuck to it, and I graduated first in my law school class. Okay, but then what. I could get a job in the very best law firm, but I was not the kind of person who would EVER succeed there. Fortunately, there's a side game called law professor, and I found refuge there. But I'm sure I never achieved my potential, though I did well enough. Reading this essay today makes me think it was a big mistake to start trying to ensure I would get straight As. I should have put more value in my passion for drawing cartoons of the teachers.

tim in vermont said...

Blogger Rosa Marie Yoder said...
I believe that team sports develop attributes that serve one well throughout life, something that most boys participate in while most girls (still) do not.


Cargo cult thinking. The way of thinking is there or it isn’t. Team sports help boys sort out certain hierarchical issues that go to our evolution.

Gabriel said...

tl; dr version. School rewards process. Markets reward outcomes.

Mike Sylwester said...

If you look at the very smartest young people -- say, the top five percent of high-school students -- they are overwhelmingly males.

They have extraordinary intelligence and also extraordinary drive. They spend their free time innovating and creating.

The girls in that group do try to master their academic subjects, but they do not try as hard to invent.

alanc709 said...

I never studied for anything, period. I usually fell asleep in class once I made it to college. I skipped classes that bored me, only showing up for tests. I rarely opened my textbooks, unless the teacher said something that sounded interesting, which was rare. I was always on the honor roll in HS, and the dean's list in college. Yet a lot of my fellow classmates thought I was a C-student at best, because they only saw how little effort I put into school. Diligence should get you A's, but it says nothing about your intellectual capacity or ingenuity.

Shouting Thomas said...

@Althouse.

If you had foreseen the revolution in graphics and animation coming with the advent of the Apple graphic interface in the 70s, you could have made more than what you made as a college professor as a corporate artist in the film or advertising industries.

Believe me, I made the same mistake. I was in position at the University of Illinois to be in the forefront of the computerization of music and composition, and I didn't see the opportunity... at that time (when I was still an undergrad).

daskol said...

Reading this essay today makes me think it was a big mistake to start trying to ensure I would get straight As. I should have put more value in my passion for drawing cartoons of the teachers.

Scott Adams smiles, although he seems more passionate about success than cartoons. But I'm confused: in terms of building confidence, useful in any endeavor, I'd imagine achieving valedictory status twice is very helpful. What is more portable than confidence borne of achievement?

Also, my limited experience in the corporate world suggests that the straight-A approach to school can get you very far in public companies, if not all the way to the top. Compliance and pleasing authority, along with high quality work, is very highly valued.

Mike Sylwester said...

High-school students who excel academically are excluded socially for being nerds, brains, grinds.

When this happens to female students, they slow down so that they can be included socially.

The male students accept their social exclusion and press forward.

Again, I am talking about the top five percent.

daskol said...

That said, the pre-valedictorian approach to school--studying is cheating yourself of learning whether you got it the first time--is just about the approach that I took. That also builds a highly portable confidence.

Shouting Thomas said...

One of the most negative aspects of attending undergrad school in the 60s was that our TAs in the core academic courses were simultaneously ignorant of technology and far lefties.

So, the gospel of the mid 60s to mid 70s was that computers were going to "dehumanize" us and turn us all into ciphers. This was the constant pounding of propaganda in my first two years of school.

As usual, the lefties has it all ass backward. The computerization of the arts produced an amazing variety of jobs for artists that actually paid a regular salary.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

So are the rats modeled on your teachers?

Gahrie said...

Girls consistently outperform boys academically. ... What if those same habits that propel girls to the top of their class — their hyper-conscientiousness about schoolwork

What if it has more to do with the fact that schools today are designed to reward girls for their behavior, and punish boys for theirs? What if it has to do with the fact that we drug a huge number of boys to calm them down? What if it has to do with the fact that men work harder and longer at work than women do?

Karen of Texas said...

Work smarter not harder... Guys get this. Women want to throw 110% at it and then bitch because no one appreciates how much effort they are expending.

FTR - I was in tech - coding (and design). There were not a lot of women in the trenches. Those that were tended to follow the management path - put in your time doing the coding (and design), while angling to be a team leader, project manager, supervisor, yada. If you were a coder and a system crashed in the middle of the night, you were going in to fix it. "Management types" didn't get those calls. There were some women who were very, very good at coding. I was above average - I could usually figure it out. My go to help when stuck was almost always a male. I enjoyed the design more than the implementation. I enjoyed writing the user manuals. Guys tended to hate that stuff. In a team environment, we worked to each others' strengths and covered each others' weaknesses. We have screwed the pooch on those days, tyvm #metoo.

As an aside, my female supervisor told me to always try to form my project teams with no more than two females - and never have them both in the critical path at the same time. Some women get it. Or used to.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

Larry Summers was right.
More men at the top, and at the bottom.
Nobel Prizes and prison inmates.
The girls win the game that the boys aren't playing (like Hillary! winning the popular vote).

gg6 said...

I note how :conscientiousness" and "intellectual" are the two hallmarks mentioned as keys to female "schoolwork'....yet they strike me as likely unrelated. And certainly even 'intellectual' does not have a 100% correlation with 'grades' in school? And since when is 'intellectual' the hallmark of success in Life by either gender? The biggest question raised here, it sees to me is, just how closely related are 'grades in school' to 'achievement' in adult Life by either gender?

Quaestor said...

Studiousness and creativity are not the same and only coincide in one person accidentally.

Henry said...

That 5% figure is for CEOs, which is a pretty small club.

The numbers are closer to 25% for Executives and Senior Level Managers.

Given that female labor participation has gradually been rising and CEOs tend to be old farts, I expect that the numbers will slowly move in women's favor without any theorizing.

chuck said...

Great people are almost all crazy. Great artists? Nutballs, crooks, degenerates. Great scientists? Obsessive lunatics. Great politicians? Lets not even get started. So there you go, girls need more crazy. If that program is successful, we should also see more women in prison.

Jack Wayne said...

Althouse pinpoints the difference. In general: Men confidently take risks. Women don’t have confidence nor do they take risks.

tcrosse said...

Blogger Left Bank of the Charles said...
So are the rats modeled on your teachers


There was a teacher at my high school in the early 1960's whom the girls called Willie the Rat. He was not a very pleasant individual.

Henry said...

It's interesting to compare the zeitgeists from different eras.

Ambition was a 19th century virtue.

What we have in the 21st is a civil service approach to advancement. Everyone is supposed to advance by following rules and taking tests.

Rick said...

This entire analysis is not just a waste of time but actively misleading. Comparing broad averages says nothing about the mix among the outliers. This is a natural outcome of discovering the bias you expected doesn't exist and redesigning the study until you find something.

To adapt a certain theorem you can make any error in study design as long as it skews the results according to the victim hierarchy.

walter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chuck said...

> never have them both in the critical path at the same time.

Good advice, that would have helped avoid the USS Fitzgerald collision.

Amadeus 48 said...

Public schools--and indeed most schools--are built on an industrial model. Look at a classroom and see an assembly line. But the next piece is not physically coming down the line at you, so there is plenty of time for the brighter, quicker kids to draw, day dream, read something else, and generally keep up with or ahead of the class with part of their brains. That was my experience. First in my class in high school, first in my class at small liberal arts college, completely undistinguished in law school. Reasonably successful, but not at the top, at large law firms.
I think I had the life that the not very disciplined but moderately bright student ends up with. It has been very happy.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

So, same as it’s ever been? I actually find this reassuring. Nature’s conservatism in the face of rapid social change. This disparity may actually grow as the immigrant cohorts continue to hit their stride. Cast a glance over the STEM classes at the local U and see the Asian males who are fanatical studiers and have been instilled from childhood with a duty to ambition and success. I know some Asian-American polymaths. They’re lovely people but they have icy little reactor cores that you just don’t see among their peers of other races.

Bay Area Guy said...

Good discussion re the disconnect between success in school (female) v success in business world (male).

Well done.

My primary unoriginal observations are ithat (1) school has been completely dumbed down over the past 30 years, so book smart success there is devalued, (2) women stil shy away from engineering, and (3) women still shy away from capitalistic and/or entrepeneirial ventures.

To make real money in this world, you have to own something or build something. This often requires risks, failures and setbacks, before and hope of success. It's a very hard path to follow. Most men can't, most women don't. But a few brave souls do it this way and get rewarded.

Bruce Hayden said...

Some of it is that female teachers teach to the girls, and as the teaching profession has become more and more female, the results have become progressively more lop sided in favor of the girls whom they are teaching to. For example, when I was in elementary school, we had recess every day, where the boys could run around like wild indians, burning off their excess energy. In many schools, recesses were ultimately eliminated for a number of superficialially plausible reasons, but mostly because the girls didn’t need them, or, I think in many cases, even want them. So what happened to the boys who used to burn off their excess energy at recess? ADHD, etc, which they now drug to keep the boys under control. Problem solved - the more active boys are now drugged into lethargy, and the girls can concentrate on getting an education, without the distraction of hyperactive boys.

My complaint growing up in school is that in the softer subjects, the (predominantly female) teachers rewarded good feminine behavior over actual performance. The kids, mostly girls, who kissed the teacher’s rear end were the ones who got the A’s. I was absolutely amazed when I outscored all those A students in English class by 150 or so points on my verbal SATs. So many of them ended up in teaching. Duh. This was 50 years ago. It only got worse after that, with group projects being prioritized over test grades in the sciences, in order to make them more girl friendly. I am just waiting for the bridge to fall down because it was designed by a committee of female engineers who excelled at working communally, but never quite got the fundamentals. And, of course, there was the report this year on the crash of one of the Navy’s destroyers. Apparently the two officers running the ship at the time were both women, and weren’t, apparently, on speaking terms at the time. Normally, the problem is that women speak too much. Here, they weren’t speaking enough.

Another facet of this is that, as a patent attorney, I had a lot of very smart inventors. Few of them were women. And even when they were inventive, their inventions tended to not have much in upside potential. Also, for much of my career, I worked well over 40 hours a week. When I was working in software, I would inevitably have a full set of manuals at home, which I would read at night. I knew other men who were as bad, but no women. Inevitably, they worked their 40 hours, then went home, or wherever. And then bitched when they didn’t get promoted as quickly. Explaining that I had become an expert in the area while they had been home socializing wasn’t sufficient for them. Or that I was in on weekends fixing problems, while they were skiing with their boyfriend was equally unavailing. They claimed discrimination. Still do. The problem is that putting in your time, being pleasant, and going home at 5, doesn’t solve problems, or make important inventions (One of my brothers became #1 in his large multinational company in utility patents issued and papers published. He was very proud of the fact that he never used company time - despite all those patents being in the company’s name. He worked 6-6, and half days Sat. Something that few women would do).



Quaestor said...

How many patents are filed by men? By women? That would be the more revealing statistic.

tim in vermont said...

So, the gospel of the mid 60s to mid 70s was that computers were going to "dehumanize" us and turn us all into ciphers.

They were right! Just look at Twitter.

chuck said...

> Diligence should get you A's

I gave B's for diligence and reserved A's for talent.

tim in vermont said...

Given that female labor participation has gradually been rising and CEOs tend to be old farts, I expect that the numbers will slowly move in women's favor without any theorizing.

One thing the left is good at is taking over stuff other people have built. I guess the question is how many great organizations will be built by women from the ground up in the future. Will that become lopsided in their favor?

tim in vermont said...

I gave B's for diligence and reserved A's for talent

Ha! I once got a "B++” because the prof said he really enjoyed reading my paper, that it was well written for a change from the usual, but I knew nothing about the subject I was writing about, so he couldn’t give me an A.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you had foreseen the revolution in graphics and animation coming with the advent of the Apple graphic interface in the 70s, you could have made more than what you made as a college professor as a corporate artist in the film or advertising industries."

I was powerfully affected by "Yellow Submarine" and, as a high school student, wanted desperately to be involved in making movies like that. But I had no idea what the path was and went to stupid art school. If someone had pointed me in the right direction at that time, life would have been very different!

mandrewa said...

My wife is conscientious, hard-working, and extremely intelligent. She's not an average person at all. But she's not a risk taker. She would never take the risk of starting a company. She has an impact. So many times she's been brought into a situation where some big project is failing and looks hopeless and then she turns it around. But that just makes her a valued employee. (It may also be relevant that I don't think she would even want to be head of an organization.)

But that's just one person.

A better example is from my programming days back in the beginning when it was all hope and dreams and there were thousands of little start-up companies, and really most people that were doing it were not making any money. You weren't hired for this. You selected yourself and you were motivated by the endless possibilities. Almost all those people were men. The ratio was like 999 men to one woman.

Now why is that? There is some fundamental difference between men and women that has to be at play here. Now we are not talking about the average person. (And by the way very few of these men ever had a hope of being a CEO or anything like that. They just didn't have those skills. But they were dreamers.) It was only a tiny percentage of the men that were doing this and probably only something like one woman out of ten million women.

It isn't a question of intelligence.

It's that men are risk takers and women relatively speaking are not. And perhaps more importantly, although few men succeed, most men have an built-in drive to try to be the top dog, and if we could objectively measure it, I think we would find that far more men are really striving to get to that alpha dog status than there are women doing the same.

In other words there should be far more male alpha dogs than female alpha dogs and if that's not happening then this is evidence of an extreme sexual discrimination. (Which I think is more and more what is actually happening.)

walter said...

Oh boy..a stat! 95%! Bad stat!
Couldn't be driven by interests, priorities.
Nope..all about "confidence".

Some of the reasoning here reminds me of Mazie Hirono's recent modesty:
"We have to kind of tell everyone how smart we are, so we have a tendency to be very left brain and we think, this—really, that is not how people make decisions."

"I could get a job in the very best law firm, but I was not the kind of person who would EVER succeed there."
Meaning?
"Fortunately, there's a side game called law professor,"
My niece is not a prof but teaches in the UW system. Carte blanche regarding curriculum and really very little metrics for evaluation.
The liberal women I know in public sector and NGO positions sure have no lack of confidence.
See Sandy/AOC

EDH said...

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

mccullough said...

Colin Kaepernick has way more talent than Tom Brady.

You only need a certain amount of talent to succeed. The rest is discipline and perseverance and luck.

Jamie said...

Following on from Gahrie’s comment, what if the extra effort that boys must put in in order to even navigate the environment of school provides a headwind that could help them become more resilient in life. IOW, apologies to all hard-working and dedicated teachers like my old friend Gahrie , but academic success may not be the highest and best use of a person’s talents. (Look at me, f’r instance - highly academically successful, and unable in both temperament and abilities to bring down a third of what my husband makes.)

Bruce Hayden said...

“For example, anyone who's middling bright can get a degree in computer science and be a programmer. The good programmers, though, are the people who progam computers for hours every day because they like doing it. Not all those people got into college, they were coding instead of doing their English homework. “

Reminds me of taking some grad level CS classes after LS and 15 years in programming. Homework was getting a 100-200 line program to run. After doing it for a living, this would take me maybe 15-20 minutes, and never had to debug them. The rest of the class? Hours and hours. I would try to help them. Looking at their code, I would ask them what they were doing (because it wasn’t always obvious). I would typically get a somewhat confusing answer. And I would explain that coding before you knew what you wanted to do, and how you were going to do it was a waste of time. And that you should be able to envision the entire program in your head first. But, for me, that was easy - I had been doing that with hundreds of thousands of lines of code for years, so 100 lines was the sort of thing that you didn’t even have to think to do. But, then, we were probably separated by > 40,000 hours of programming, thinking about it, reading manuals, etc.

I should also note that I went into software professionally, after finding myself spending more time programming, than selling insurance, which was supposed to be my day job. I got an offer to program for the 1980 Decennial Census, accepted it, threw everything I owned in my car, and moved across the country to DC. And never regretted the move - I was getting paid for my hobby. What could have been better?

Tom said...

I excel in my career precisely because I never confused activity with results. I always focused on the WHY, the WHO, and the WHAT and ensured the team could determine and execute the HOW - without micromanaging. This allows me to focus what is most important - executing the right strategy to beat the competition, the right relationships both internally and externally, and the leadership and team dynamics within the organization.

Btw, I never did homework and used to beg my public school teachers to just give me the tests at the beginning of the year and then to not worry if I participated in their class - some did, most didn’t. Most of the “best students” in my HS either didn’t finish college or became stay at home moms. It was the academic misfits like me who have succeeded in business.



Robert Cook said...

WOW!!!

A blog comment section where Shouting Thomas makes a series of cogent, calm, lucid comments, free of disproportionate vitriol, wild accusations, spittle, and invective!

Has the rapture taken place?

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse pinpoints the difference. In general: Men confidently take risks. Women don’t have confidence nor do they take risks."

It doesn't have to be that way. There is a strong social message to women to be pleasing, to be liked, to find love and to give love. Women who don't do that can suffer a lot (or they believe they will). Men do not have that obstacle.

I remember vividly when I was a girl — maybe in 6th grade, when my cartooning of the teacher peaked — that I was highly verbal and having great fun with it when a boy said to me: "No one will ever marry you." I've remembered the verbatim quote all my life. You can fight that message, but it leaves a deep mark. It still hurts me.

I almost had the wherewithal to take that line and flip it into extraordinary power as The Girl That No One Would Ever Marry, but then there was the peace-and-love hippie movement and I also read The Sermon on The Mount a thousand times.

Henry said...

Robert Cook said...
WOW!!!

A blog comment section where Shouting Thomas makes a series of cogent, calm, lucid comments, free of disproportionate vitriol, wild accusations, spittle, and invective!

Has the rapture taken place?


The other day, Drago made a joke. I didn't point it out at the time, but I swear it happened.

Unknown said...

On average girls outperform boys in schools, that doesn't tell you anything about individuals. The business leaders who happen to be men aren't average.

David-2 said...

A lot of these comments point to why, outside of the business world, today's "meritocracy" isn't anything of the sort: It is actually a place where those who "went to the good schools" work in and shape enterprises where "input" (i.e., effort) is measured instead of "output" (i.e. tangible accomplishment).

Government and academia are those places, which is why work there is so exalted and positions there are so highly prized by the modern "meritocrat".

Howard said...

Blogger Shouting Thomas said...@Althouse.
If you had foreseen the revolution in graphics and animation coming with the advent of the Apple graphic interface in the 70s, you could have made more than what you made as a college professor as a corporate artist in the film or advertising industries.


Prior to computers, illustration paid huge bucks. Once computers brought design inhouse, enginerds took over the biz and drove salaries into the toilet. The situation only really changed when computer graphics capabilities, gamer revolution and CGI drove up the demand for actual artists... Althouse too young and old to hit illustration high cycles.

walter said...

"I was highly verbal and having great fun with it"
Meaning?

tim in vermont said...

But I had no idea what the path was and went to stupid art school. If someone had pointed me in the right direction at that time, life would have been very different!

Now Bob Dylan, he ran away from home multiple times. So did Ernest Hemingway.

tim in vermont said...

So did Bill Gates, in a way.

"went to the good schools" work in and shape enterprises where "input" (i.e., effort) is measured instead of "output" (i.e. tangible accomplishment).

Labor theory of value rears its ugly, illogical head once again.

MayBee said...

People have already covered fear of failure, rules-following, and risk taking.
I would add that females are more often told you can be anything you want to be. So maybe women go in directions other than the largest public companies. Art history, for example. Or working for NGOs.

Henry said...

Tim in Vermont said...
One thing the left is good at is taking over stuff other people have built.

Book suggestion: Barbarians at the Gate.

Opportunistic people take over stuff. It has nothing to do with left or right.

Barbarians at the Gate also suggests that being a CEO is not much about brains.

Though I'm sure that's not true for every CEO.

Bobber Fleck said...

Could this be an issue of people who prefer details versus people who grasp the big picture?

Or possibly people who need repetition to learn versus people who intuitively grasp concepts?

RigelDog said...

Parallel universes....I graduated law school in the early eighties and have run into VERY few sex-related obstacles in my career. If anything, being a woman helped me at times along the way. What in the Sam Hill makes people convinced in 2019 that finding high levels of success as a female is akin to climbing Mt. Everest with a ball and chain?? And having children is certainly a potential drag on one's career trajectory, but that's a choice that everyone has to make. Most of the women attorneys I worked with chose to put their infants into daycare at the end of their maternity leave of 3 months---no interference with their careers at all. OTOH it's a big interference with their family life to work in a hard-charging career, and if women want to spend more time with their kids and less time at work, that's a rational choice and not a societal cage they've been locked into.

Michael K said...

I never did homework and used to beg my public school teachers to just give me the tests at the beginning of the year and then to not worry if I participated in their class

I didn't go to public school but also never did homework. Or I did it in school during breaks.

In college I asked the professor if I could take the second semester of inorganic chemistry by exam. I had already been accepted to medical school and still had lots of other courses, including organic chem, to finish by summer. He said OK and I did. The grade no longer mattered.

I tutored my high school girlfriend for the SAT and she went to Purdue where she got her BS in Chem Engineering.

Shouting Thomas said...

@Howard.

Uh... you're absolutely wrong.

The arena in which it was possible to make big bucks in the computer/graphic/animation biz shifted constantly. In the 70s, the place to make big money was illustration and design. In the 80s, it was in layout and desktop. In the 90s, it was in multimedia.

In each era, you had to combine being an artist with a minimal understanding of programming, usually on the level of scripting languages, but you made a lot more money if you actually were competent in a full C based language.

So, you had to keep moving. This is not a bad thing. It was actually quite interesting and challenging.

Howard said...

Failure is the only option to create. Fear of failure, fear of painting outside the lines, fear of admitting ignorance are all part of what separates American Exceptionalism from the rest of the world. Objective failure analysis is the key to making shit work well. It's not just women whom struggle, it's men from rigid authoritarian countries too.

In addition, if given too much freedom and autonomy, women tend to seek traditional feminine gender role jobs.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/

MayBee said...

But I had no idea what the path was and went to stupid art school. If someone had pointed me in the right direction at that time, life would have been very different!

I think the people who are most successful in art (maybe in everything) find a way to make their passions happen. I don't think they need to be pointed in the right direction- they are daring enough to risk finding the direction (or making it) themselves. I suspect that's why they are so often a little bit crazy. They dare to take risks that usually don't pay off, and they take enormous criticism on the way. That's also why there are so many sad failures. People can't discern between unfairly being told they don't have the talent, and really not having the talent. Their feedback loop is faulty- they don't know when to stop pursuing their passions.

tim in vermont said...

Opportunistic people take over stuff. It has nothing to do with left or right.

"Plundered gold is better than earned gold." A lot of cultures have this ethos. Some say the Spanish Conquistadors learned it from the Muslims who dominated Spain until they were driven out not long prior to Columbus.

Freeman Hunt said...

I did school the "boy way," and while work was a breeze, I decided to be a stay-at-home parent. Ha! Why should women want to be more like men, and why should men want to be more like women? Leave us alone. Let individuals make their own choices.

Tommy Duncan said...

Is doing well in a highly structured school environment a good measure of the innovative skills needed for success in many fields?

Michael K said...


Blogger mccullough said...
Colin Kaepernick has way more talent than Tom Brady.


Disagree. I read an analysis of this the other day. Brady and Brees get passes away a second or two before Kaepernick.

Kurt Warner worked with him trying to improve this but was unable to do so.

Henry said...

I have an ambitious boss. We were talking the other day and I volunteered that the only thing that really mattered to me was having interesting work to work on. He looked at me like I had two heads. Or zero heads.

I am not going to beat out anybody to CEO, male or female.

RigelDog said...

Ralph L said, "Shoot the girls up with testosterone.
They'll get ahead if they don't spend too much time shaving everything."

Made me bust out laughing--thanks for that morning lift!

Amadeus 48 said...

Althouse (The Girl That No One Would Ever Marry)--When I or one of my brothers was being exceptionally obnoxious, my mother would say, "Some nice girl will leave you if you act like that."

Same message, different messenger.

MayBee said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I did school the "boy way," and while work was a breeze, I decided to be a stay-at-home parent. Ha! Why should women want to be more like men, and why should men want to be more like women? Leave us alone. Let individuals make their own choices.


Ha! True!
I find the pressure to get satisfaction in work away from the home-- the pressure to be "equal" by going to a job- to be kind of....communistic? Or Maoist.

Howard said...

ST: Illustrators were making executive salaries in the 60's. I'm not talking about being a middle manager doing well. I do agree that what you outline opened up a ton of new jobs paying a living wage.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Scrooge McDuck told these bitches "work smarter, not harder" but they can't get hard cock out of their mind long enough to erect a foundation of throbbing confidence enabling success with enviable nonchalance.

sinz52 said...

The reason that women are less successful in business than men has been known ever since women started entering the white-collar workforce.

To succeed in business and rise up the corporate ladder, you need to be skillful at *corporate politics*. Corporate politics resembles Washington politics in its amoral manipulation of opportunities, strategies and tactics, the forming of alliances and coalitions, greed for power, and sheer ruthlessness.

Men are more prepared for that than women by having experienced the military or football. And men have more of a killer instinct--when and how to go for the jugular (figuratively speaking).

If you want to prepare girls for what business is all about, games like the board game Monopoly and some of the strategic role-playing video games can help.

Howard said...

McCullough makes a good point. Colin Kaepernick has way more physical skill than Tom Brady, who is below average in pure athleticism. Brady runs the 40-yrd dash in 5.2-seconds, which equals that of an average high school JV lineman. That's why Brady was passed up in the draft.

Brady is coachable and works hard on elite mechanics.

tim in vermont said...

Brady and Brees get passes away a second or two before Kaepernick.

Maybe Kap was just too busy thinking about social justice and nursing resentments to do the work needed to fine tune his mind to make split second decisions accurately? Naah!

Wa St Blogger said...

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge

Maybe the top business leaders are there because they work harder. I've seen Dr. Peterson address this by talking about how women MDs work fewer hours than men on average. Almost all successful people pour their lives into their vocation. It appears that on the fringes, men do this more than women, and at the top of the success ladder live those on the fringes. More men in prison, more men at the top. It's because the bell curve for men is flatter than that for women.

Chris N said...

Great conversation, and there are probably good reasons, but why link to a NYTimes article to start a great conversation?

They key with people who have the ambition of politicians (but who probably won’t be as influential), and the desire of writers (but who lack the ambition and possibly talent to be great writers) is to create decent incentives.

I believe much existential doubt and political radicalism leads to bad incentives. Inaccurate maps of the world.

Yet another piece of evidence is your linked-to article.

RigelDog said...

Ann said, "Reading this essay today makes me think it was a big mistake to start trying to ensure I would get straight As. I should have put more value in my passion for drawing cartoons of the teachers."

IF the article holds truth, which is in doubt. In any case, you actually HAD the opportunity to join a firm or a business at some point and work your way up to partner--which is what the author would have defined as "success." You chose not to. Perhaps focus on your art would have garnered (ha!) fame and fortune, as perhaps the tippy-top of one-percent of artists achieve. More likely you would have side gigs (drawing caricatures in theme parks?) to leave time to create your true art.

Howard said...

Blogger tim in vermont said...Opportunistic people take over stuff. It has nothing to do with left or right."Plundered gold is better than earned gold." A lot of cultures have this ethos. Some say the Spanish Conquistadors learned it from the Muslims who dominated Spain until they were driven out not long prior to Columbus.

Trump and Soros don't create anything. Neither do the money-changing banksters on Wall Street. This is the source of the wage gap and the offshoring of jobs to shitholes. Instead, you people want to blame poor foreigners. When the AOCs of the US get enough votes, there will be a wealth tax in response.

Otto said...

"downside of conscientiousness"
1) divorce
2) neglect of children
3) love of self
4) lack of empathy for others
5) taker, not giver.

Birkel said...

Public schools are failing boys.
It must, therefore, be sexism.

Causality: Reversed!

LordSomber said...

The Ladies' Room is used for crying more than any other bodily function in the Corporate Arena.

Men didn't plan this -- it just turned out this way.

tim in vermont said...

Brady is coachable and works hard on elite mechanics.

Wayne Gretzky used to watch hockey games and diagram every scoring play as a boy. Why did he do that? Because he was fascinated with it. You can’t be coached into that. If you saw the Super Bowl, you saw Brady studying the defense from his last drive, which, since the Patriots are our local team, I watch them every week and that is what he is doing even if playing the lowly Jets or Bills, while Goff looked like a deer in the headlights, just looking around.

Jupiter said...

"We need to ask: What if school is a confidence factory for our sons, but only a competence factory for our daughters?"

What we need to ask is, "Why are we subjecting our children to an institution designed by Prussian militarists to turn peasants into factory workers, heavily modified by a pack of raging Communists with a hefty helping of sexual perverts thrown in"?

Yeah, ask ourselves that.

wildswan said...

Shouting Thomas
"I got into computers in the early 70s because I had kids and needed a job. I had no training or education in computers. Small companies would hand me the manual to their PC,"

No, Thomas. There were NO PC's in the 70's. NOT ONE.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Problem: Women do better in an artificial environment like school than they do in "the real world."

Solution: Expend great effort to make "the real world" more artificial/more like the artificial environment through regulation.

Unexamined details: Is relative excellence in the artificial environment objectively good/a worthy goal in the first place; is the relative struggle of men in the artificial environment the result of discrimination or some systemic problem, to what degree is the difference in women's outcomes in the two environments the result of women's choices and therefore not actually an institutional problem; could the difference be most efficiently addressed by working to make men perform better in the artificial environment (by changing it's rules/structure)...and on and no.

Yup, sounds about right.

Anyway this seems like little more than another example of one of the Althouse Axioms -- gender differences will be presented in whatever way is most favorable to women.

tim in vermont said...

Trump and Soros don't create anything. Neither do the money-changing banksters on Wall Street.

I don’t doubt that your view is becoming ascendent, but I doubt that it will result in anything other than what it resulted in in Eastern Europe, or Cuba, or most recently, Venezuela. We have run test after test on whether money-changers create anything, and each time we see the results, people claim that socialism has never been tried.

If you change the incentives, you will change the outcomes, and not in ways easily predicted. But certainly we have enough cautionary tales to have an idea.

Unknown said...

Althouse (The Girl That No One Would Ever Marry)-- so nice she married twice

Howard said...

Personal Computer History: 1975-1984

Daniel Knight - 2014.04.26

Personal computer history doesn’t begin with IBM or Microsoft, although Microsoft was an early participant in the fledgling PC industry.

Altair 8800The first personal computers, introduced in 1975, came as kits: The MITS Altair 8800, followed by the IMSAI 8080, an Altair clone. (Yes, cloning has been around that long!) Both used the Intel 8080 CPU. That was also the year Zilog created the Z-80 processor and MOS Technology produced the 6502. Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote a BASIC compiler for the Altair and formed Micro-soft.

In 1976, Apple’s two Steves (Jobs and Wozniak) designed the Apple I, Apple’s only “kit” computer (you had to add a keyboard, power supply, and enclosure to the assembled motherboard), around the 6502 processor. That was also the year that Electric Pencil, the first word processing program, and Adventure, the first text adventure for microcomputers, were released. Shugart introduced the 5.25″ floppy drive; it would become a key component in the personal computing revolution.

The young industry exploded in 1977 as Apple introduced the Apple II, a color computer with expansion slots and floppy drive support; Radio Shack rolled out the TRS-80 to its stores across the nation; Commodore tapped into the pet rock craze with its PET; Digital Research released CP/M, the 8-bit operating system that provided the template for MS-DOS; and the first ComputerLand franchise store (then Computer Shack) opened.

tim in vermont said...

No, Thomas. There were NO PC's in the 70's. NOT ONE.

Gentlemen, I give you the Kaypro.

Drago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

I was powerfully affected by "Yellow Submarine" and, as a high school student, wanted desperately to be involved in making movies like that. But I had no idea what the path was and went to stupid art school.

That's reminiscent of the career of Ray Harryhausen, who was powerfully affected by "King Kong" and, as a middle school student, wanted desperately to be involved in making movies like that. The difference being that Harryhausen didn't fret about the path. He cut the Gordian knot by ringing the front doorbell of the house belonging to Willis O'Brien, the animation genius who singlehandedly created the stop motion animation effects which made a rather silly "big monkey loves blonde babe" story into an epic. Harryhausen was advised to study anatomy rather than art. Animation is about movement. A stick figure that pivots and flexes like the actual joints of the human body is more convincing than the most beautifully realistic figure with limbs articulate contrary to human anatomy. He also learned to work on his own, to invent his own techniques rather than learn techniques devised by others.

Drago said...

Howard: "Brady is coachable and works hard on elite mechanics."

True, but not even close to the most important factor.

Brady's advantage, as with all elite QB's, is that he can look at a defense, assess the play called in his mind, and get his team into the correct play via audible if necessary, then quickly "process" the entire terrain once the ball is snapped and then, after all that, have the skill to put the ball in the most advantageous position for the best-chance receiver.

And the elite QB's do all of this in mere seconds....

For the elite QB's, the game is "slow" compared to their "human processor" capabilities.

Awesome field generals.

The same applies to great combat leaders who can look at the chaos in the middle of a battle and quckly discern, intuitively, what precisely must be done and how, and then execute it. They are leaders for whom the "fog of war" isn't quite so foggy.

Its the same for intuitive business executives who are able to peer through all the strategic analysis and discern what the 1 or 2 key actions are the most critical to execute and then focus the organization effectively to implement.

Howard said...

Tim: I'm just reading the tea leaves of cause and effect. As long as the US continues to allow for private profit from socialized risk, the AOC's of the world have a purchase to leverage their command and control agenda.

tim in vermont said...

Faulty memory there, the KayPro I dealt with was in 1982 or 3.

Shouting Thomas said...

No, Thomas. There were NO PC's in the 70's. NOT ONE.

Technically, you've got me.

But, beginning in the late 60s there was a series of standalone computers that performed in a PC like fashion.

I should know. I worked at the Center for Advanced Computation at the University of Illinois in the late 60s, early 70s. We used (and sometimes invented) numerous standalone computer systems based on magnetic tape and tape cartridge systems. No we didn't feed them with punch cards.

So, yeah technically you're right. In reality, standalone computers that one person could use to program, compile and produce output existed and were widely used in the mid to late 60s.

Derek Kite said...

Hyper conscientious is the quality of an executive secretary. Every successful company has one. Or more than one since these women for some reason don't want to work 80 hours a week.

Howard said...

I agree Drago. Kaperdink was always a deer in the headlights, but had the smoke and control of Mariano Rivera. I'm pretty sure that seeing the field is an innate ability.

tim in vermont said...

As long as the US continues to allow for private profit from socialized risk

I said that after the financial crisis, the executives in charge should have, if not gone to jail, at least lost their homes in the Hamptons to plumbers or other people who worked for a living. The Democrats were then co-opted and became the party of the hyper-wealthy, and Obama went along with it. Trump spends his time on rallies with voters, Obama spent his time hitting up hyper wealthy donors for money.

rhhardin said...

I had a personal IBM 360/65 nights at work in the early 70s. No point letting it sit idle.

DavidUW97 said...

No risk, no reward.
Men take risks. Get rewarded (women, reproduce) if they don’t fail. If they fail they die or don’t reproduce.
Women don’t take risks. Unless forced to for a good reason (ie rescuing their own children).

It’s harder to be an executive having never risked anything. It’s not impossible but a lot harder.
This is basic biology and social dynamics.

RichardJohnson said...

Shouting Thomas

I got into computers in the early 70s.... had no training or education in computers. my skills advanced...
There were zero (0) women around during these early years of the PC era. What prevented them from doing what I did? I think it was the very notion that people should have support and mentoring to develop their skills. Women are too reliant on school and on a supportive social structure.


I have a similar story. Between careers, I began working part-time at a startup company circa 2000. The job entailed finding public sources of information and building that into databases. I knew NOTHING about databases when I began the job. My boss didn't know anything either, but he figured that my resume and credentials indicated that I could learn, and the peanuts he was paying me didn't make it losing proposition for him. Within 6 months, I was a full-timer. Within a year, I had taught myself enough about databases to double my hourly rate.

Shouting Thomas said...

All of this tech goes back much farther in time than is generally acknowledged.

Our primary product at the Center for Advanced Computation was the ILLIAC IV computer. Development of this computer began in about 1968. One of the focuses of development was the projection of 3D space in what were then monochrome monitors... a development that predated the color graphic interfaces PARK and Apple developed.

The one thing missing from our standalone PC type devices at CAC was a color graphic interface.

Quaestor said...

Boys and girls generally go to exactly the same schools, so no, schools are not the problem.

The excluded middle...

mockturtle said...

Why must we keep trying to fit square pegs into round holes? Can't we just accept the fact that men and women have basic differences? And that these difference have purpose?

Otto said...

As i suspected , Ann is an old biddy who is now kvetching about her life. Poor me, i should have followed my passion and stuck to art instead of a having a great pension and an audi in the driveway. What BS. Now i know why she adores The putz.
Ann stop your kvetching, play golf with Meade, tell your kids you want to be a grandma , and help out at the local soup kitchen.
It's good for the soul.

tommyesq said...

"And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies. " Of course, men also hold a staggering percentage of the most dangerous jobs, make up a staggering percentage of inmates, make up the vast majority of the military, police, and firefighters, etc. If one is looking to find discrimination in employment, one should look to all employment to see what is happening, and not cherry-pick an individual occupation (and more to the point, the pinnacle of a single occupation).

Scott Gustafson said...

What makes anyone think that schools, especially colleges know anything about what makes a business successful. Most of the teachers and professors have never worked in a business let alone managed or owned one.

Didn't the FedEx business plan get a C from the professor.

Static Ping said...

Part of the problem is the assumption that doing well in school is somehow closely related to being successful in life. It's not. Most schools are designed to pass on basic skills that are useful to both future employers and society at large. And while these skills are typically useful and, in some cases, necessary, there's a lot more to life that just being able to read, do basic math, have a general idea of American history, and be sufficiently socialized as to not be expelled. The fact that Student A got an A in English and Student B got a C+ does not tell you much about which would be a better at a particular job. The requirements for a company president or a novelist or a computer programmer are wildly different for both hard and soft skills and this does not even delve into personality traits that school has much less impact upon. And there is the irony that many important professions actually reward those that do not readily conform, which means doing well in school may actually be a sign that the student is poorly suited for that profession.

tommyesq said...

Ann said "There is a strong social message to women to be pleasing, to be liked, to find love and to give love. Women who don't do that can suffer a lot (or they believe they will)."

Even if true, and I suspect that it is to one extent or another, this does not diagnose the problem. Who is giving that social message - men, or other women? who is responding to that social message or its implications - men or women? Case in point:

"MSN found that 20 percent of men and 21 percent of women preferred to work with men, compared to just 6 percent of each men and women preferring to work with women." (https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/08/04/men-women-work-study/).

Quaestor said...

There were NO PC's in the 70's. NOT ONE.

Personal computer was IBM's marketing terminology for what dozens of small hobbyist-oriented enterprises were all about years before the Model 5153 debuted.

bagoh20 said...

Academic success is highly dependent on submission, and conformity. Your performance is graded by how well you do what you are told to do and when you are told to do it. Creativity and self-motivation are not well rewarded and sometimes even punished by teachers who don't value it over their own ideas and standards.

hombre said...

There is a significant difference between the requirements of academia and the workplace. There’s no reason to think that NYT readers, in general, can get past their predilections to understand that.

I met all my workplace goals. Although I was a reasonably good student, I considered school, including law school, something to get past in order to acquire the credentials I needed to get on with real life. Most of the boys/men I knew shared that attitude. The girls/women thought school was real life.

Shouting Thomas said...

In the 70s and early 80s, a really good word processor could pull down $25 to $30 an hour in NYC operating the Vydec and IBM System 6 standalone systems. They had a monitor for output.

Think about how much that $25 to $30 an hour would amount to today.

Michael K said...

Didn't the FedEx business plan get a C from the professor.

So did Dan Bricklin.

Nonapod said...

To echo what several people have already pointed out upthread, risk taking is probably the primary reason for most men's longer term success in the business world.

And risk taking can't really be taught or learned, it's something innate. And even if it could be it probably wouldn't necessarily be something you would want to teach since risk taking has significant downsides. Men are several times more likely to die at a younger age than women. Men are typically much more likely to be heavy drinkers, smokers, and engage in other risky behaviors like vehicle racing, free climbing, messing around with fireworks ect.

The real question is, what do you want? What is your definition of "success"? Why do so many people equate being a high power CEO as be the pinnacle of happiness? Is it really? Do you imagine people like that to be happy?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

You either allow freedom and all it's messiness and imperfection - or you restrain everyone and FORCE everyone into pUTIN-cASTRO-cHAVEZ-mADURO.

rcocean said...

Girls work hard in schools a lot of boys don't. Once it starts getting important - aka when you're out in the real world working for prestige and $$$ - men start working hard too.

And women don't. They start working part time to have families or they just get sick of the rat race and take more time off.

you're also comparing apples to oranges. All girls vs all boys in school, vs. Male execs vs. female execs.

Robert Cook said...

"In the 70s and early 80s, a really good word processor could pull down $25 to $30 an hour in NYC...."

In the late 70s I was working as a cashier in a restaurant during the summers between college. We had regular groups that booked monthly dinner meetings in our banquet rooms, one of which was listed as "North Florida Association of Word Processors" (or some similar title).

I remember thinking: "WTF is a word processor?"

In the early 80s, living in NYC, my then-roommate pondered buying a word processor and hiring out his services to make income. (Ultimately, he didn't do it.)

How swiftly the unknown becomes known, then commonplace, and a briefly new, esoteric and profitable profession becomes extinct.

Michael K said...

Trump and Soros don't create anything.

Trump built buildings. He didn't lay the bricks but he did manage the construction. Read Black's book about Trump.

rcocean said...

My experience is that women in business are very good at applying the rules. Men are good at making the rules, or learning how the bend them for their own advantage.

SGT Ted said...

The article is simply yet another cry for Affirmative Action needed for upper middle class white women wanting to be in white collar executive positions.

They never publish articles about the lack of women in oil rig jobs, or any other jobs requiring hard, nasty labor in work spaces that don't involve air conditioning and cubicles.

Female privilege in action.

Robert Cook said...

"Think about how much that $25 to $30 an hour would amount to today."

Even today, that's more than many people make.

rcocean said...

Soros manipulated currency markets to make his fortune. He did absolutely nothing of value. He's no different than someone getting rich by gambling in Las Vegas.

Trump built stuff.

reader said...

"I've remembered the verbatim quote all my life. You can fight that message, but it leaves a deep mark. It still hurts me."

Is it a social message that girls need to be liked or an innate part of who we are? Boys and men have hurtful things said to them as well. Do they allow it to limit them?

My husband had three aunts that were teachers. His mother was a teacher. His sister-in-law was a teacher. Three of them consistently complained about how difficult/annoying boys were in the classroom. Teachers seem to like quieter inside voices, sitting quietly for extended periods of time, performing tasks as laid out in the directions etc. If these things are easier for girls to do and they are praised for doing them who is reinforcing the rewards for pleasing others?

tommyesq said...

Over the last two decades or so, women have overtaken men in terms of becoming college students, college graduates, and obtaining graduate degrees. According to the Council of Graduate Schools, women earned 52.1% of the PhD's, 57.4 % of Masters Degrees, and made up 57.5% of all graduate students in 2016, and this was the eight straight year of women earning the majority of graduate degrees.


However, in that same time frame, the economy has moved decidedly towards tech; a field in which women make up only about 20% of the work force and earn a smaller percentage of computer science degrees than they did in the eighties (according to a Small Business Trends article), and even while earning more PhD's in 2016 than men, women earned only 46% of business degrees, 34% of physics and earth science degrees, and 26% of math and computer science degrees. In education, health sciences and public administration, however, women outnumber men by a factor of three.

Thus, at a time when tech is booming, women are avoiding the field to focus on public sector areas that do not lead to top management positions at large public companies. Seems like something other than discrimination in the workplace to me.

Susan said...

I have a son and a daughter who are both industrial engineers. She graduated Salutatorian of her class. We were happy he graduated at all. He worked 2 jobs at times to put himself through college and meanwhile married and has 3 kids. She went to same college on a scholarship and waited until after she graduated to marry and worked her way up to project manager of her chosen company. She makes big bucks but she just had her first child and is seriously considering quitting the job she worked so hard to get to become a stay at home Mom. He is a COO of a major company. It has never once occurred to him to quit working even though he coached his kids soccer teams and goes to all their events and is a proud and loving dad.
Girls and boys are just different.

rcocean said...

THe early PC's - even in the early 80s - were jokes.

You could run a couple spreadsheets or play pong on them and that was about it.

RAM memory was 256K.

Leland said...

I thought you shouldn't study for a test because if you'd studied, you wouldn't see if you could do it without studying.

I have the exact same belief. I included in this taking my professional certification exams. Either I learned what I needed to pass them the first time, or I wasn't qualified.

I'll admit, over time, my opinion has changed a bit. Many professional certifications require a lexicon that isn't necessarily used outside the academic world. So I do think a little bit of pre-study is needed to familiarize yourself with the language of the examiners.

Still, I've passed all my professional certifications on the first attempt. I don't know if I'm an "A" student, but I make a fair living from the work I do.

Shouting Thomas said...

How swiftly the unknown becomes known, then commonplace, and a briefly new, esoteric and profitable profession becomes extinct.

As I said, you had to move fast to keep your income up.

Word Processing was followed by the Desktop revolution and a whole new set of skills made it possible to make big money.

That was followed by the multimedia revolution.

If you moved up one step at a time and upgraded your skills to an entirely new set of software, scripting and programming languages every 3 or 4 years, your income continued to increase.

For people who want stability and the same job for their entire lives, I see how disconcerting this might be.

Earnest Prole said...

They make the very basic scientific mistake of confusing the middle of the bell curve with its right tail.

Shouting Thomas said...

THe early PC's - even in the early 80s - were jokes.

The money was always in the area that was "user unfriendly."

In that same era, corporate offices in NYC paid me about $100 an hour to install a BASIC program that produced a check off menu on startup so that operators wouldn't need to know anything about coding to launch a program.

I carried a disk with the BASIC program around with me. It took me about 30 minutes per machine. I charged a six hour minimum.

gahrie said...

IOW, apologies to all hard-working and dedicated teachers like my old friend Gahrie , but academic success may not be the highest and best use of a person’s talents. (Look at me, f’r instance - highly academically successful, and unable in both temperament and abilities to bring down a third of what my husband makes.)

Just for the record, Jamie was the only person smarter than me at our school. Better looking and more artistic too.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Sorry if someone has already posted something along these lines:

Females mature sooner
How you do academically in school doesn't have a lot of effect on how you will perform in your job
Males tend to be farther to the right (and left) on the intelligence distributions
A lot of women take time off for children

Seems like an obvious explanation

tcrosse said...

There's a lot you can do with an Apple ][.

tim in vermont said...

worked her way up to project manager

Yes, women gravitate to positions like project management.

tim in vermont said...

Didn't the FedEx business plan get a C from the professor

It’s a long tradition. So did the British guy who invented the jet engine in a college paper. The Battle of Britain could have been over in pretty short order. The Nazis appreciated it though.

tcrosse said...

Yes, women gravitate to positions like project management.

I was offered the chalice of project management several times, but always turned it down. The money wasn't any better, and it would mean spending all day in meetings.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Girls and boys are just different.

They are, Susan. While women should certainly be free to succeed in whatever careers to which they aspire, we should not expect all women to fit the career mold. Someone should be raising the children and making the house into a home, a place of warmth and security, a haven from the hectic outside world. This is a role for which women have always been better suited than men and should not be scorned or held in contempt by men or women.

walter said...

"I was highly verbal and having great fun with it "
I'm going to keep that in my back pocket ;)

Crazy Jane said...


Actually, school is almost certainly the problem, but not by intention.

Every boy understands by October of his kindergarten year that teachers like girls MUCH better. Girls stand in line in an orderly fashion. They sit quietly at their desk with their hands folded. They write answers to questions without doodling in the margins of the paper. They don't throw spitwads. They don't enjoy sharing poop jokes. Etc., etc., etc.

Boys are congenitally itchy, and they don't care much, if at all, about the behavior codes of the classroom. Boys are why schools always have had recess and why children's athletics started with Little League and football and why girls' sports came generations later. Now girls play sports too, so they can learn teamwork -- again, playing by the rules.

As boys grow older, they accommodate themselves to the rules better, especially in subjects that matter to them.

Girls, rewarded from the get-go for being "nice," take longer to discover their true interests.

If schools took kids as they come -- and here I think also of minority children or ones from single-parent homes -- we would have many more successful adults.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Wait just a fucking minute. My betters have informed me that boys and girls are exactly the same. Exactly. The. Same. Period.

Achilles said...

Earnest Prole said...
They make the very basic scientific mistake of confusing the middle of the bell curve with its right tail.

The people in the middle of the bell curve have a tendency to do two things:

1. Think they are the right tail.

2. Think they are as valuable and deserve the same compensation as the right tail.

And journalists by and large are clearly on the left tail.

Yancey Ward said...

I think it probably all comes down to who we are trying to impress with the elbow grease. The difference between men and boys probably is due to the change to monetary awards in adulthood, and how that change alone is noticed by the women we males are trying to impress and mate with. Alternatively, the difference between women and girls is that impressing your parents isn't a primary focus in adulthood, and most men aren't really looking for high-powered, successful corporate females. In other words, the incentives change for males and females as we transition between childhood and adulthood.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rcocean said...

THe early PC's - even in the early 80s - were jokes.

No. They were life. Freedom. Boundless opportunity.

I learned basic in school, but I taught myself assembly language from the manual of my Commodore 64. Figuring out the different instruction addressing modes, and how I could use them to do what I wanted. How to handle interrupts to split the screen between text an graphics.

RAM memory was 256K.

1/4th of that was more than enough for my dreams.

Yancey Ward said...

If you want to change the educational system for the better, you probably should sex-segregate the classrooms, or even better, the schools themselves. I don't think this would change the adulthood results very much for the women, but it would improve the educational system for both sexes, but most especially for the boys.

gahrie said...

If you want to change the educational system for the better, you probably should sex-segregate the classrooms, or even better, the schools themselves. I don't think this would change the adulthood results very much for the women, but it would improve the educational system for both sexes, but most especially for the boys.

As a teacher for over twenty years, I agree completely.

mandrewa said...

Shouting Thomas said, "In the 70s and early 80s, a really good word processor could pull down $25 to $30 an hour in NYC operating the Vydec and IBM System 6 standalone systems. They had a monitor for output. Think about how much that $25 to $30 an hour would amount to today."

The minimum wage was $2.90 per hour in 1979. Adjusted for inflation that's $10.76 today.

$25 per hour in 1979 would be $92.75 today.

We might take that as evidence that real incomes for people in the middle have dropped radically since 1979.

The counter-argument would be that word processing paid so much at the time because it was largely composed of people that had the initiative to learn something new on their own (always a small group).

The counter-counter-argument would be to ask if there is anything today where with an effort comparable to learning to run a word processor, you will be paid $92.75 per hour?

chuck said...

> Reading this essay today makes me think it was a big mistake to start trying to ensure I would get straight As.

It's that mile wide competitive streak.

Martin said...

This should not be treated as some new observation, the facts offend because we have created a cult around education, but our education system is designed to prepare good bureaucrats and workers and middle managers, not leaders. The skills and personal qualities to succeed in bureaucratized education are not the same asfor successful entrepreneurship or even leadership of a large organization.

From Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, German Army Chief in early 1930s:

I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.[27][28]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_von_Hammerstein-Equord

Robert Cook said...

"Every boy understands by October of his kindergarten year that teachers like girls MUCH better."

I never had that perception throughout my years in school.

Brian said...

But I had no idea what the path was and went to stupid art school. If someone had pointed me in the right direction at that time, life would have been very different!

Would you have listened?

Anybody that would have pointed you in the right direction would likely have been older, and wouldn't have been listened to in the first place, because how could they know?

Youth is wasted on the young.

Michael K said...

Thanks, Martin. I've heard that quote before but saved your comment with the source,

Kirk Parker said...

chuck,

"girls need more crazy"


Duuuuuude...

tim in vermont said...

I always ask myself why people like Howard never wonder why the hyper wealthy as a class, from Carlos Slim to Jeff Bezos, hate Donald Trump so viscerally. He never asks himself if it’s just possible that the news he views as ‘credible’ is not only rife with ommisions, but is designed to destroy Trump, painting him as a racist, for example, where there is zero evidence that he is a racist.

tim in vermont said...

Maybe Trump is the response of the middle class against those wishing to destroy it.

walk don't run said...

Could it be that girls and boys are very different? I know that seems strange in this woke time. It's dangerous to make generalisations but:

Girls talk, boys do.
Girls like relationships, boys like things
Girls are sensitive, boys are indifferent.
Girls co-operate, boys compete.
Girls conform, boys disobey.
Girls remember (especially slights), boys don’t care.
Girls are careful, boys take risks.
Girls spend (lots) of time on their physical looks, boys spend time on doing things.
Girls live longer, boys die much earlier.
Girls worry about their health, boys don’t.


Here's a typical conversation by a woman to her friend about her husband John.

" You know I really love John but he spends so much time on the golf course (doing) and even when he gets home he hardly ever talks to me. I spend a lot of time looking after myself but he never seems to really appreciate it (indifferent). All he seems to care about is his job and golf (things, compete). I worry so much about his health. He eats all the wrong foods and never goes to the doctor despite my reminders (disobey). And then last week he goes out with a friend and they go skydiving without even telling me!! (major risk) What an idiot, he could have killed himself and then what would I do? But you know what bothers me most, is sometimes he doesn't seem to care about our relationship at all (indifferent). But he does bring home a good paycheck (doing) so I guess I shouldn't complain so much."

Shouting Thomas said...

The counter-counter-argument would be to ask if there is anything today where with an effort comparable to learning to run a word processor, you will be paid $92.75 per hour?

I guarantee you it exists and the people who know what it is don't want you to know what it is.

Crazy Jane said...

"Every boy understands by October of his kindergarten year that teachers like girls MUCH better," said I.

But Cooke says this: I never had that perception throughout my years in school.

Cooke, you should talk to a young relative of mine. His family moved and he started at a new school in third grade. The teacher kept telling his parents their son didn't focus well and that something seemed a little "off" with him. The class projects that year were cooking soup, compiling a cookbook of recipes gathered by writing to the wives of governors in various states, and sewing a really nice quilt.

Every once in a while, for fun, his parent pull out their picture of his class and the quilt they made. The look on his face would curdle milk.

He got past it, of course -- math summa, PBK, good job, lots of friends. Still not interested in quilting, tho.

True story.

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse @ 8:55am,

Your anecdote doesn't explain anything, it just kicks it further down the road: what made you give your stupid classmates on friendly statement the slightest credibility?

Howard said...

Tim: why do billionaires hate Trump when he awarded them the most fabulous tax cut ever?

Kirk Parker said...

Unfriendly statement...

Bob said...

Ann Althouse said, "It doesn't have to be that way. There is a strong social message to women to be pleasing, to be liked, to find love and to give love. Women who don't do that can suffer a lot (or they believe they will). Men do not have that obstacle.

I remember vividly when I was a girl — maybe in 6th grade, when my cartooning of the teacher peaked — that I was highly verbal and having great fun with it when a boy said to me: "No one will ever marry you." I've remembered the verbatim quote all my life. You can fight that message, but it leaves a deep mark. It still hurts me."


This is revealing. "No one will ever marry you" is essentially saying, "No one (or no man will ever want you". Strong social message to women to be "pleasing" or not, is it required that you internalize such messages? Why or why not? Is there possibly a biological imperative which facilitates such internalization.

Jordan Peterson has described the psychological trait of agreeableness and contrasted it with disagreeableness, which more accurately predicts success. He believes a woman's relationship with an infant is a driver of female agreeableness -- you have to be agreeable to get along with a demanding infant. Thus evolution biases women to be more agreeable so they'll succeed in taking care of the children.

Males on average are more likely to be disagreeable. It makes many of them unhappy but it makes some highly successful, which increases their reproductive chances and helps favor the trait.

And you know how women like those bad boys!

-- Bob from Alhambra

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