Economics Professor N. Gregory Mankiw wrote an article for The New York Times this week, imparting one message to college freshmen around the country: take Economics, preferably using Mankiw’s book.On campus, Mankiw teaches Social Analysis 10: “Principles of Economics,” a fact that is well known to you freshmen who have already crowded into Sanders. But he also holds that adults too can learn. “Pick up an economics textbook (mine would be a fine choice), and you might find yourself learning more than you imagined,” he advises.
Mankiw also recommends taking statistics, finance, and psychology. He argues that statistics teaches students how to crunch numbers, finance teaches them how not to lose their retirement funds by investing in one stock, and psychology humbles classical economics’ assumption that all human beings act rationally in their own self-interest.
But Mankiw’s final recommendation is perhaps humblest of all: “Ignore advice as you see fit.” Ultimately, he writes, college freshmen “should listen to [advice], consider it, reflect on it but ultimately follow their own instincts and passions.”
Photo by The Harvard Crimson.