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Get one on one with a world class thinker as early as you can, find the most important and challenging problems, and hang out (or lunch) with people who are working on them. Check out every school of thought however stupid it looks at first sight. Be prepared to puch an interesting idea as far as it will go - unpack the contents and implications. Keep a journal to track the way your thinking develops, and the way particular books or associates impact, especially on the way you formulate your problems or change direction. Revisit key works every few years and see how much more you find in some of them. Get back to your earliest living teachers and tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.

You forgot one from Tollison, on the importance of getting things done, rather than done perfectly:

"Editors edit."

One of the key problems I see with some folks is a desire to write papers that are perfect rather than ones that are good enough to be published. Get it written, get it submitted, and worry about the finer points later.

One other thing: the advice from JMB and KB about "writing is research" and write rather than read is so true. I'm finding, at the moment, with lots of time to write and writing about issues that I haven't really written on before, that the act of forcing myself to write is the way I generate new ideas and really learn what it is I'm trying to say. Writing is research is argument development.

BTW, the same is true of teaching: the best way to learn something is to have to teach it.

Hamming is good on the big picture of research and also on the different types of presentation that are required - the need for journal articles to arrest the page turners, the need for conference papers to start general and work down to your technical refinements which will only interest three people in the audience, and the need to be able to stand up (trying to look confident) and give short grabs on your work or intelligent comments and questions more or less off the cuff in front of a lot of unfriendly strangers (that is, your mainstream colleagues).

http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResearch.pdf


You forgot one of your own pearls of wisdom, Pete:

(1) Demonstrate that you are an effective teacher while in graduate school;
(2) Have at least one publication on your CV when hitting the job market; and
(3) Don't be a "lunch tax."

I'm pretty sure you have some evidence indicating that students who listened to this advice almost always managed to secure a tenure track slot in academia.

In his autobiography, former NC Coach Dean Smith said that one of the best pieces of advice he ever received was to always keep a sport coat on the back of your door "because you never know who will stop by."


Thanks Scott, and the record is actually 100%. But that was a big mistake to not list that on my part and it didn't come from me, but instead from the combined wisdom of Rich Fink (2/3rds of it) and Roger Garrison (1/3rd). Rich also had presentations at professional meetings as part of his formula, and Garrison didn't employ the idea of a lunch tax to discuss job market results in particular, but just life in general. Garrison's other wisdom was that the world can be divided into people who need accomodating and those who accomodate, what you have to avoid is being in situations where the number of people who need accomodating outnumber those who accomodate.

Pete Boettke: "Consistently apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and write".

Pete Boettke: "Start with writing five pages a day, your dissertation will write itself in two years".

Pete Boettke: "One idea, one paper!!"

Pete Boettke: "Find a writing buddy in grad school so you can write papers together and motivate each other to write."

Richard Wagner: "Ideas that are not written down as a paper are like day dreams"

Sorry for bothering; could anybody help me with the "lunch tax" idea?

What's the meaning by saying "Don't be a lunch tax" ? How does this related to discussing job market results and life?

Thanks!

> What's the meaning by saying "Don't be a lunch tax" ?

I found this:

> The other factor in this equation is the "lunch tax" that
> the individual represents. The more difficult the person
> is to take as a personality, the stronger publications
> they will have to have in order to signal that they are
> worth it.

http://austrianeconomists.typepad.com/weblog/2005/08/how_to_succeed_.html

Garrison's other wisdom was that the world can be divided into people who need accomodating and those who accomodate, what you have to avoid is being in situations where the number of people who need accomodating outnumber those who accomodate.

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