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A great “Harvard” Economist


FAN Gang, One of the great economists in China, had years’ experience in auditing courses at Harvard, according to latest news at news dot xinhuanet dot com slash overseas slash 2009-05 slash 22 slash content_11417244 dot htm

“樊纲为自己预定的目标是要多上点课,多学习知识。因此,从一开始他就到哈佛大学去旁听研究生的课程。樊纲虽然对基本原理都已掌握,但学起来仍然吃力得很。当时,他并非正式注册的学生,可以轻轻松松当一个 ‘访问’ 学者,四处走走增长些见识,写些东西。但他意识到这可能是他最后一次在课堂上系统地学习当代经济学理论的机会。所以,樊纲下了决心,一定要’学进去’.”


Never expect too much, never settle too little.


Today was the day when my thesis director agreed to sign on to supervise my thesis. Now I am finally on the track of graduation. My research advisor, Don Ostrowski, was great to help me with my initial process, and passed my initial proposal and narrowed down my potential thesis directors. My thesis director, Richard Cooper, was generously agreeed to help and supervise my thesis. Now the time is back to me again.

Through this thesis writing process, for example, I have learned that I will never expect too much from others, but never settle little for myself. I have talked to many people on my research topic, but some, who I thought would help, were just not interested. Some, who I did not expect, ended up giving me a lot of help. It is true that my standard is high, as I often joked with my friends that I wanted to a Nobel Prize winner, or likely, to direct my thesis. Unless I got a Ph. D in Economics, there is no way to find a Nobel Laureate to supervise my thesis.

Overall, I am honored to have Professor Cooper to supervise my thesis, as well as many friends helping me with comments and editing. Today was one of those happiest days in my life.

It is interesting to think of happiness. There are many versions of definitions, from psychological interpretation to economic definition, from mental notion to constitutional stipulation. Happiness perhaps is just a feeling. I remembered that the most popular course at Harvard based upon the number of students enrollment was happiness, or something related to happiness and psychology course in 2007, according an article on the New York Times.  Many psychologists, economists, and doctors are looking for happiness in academic settings. Many scholars tried to explain anything with psychology due to the emerging trend today. Many economists tried to explained economic phenomenon by borrowing psychological experiment. Many lawyers tried to explain the legal reality by exerting to psychological theories. Many doctors are trying to figure out how actually the brain works . . . There are many theories and there are emerging articles on such topic.

What I learn from many published experiments, and my personal experience is that my feeling of happiness is that I never expect too much from others, and never settle too little for myself. It has been enforced in many interesting experiments, such as . . .

To be continued . . .

secret of success checklist by L. John Doerr –Volume 2




[]The big idea

[]long run

[]customers focus


[]Mission, values



[]A whole life (that works)

[]Just to make meaning (including money)

[]Success AND significance

The Art of War and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) – Chapter Four Practice


Chapter Four


In the LSAT history, a good test taker presumes s/he is going to fail while the test is really hard. To arm test takers against failure lies in our own hands, but the difficulty of the questions is provided by the LSAC itself. Thus, a good test taker will strengthen and secure them while weakening the positions of the difficulty of the tests. Thus you can hope to win but there is no guarantee of winning. If you assess that you will lose, just wait for longer before you take the real test. If you think you can ace it, go ahead and take it. If you hold then you need to force you to practice more tests; if you decide to take the test, then you need to be confident to ace it. Those who do not feel comfortable to do the real test just go ahead and delay the LSAT while those who are good at taking the LSAT just move on and ace it. It is the strategy of defense and attack, in similar words, hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

To know what other people have known is not a master LSAT taker. To ace the test without knowing why one did it is not a master test taker. It is just like to lift a hair cannot be called great strength, to see the sun or moon cannot be regarded as sharp sight. To hear the sound of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. The LSAT masters are getting very high score without any exhaustion or feeling bad. The good test taker who gets the highest score will not necessary the smartest or the bravest. The reason of getting 180 is to seize the right opportunity to win. Therefore, the good test takers are good at securing their own advantage – knowing which questions are easy and which are hard, but protecting their disadvantage – practicing more wrong questions. Thus, the good test takers are winners before they take the test. The losers lose before they take the test in the same way. Therefore, those who are good at the LSAT are stimulating the desire to ace it and practice more to get the feeling to do so. Thus they ace the LSAT methodologically.

The method of the exam is that: measurement, estimation, calculation, balancing and victory. The practice leads to measurement; measurement leads to estimation, estimation leads to calculation.…

In addition, the good test takers are good at detailed things; in contrast, losers do not care tiny things at all.

In conclusion, the secret here is that: the winners are practice and practice to arm its brain to win the Law School Admission Test (LSAT); it is all the practice.

Seeking help from Books


There is a fascinating article in Today’s New York Times with the title C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success.

Actually great people always have something in common.

Venture Capitalist Michael Morit has his private library; NIKE founder Phil Knight got his library just back in his office. . . .

There are also other numerous leaders seeking help from libraries, books exactly. Books ignite ideas ignored by average people; words generate creativity out of touch; libraries provide world leaders with answers neglected by the world. The examples of such are countless: Winston Churchill “locked” him in his personal library to read before his return to power; Karl Marx “dived into” British library before he finished his Le Capital. Benjamin Franklin fled Boston to be an apprentice printer in Philadelphia, leading him to be one of the Founding Fathers of the US. Mao Zedong who took advantage of Beking University Library when he worked there before he took over China from Chiang Kai-shek. …

It can go on and on and on. Thus the take-aways is to make reading a low-hanging fruit to the extent in which you will be amazed now and be great in the future.

Law school’s future.



“XI. Tomorrow: The Familiar and the Necessary,” Arthur E. Sutherland, The Law at Harvard, (Cambridge, 1967).
p364. Our duty is to teach men to education themselves in a corpus of professional learning not yet in existence.

P 367 Somehow we must develop men who can train themselves in all the now unforeseen aspects of his governmental movement as it develops during the coming tow and more generations.

P 368 Man is a creature of habit and tends to like what he has.

p369 Our universe is changing. We had better accept it changes and all.

Who needs legal education


Daniel R. Coquillette, Justinian in Braintree: John Adams, Civilian Learning, and Legal Elitism, 1758-1775, Law in Colonial Massachusetts 1630-1800 (eds. Daniel R. Coquillette, Robert J. Brink & Catherine S. Menand) (Boston, 1984), 359-82.

“The best source of intellectual and social excitement was the occasional visits of the circuit judges to the local courthouse. “

“Life with Putnam was not all roses. Adams would later lament that ‘now I feel the Disadvantages of Putnams Insociability, and neglect of me. Had he given me now and then a few Hints concerning practice, I should be able to judge better at this Hour than I can now.'”

“Adams particularly recalled being asked if he had read Grotius and Pufendorf, whom Gridley described as ‘great writers.’ Adams had to make lame excuses. “I cannot say I have Sir. Mr. Putnam read them, when I was with him, and as his Book Lay on the Desk in the office for the most part when he had it not in his hand, I had generally followed him in a cursory manner, so that I had some very imperfect Idea of Content….’ ‘[b]ut,’ Adams hastily added, it was his “intention to read them both as soon as possible.”


As a result of his efforts Adams was routinely sworn in at the Suffolk bar on 6 November 1758. He had no formal legal education and only a two years’ apprenticeship in the countryside. But he could talk about Cicero. As Gridley put it to the Court, on moving Adams’ application, “I take it he is qualified to study the law by his scholarship….”


(((From Adam’s Diary))) …’it is my Destiny to dig Treasures with my own fingers. No Body will lend me or sell me a Pick axe.’ And, to an astonishing degree, Adams really was self-taught.

“During the earlier period Adams was technically a student and apprentice, but Putnam was an indifferent teacher. During the later period Adams was technically a full-fledged practitioner, but, in fact, business was slow starting. Under the informal tutelage of Jeremiah Gridley, a great teacher, Adam filled the empty hours between clients with an extensive course of study.

{{{Adams’ reading list}}}”Adams’ Braintree reading under Gridley’s influence. In Adams’ words:’ I have read no no small Number of Volumes, upon the Law, the last 2 years [1758-1760]. Justinians Institutes I have read, thro, in Latin with Vinnius’s perpetual Notes, Van Muydens Tractatio institutionum Justiniani, I read thro, and translated, mostly into English, from the same Language. Woods Institute of the Civil Law, I read thro. These on the civil Law; on the Law of England I read Cowells Institute of the Laws of England, in Imitation of Justinian, Dr. and student, Finch’s Discourse of Law, Hales History, and some Reporters, Cases in Chancery, Andrews Etc. besides occasional searches for Business. Also a general Treatise of naval Trade and commerce, as founded on the Laws and Statutes.”

“But did Adams really absorb this learning? By his own account, “All this series of Reading, has left but faint Impressions, and [a] very imperfect system of Law in my Head.”

“… indeed I never read any Part of the best authors, Pufendorf and Grotius.”


“… this institute is a curious monument of Priestly ambition, avarice and sublety. it is a system of sacerdotal Guile.”


“Adams’ Daiary itself contained crabbed passages that were evidence of painful agony over Wood’s New Institutes of the Imperial or Civil Law and Van Muyden’s Tractatio.

“…’At this time October 1758 the Study of the Law was a dreary Ramble, in comparison of what it is at this day [1802]. The Name of Blackstone had not been heard, whose Commentaries together with Sullivans Lectures and Reeves’s History of the Law have smoothed the path of the Student, while the long Career of Lord Mansfield, his many investigations and Decisions … have greatly facilitated the Acquisition of it.”


” … Adams missed the next Sodalitas meeting at Joseph Dudley’s on 31 January 1765, but the following meeting, on 21 February 1765, was his trun to be host. he entertained the Club “at Blodgets”:…

This was an important meeting in the development of Adams’ political thought and jurisprudence. The topic of conversation was the feudal system and Adams had brought up Rosseau’s hostility to feudal institutions.

“Gridley: … it should also be a Part of our plan, to improve ourselves in Writing, by reading carefully the best English Writers, and by using ourselves to writing — for it should be a part of our Plan to publish Pieces, now and then. Let us form our style upon the Ancients, and the best English Authors.

“Adam concluded:’I hope and expect to see, at the Bar, in Consequence of this Sodality, a Purity, an Elegance, and a Spirit, surpassing any Thing that ever appeared in America. Fitch said that he would not say he had Abilities, but he would say he had ambition enough to hope for the same thing.”

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