View Full Version : Radio Reading of Disciplined Minds

09-29-07, 12:17 PM
Jeff Schmidt's Disciplined Minds (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0742516857)

This book details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker in today's corporate society.

1st Chapter Part -I

<embed width="400" height="27" flashvars="playerMode=embedded" src="http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3523697345-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sanjoy/schmidt/radio-reading/ch01a.mp3" bgcolor="#ffffff" quality="best" allowscriptaccess="never" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"></embed>

Part - II

<embed width="400" height="27" flashvars="playerMode=embedded" src="http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3523697345-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sanjoy/schmidt/radio-reading/ch01b.mp3" bgcolor="#ffffff" quality="best" allowscriptaccess="never" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"></embed>

Rest can be found here

From a review (http://disciplinedminds.tripod.com/z-magazine.htm)

The status of “professional” in America indicates to the masses that you have made something of yourself. You have become one of the best and the brightest. But what sort of Faustian deal had to be made to get there? The “best and the brightest” Americans, as historian Howard Zinn has pointed out, are the people who have engineered atrocities like the Vietnam War. More recently, these engineers have been manufacturing the consent of the two biggest American historical events so far in the 21st century: the farcical 2000 U.S. presidential election and the ambiguous terror of the War on Terrorism. And where do these astute professionals come from? They are products of the American education system, of course.

In 1967, an English professor at Cal State L.A. named Jerry Farber declared in his underground classic essay “The Student as Nigger,” “Back in kindergarten you found out that teachers only love children who stand in nice straight lines. And that’s where it’s been at ever since. Nothing changes except to get worse. School becomes more and more obviously like a prison.” If that’s true, then what are the effects on the “inmates” after being there for 12, 16, or even 20 years if they want to become professionals or attain graduate degrees? Jeff Schmidt addresses the tail end of this question and explains what can be done about it in his book Disciplined Minds: A critical look at salaried professionals and the soul-battering system that shapes their lives.
While Schmidt would agree with Farber that the education system as a whole works to create obedient people, in Disciplined Minds he narrows his focus to graduate and professional training, which, he says, “ultimately produces obedient thinkers -- highly educated employees who do their assigned work without questioning its goals. Professional education is a battle for the very identity of the individual.”

Schmidt examines and criticizes the professional credentialing process by recounting his own struggles in graduate school, assailing GRE and other professional testing results as nothing more than gauges that determine a person’s willingness to be an obedient thinker, and describing the conditions graduate and professional students live under as amounting to something like that of cult indoctrination: Exhaustion, isolation, humiliation, etc., over a period of years. Schmidt’s cult indoctrination theory manifested itself after he interviewed students and found their stories uncannily similar to this type of brainwashing process.

A totalitarian graduate/professional school experience is not the one all students will have, Schmidt says, but “for students who aren’t careful, it will be.” So, while graduate school for Schmidt “amounted to getting paid to pursue [his] own interests, for many other students in the very same program, graduate school was unrelentingly stressful; they emerged looking and acting like broken versions of their former selves.”

10-01-07, 01:43 PM
I read this book and it is excellent. Applicable outside of the domain in which it was written (academia, physics) although I work more or less in that area.
Well done for posting although I am not sure how relevant it is to the iTulip project.

Schmid won his court case by the way.