Teach a Kid to Fish

Remember when you were younger and anything was possible?  Somewhere along the way many of us loose this feeling of infinite possibility.

Cameron Herold discusses how children become uninspired in his TED Talk “Let’s Teach Kids to Be Entrepreneurs.” Herold is a successful entrepreneur, lecturer, and author, but he opens up his TED talk saying, “I’m probably the dumbest person in this room.” He explains that he did terribly in school and he thinks our current academic system is missing the opportunity to promote entrepreneurship. Herold, and many other children, do not have the traits necessary to succeed in traditional school settings, but they have the traits to succeed as entrepreneurs. In fact, entrepreneurs have a long history of clashing with academia, including Einstein. Herold even admits that he hired other students to do his accounting homework in college. He  justified this by saying he learned much quicker than everyone else that entrepreneurs hire accountants, so why not start early?!

The current system encourages children to follow defined paths and to aspire to defined careers. Instead, teachers and parents should work to recognize entrepreneurial traits in children the same way they recognize science aptitude or musical talent. We should be grooming kids to be entrepreneurs since entrepreneurs power our economy, create jobs, and change the world. We should identify kids that are tenacious leaders and problem solvers then we should foster their entrepreneurial spirit.

Herold shared his personal story of growing up in a household where entrepreneurial behaviors were a requirement. He cited his experiences mowing laws, caddying, and delivering newspapers as the most educational parts of his youth. He thinks we should make changes in our society that promote these lessons. For example, instead of offering children an allowance based on particular chores, they should identify tasks they believe need to completed and negotiate prices. This teaches lessons in opportunity recognition and negotiation. Parents and teachers should encourage a doers and risk takers since the definition of entrepreneur is “a person who organizes, operates and assumes risks for a business venture.”

In closing, Herold cited the parable, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for his life. ” As he said, “let’s teach kids to fish.”

****Inspirational Video****

Lastly, I thought Herold’s TED talk could have been slightly more dynamic but his uses of small comedic moments made the talk extremely engaging.



3 responses to “Teach a Kid to Fish

  1. As I read this post I kept thinking to myself that Herold really wants to “get back to the good old days.” When he speaks about not caring much for school and not doing well at it I think of the cliché success story of my grandparents’ generation. I do like what Herold says about experience being very important to learning. When you actually put yourself out there and work as a teenager it really forces you to think about how to manage your time and money. It’s also good practical application for concepts you learn in school.


  2. What could Bucknell do to foster entrepreneurship? Does it have to be a “business” or could it be any effort to solve a problem. If someone improves recycling bins because they believe in recycling, are they less of an “entrepreneur?”


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