Statistics can be very illuminating in aggregate, but individuals are not aggregates. If you only choose a course of action when statistics are in your favor you will never get where you want to go. In this episode: – Statistics don’t do the work for you – You are special enough to not go to college – Why shooting “low-percentage” shots can make sense – Individuals are not aggregates For a free copy of Forward Tilt: An Almanac for Personal Growth go to

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I'm an entrepreneur, thinker, and communicator dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. I'm the founder and CEO of Praxis, an intensive ten-month program combining real world business experience with the best of online education for those who want more than college.


  • There are many problems with the standard neoclassical microecon treatment of firms and production, most of which involve the super-mathematization of every decision, technology, and relationship. One problem that I don’t see emphasized in the critique literature, however, is the blind eye to what influences the costs of production.  Your typical neoclassical production function shows that output is some mathematical function of combinations of capital and labor, and therefore cost functions are simply those optimal quantities multiplied by their respective prices. But, what determines the prices of capital and labor? A mainstream economist would shrug and say “input prices are exogenous”. This is certainly false. We know that input prices are determined by the valuations of entrepreneurs, who value capital and labor precisely as much as they expect to profit by employing said inputs–and these profits, as we all know, are wholly dependent on how folks value the produced good. Said another way, input prices are determined by consumer demands for the goods they produce! I’m reluctant to bring this up to a mainstreamer, out of fear they’d just stick a utility function into their cost functions and call it “fully identified”.

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  • Every time there is a shooting the media hypes the event and there is much misinformation. Does anyone have a lead on actual good statistics?

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  • I am entirely new to the actual practice of homeschooling, though I have been aware of it for many years. I recently got engaged to an incredible woman who has two daughters (10, 11)  who are not exactly keen on learning basic mathematics. One actively avoids it, even telling me that when she asks a question she immediately lets her mind wander so she does not have to hear the answer. So…. suggestions for getting them self motivated to learn at least the basics of mathematics?

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  • If you ask almost anyone, including myself up until a short while ago, if people live longer lives today than they did in the past, you’d be told that they do. Now I’m having doubts over that after hearing the observation by a person in the medical field that the increase in average lifespan which has occurred during the 20th century is largely due to the large decrease in infant mortality. So, in reality the “advances” we’ve been blessed with are not so much in pushing up the number of years we as individuals might expect to live but, instead in allowing us not to die in early childhood permits a greater number of people to live to older ages. Based on this new understanding of how the average lifespan today compares with yesteryear now gives me much less reason to believe that I am relatively that much better off in terms of longevity than my forefathers were.  And that realization could have profound effects on decisions which will affect my life. This realization has now made me wonder what other commonly used statistics are we likely to misuse because we do not have a clear understanding of what they are measuring or how they are calculated.   Inflation rate? Unemployment levels?  Crime rates? Wage levels? Living standards? Consumer Price Indexes? Can you cite which ones are commonly misunderstood and describe how?

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