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North Star Podcast

90 EpisodesProduced by David PerellWebsite

A deep dive into the stories, habits, ideas, strategies and methods that drive fulfilled people and create enormous success for them. The guests are diverse, but they share profound similarities. They’re guided by purpose, live with intense joy, learn passionately, and see the world with a unique le… read more


Mason Hartman: Building a Creative Society

My guest today is Mason Hartman. For years, I’ve admired Mason's perspectives on the culture, childhood, and the education system. I teach an online writing course called Write of Passage. So education –  and especially writing education – is a subject that's close to my heart. We recorded this episode in Los Angeles, where Mason works at a school for gifted children and does most of her research. In this episode, we chat about all things education early childhood development, the road to college, and why childhood has become a full time job. Then we close the episode with lessons from two of Mason's favorite people, David Deutsch and Patrick Collison. I hope you enjoy this episode.


Find Mason online:

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1:17 How to move away from the Overton window, why David’s most creative podcast guests grew up in rural environments, and why it’s important to let kids take a few bruises in a relatively safe environment

5:15 The Coddling of the American Mind, how to design schools that don’t coddle kids, and why teenage sleep deprivation leads to more accidents than drunk driving

14:05 Why standardized testing are antithetical to the underlying skills they are trying to measure, how to evaluate people when real stakes are involved, and Mason’s thoughts on the recent college admissions scandal

21:26 The binding thread that ties together Mason’s intellectual interests, how gifted kids identify each other’s strengths, and why is obsession so important to develop mastery 

30:36 How obsession can equate to imagination and resilience, Masons’ thoughts on the professionalization of young kids, and the standardized expectations for kindergartners

39:44 Unbounded and bounded learning environments, how to use remixing as a way to deal with blank page syndrome, and what Mason thinks about homeschooling

52:44 What Mason thinks are the best ways to raising other’s expectations of themselves, how middle class kids are forced to pursue uncreative paths, and how exclusive colleges exploit low acceptance rates

1:01:37 The commodification of kids, the balance between rationality and intuition, and how to raise the status of obsession

1:11:47 Why you shouldn’t work on projects that you can get a grant for, how risk taking leads to progress, and what Mason learned from David Deutsch

1:23:31 Why is Mason inspired by Patrick Collison, how to ask a poignant and precise question, and why the most curious people are good at listening


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