Life Lessons from Harvard

I have the good fortune of spending some time at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as part of a cohort of educational administrators from across the country. I’m here under the sponsorship of the Avi Chai Foundation.

“Life Lessons” is a simple way for me to capture thoughts and impressions that emerge, often when travelling or in unusual circumstances. They aren’t meant to be absolute truths, nor are they meant to be “original.” I share them fundamentally as a way of organizing and reflecting on life experience.


1. After half a day at Harvard I can no longer tell who is merely brilliant and who is truly insane.

2. We avert our gaze and ignore the homeless person asking for money. Then he quacks like a duck and we all look up because we aren’t expecting to hear a duck in the middle of the city.

3. Everyone loves a raffle.

4. Am I willing to get worse in order to get better?

5. At any time, in any place, the following is likely true: we are surrounded by tremendous wisdom.

6. The “Vegas Rule” (what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) can in fact be used as a norm for establishing confidentiality.

7. Forget to be scared.

8. Tell me 500 facts and I’ll forget them. Tell me one honest personal story and I’ll never forget.

9. Better to be a driver than a car.

10. Two types of people: those who wear their conference name tags out to lunch and to/from the conference, and those who take them off the first chance they get.

11. Imagine walking down the street, thinking and feeling, “I have common purpose with everyone I see” (even the guy who quacks like a duck).

12. The problem with too much of the democratic style of leadership is we end up with the US Congress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *