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What We Leave Behind

Scott Galloway@profgalloway

Published on May 22, 2020

4-min read

An Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy invented by André Cassagnes of France. Two knobs move a stylus that displaces aluminum powder on the back of the screen, leaving a solid line. The genius of the toy is aluminum powder. A child only needs to flip the toy and shake, redistributing the powder over the screen.

Covid-19 has presented an opportunity to envision our lives when turned upside down, powder redistributed. We can start over. We hoard relationships and the accoutrements of a life others have fashioned for us. We often don’t know any better, or don’t have the confidence to draw outside the lines until we’re older. My colleague professor Adam Alter has done research on the regrets of the dying. One of the biggest: not living the life they wanted to lead, but the life others chose for them.

In 2000 I left my marriage, my career in e-commerce, and San Francisco. I hit the restart button and left a lot behind. The period was lonely, rife with collateral damage, and the right decisions. Covid-19 presents society, and each of us, with the opportunity to design a better life with … less.

What do we leave behind? Some thoughts:

Emissions. Or at least, a lot of them. I’m not an environmentalist, and mostly believe after the last human draws her final breath, the earth will register a 20-year belch and feel fine again. To be clear, I do believe climate change is man-made, as I don’t have my head up my ass, but I also believe the move to renewables will be expensive. Just as trickle-down economics is a lie, so is the notion that the Green New Deal would pay for itself.

In Florida, like many places, the water has been so clear, the sky so blue that I wonder if this is a time to move away from coal, cars, commutes … even if it’s really expensive. The last several weeks have convinced me it’s worth it. A spectacular home is worth a ton of money. Why wouldn’t we decide that a spectacular backyard (sea, sky, land), for all of us and our children, is also worth a huge investment?

Essential workers. The term essential means we’re going to treat you like chumps but run commercials calling you heroes. Just stop it. We lean out our windows and applaud healthcare workers, as we should. We don’t, however, lean out our windows to salute other front-line workers — the guy or gal delivering your groceries or dropping Indian food through the window in your back seat.

Why? Because, deep down, we’ve been taught to believe that we live in a meritocracy and that billionaires and minimum wage workers all deserve what they got. We’ve conflated luck and talent, and it’s had a disastrous outcome — a lack of empathy.

There is so much that’s jarring about American exceptionalism. Thus far, a very American image from the pandemic is a makeshift morgue in a refrigerated tractor-trailer in Queens. Even worse? We idolize the founder of Amazon, who has added the GDP of Estonia to his wealth (all tax-free/deferred) during this pandemic, as we discover 25% of New Yorkers are at risk for becoming food insecure. This isn’t a United States, it’s The Hunger Games.

This country was built by titans of industry even wealthier than billionaires today — Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan. But 1 in 11 steel workers didn’t need to die for bridges and skyscrapers to happen. We are a country that rewards genius. Yet no one person needs to hold enough cash to end homelessness ($20 billion), eradicate malaria worldwide ($90 billion), and have enough left over for 700,000 teachers’ salaries. Bezos makes the average Amazon employee’s salary in 10 seconds. This paints us as a feudal state and not a democracy.

Our lack of empathy for fellow Americans is vulgar and un-American. We can and should replace the hollow tributes with federally mandated $20/hour minimum wage. This “outrageous” lift in minimum wage would vault us from the 1960s to the present. As of 2018, the federal minimum wage was worth 29% less than in 1968.

Howling in the Money Storm

Money is a vehicle for the transfer of time and work from one entity to another. So, if we spend less money on one thing, we can invest more time on another. Could we invest less in stuff, less in commuting, and more in relationships? I’ve been howling in the money storm for so long. Believing my worth to others was a function of the stuff I had, or didn’t have.

We proffer admiration, affection, and a sense of awe on people who aggregate wealth. But that affection is often misplaced, as wealth can lead to greed and lack of empathy. This is an opportunity to spend less on stuff, spend less time commuting, and reallocate that capital and time to our partners and children.

On my podcast, the Prof G Show, I interviewed philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris. I asked him for one piece of advice on how to be a better man. He offered that rather than trying to parent, cajole, discipline, or guide your children, your real purpose is just … to love them. My nine-year-old has been having a hard time with corona. I’m spending less time correcting, explaining, arguing, and more just loving … sitting in his room when he’s doing homework, engaging in conversation, and watching The Simpsons together. We’re on season 5, there’s 31.

And … we’ll get there.

Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and Jeff Bezos have 13 kids by 6 women. They denied their blood under oath to avoid child-support payments, mock the disabled, and steal from school districts (demand tax/budget cuts) to cling to power and wealth. We need a generation of men who emerge from this crisis with a commitment to being better fathers, husbands, and citizens.

The fastest path to a better life is regularly assessing what we leave behind. The fastest blue-line path to a better world is more engaged fathers, not a better fu*king phone.

Life is so rich,

P.S. I was on Anderson Cooper last night. Anderson … liked it. And our June sprint is now sold out. Another one coming up in July — they sell out fast, so sign up for the waitlist to be the first to know when July opens up.



  1. c1ue says:

    Overall, good writeup except for the inherent failure to recognize that “work from home” means a huge reduction in the US economy due to less consumption of both goods and services. The after-effects will also be fascinating. For example: if there is no entertainment, hardly any restaurants and no socializing (picking up partners, drinking buddies etc) – why again would anyone want to live in a big city? If there’s no travel – what happens not just to the transport and car rental/hotel industries, but the service and support models for a wide range of high touch products? And what happens to Hollywood without its freelancers? Our heads without haircuts? Our infrastructure without any usage or taxes? I’m not saying the previous status quo is perfect, but the notion that the COVID-19 lockdowns represent any form of coherent, long-term strategy or a path to a better future is ludicrous.

  2. Alison Provost says:

    Love ya Scott, but two things. 1. Let’s not confuse capitalism and democracy. 2. Let’s not say ” We need a generation of men who emerge from this crisis with a commitment to being better fathers, husbands, and citizens” unless you’re implying that the women are already such perfect mothers, wives and citizens that therefore, they simply do not need to be implored to change.

  3. Leslie Pagnotta says:

    wow…what a wake up call! I’m with Anderson Cooper…i want to take your class!

  4. Alga says:

    Love to read your thoughts. Always thought provoking. One quibble. You say, “There is so much that’s jarring about American exceptionalism”, before listing a number of (very valid) comments aimed at inequality. However, you misinterpret a basic point about American exceptionalism. It is not a Right to be exercised today. It is not a Reward emanating from the past. American Exceptionalism is a Responsibility to the future. When G Washington turned down the the opportunity to be President for life, the precedent set was exceptional. When A Lincoln marched the US through the Civil War to confront the grievous injustice of slavery, those who sacrificed to support that cause (more American lives lost than in any war before or since) were exceptional (even tho that injustice still lingers). MLK continuing the long march, advocating (peacefully) for improvement – and eventually giving his life for that cause – was truly exceptional. In illiberal societies, people acting to improve the system are treated as a fault to be “disappeared”. In America, improving society – even tho it may only happen slowly and with great struggle – is a feature. Those who sacrifice most become heroes. I agree that ridiculous accumulations of wealth are in desperate need of correction, but this is a failing of anti-trust law (past successes that benefited society being the eventual break up of Standard Oil and ATT, for example). People who casually talk about the failure of American Exceptionalism more often mistake Rewards we want (from the past struggle of others) for Responsibility we owe (to the future). Please keep up the great work. I look forward to reading more.

  5. Elle says:

    Take a breath, Scott. So much for the average Joe to absorb. You’re on fire as a thought leader and can see why your class is in demand. Glad I have access to your podcasts and newsletter. The insight is making me look really smart amongst my quaranteam at social distancing in the driveway happy hour. Really, the insight you provide makes this a more hopeful and exciting time of change. Take a breath tho, we need you.❤️😊

  6. Alex C says:

    Thought-provoking and inspiring. Thanks Prof G

  7. Dan D says:

    Small detail: wouldn’t hurt to label the y-axis of the CO2 emissions graph.

  8. Larry Wood says:

    Long time fan, but i have a bone to pick with the green new deal comment. The national transition away from fossil fuels is going to pay for itself. It is costing utilities (and through trickle down affects rate payers) billions to delay in shutting down coal power plants so they can be replaced with new solar and wind resources. Renewable energy paired with storage is going to beat fossil fuels on price alone for the next decade or so until we hit an +80% renewable grid. Putting the sun to work for you is the ganster move in the energy space! The Green New Deal is template for state/local level action and is a threat on the federal level: if we wait on action any longer for a market based solution, central planning we be the only solution. PS For a more intelgent version of this conversation, Prof G should invite Jiggar Shah on the podcast #energygang

  9. Simone Cimminelli says:

    Thank you so much. I find this article so inspiring. Thanks.

  10. Jared Pelissier says:

    Signing up

  11. Susan Cahill says:

    I was so inspired to learn more about your thinking after seeing you for the first time last night, 5-25-20, on Christiane Amanpour.

  12. BRENT H JONES says:

    Well said, good stuff. I heard you on Sam Harris’s Making Sense podcast and realized we are same age with different backgrounds but very similar views. Look forward to listening to him on yours. Thanks !!

  13. LK says:

    I think your coffee was extra bitter when you wrote this blog. Luck and talent hmmm. You need a heavy dose of talent and a bit of luck. Luck alone is called a lottery winner. Why all the hate on two of the greatest innovators of all time? We are all perfectly flawed humans. Wealth on earth is not finite. Success of one person places zero limits on another’s chances. Thanks for at least making people think! Carry on.

  14. David Miron says:

    I appreciate the sentiment in your comment, “We are a country that rewards genius. Yet no one person needs to hold enough cash to end homelessness ($20 billion), eradicate malaria worldwide ($90 billion), and have enough left over for 700,000 teachers’ salaries.” but I believe you have misused the source article. The underlying NYT article is 8 years old, and the quote the you are relying on is, “…estimated that homelessness could be effectively eradicated in the United States at an annual cost of about $20 billion”. Annual cost is something different from what you have suggested. With the goal of preventing the spread of misinformation this point should be clarified. Jeff Bezos holds the wealth to support a few rounds of payment towards ending homelessness, but it is much more costly than a one time $20 billion payment.

  15. Eliot says:

    In your last point, I find it interesting that you disparage Jeff Bezos and his relatively benign family history. He has had one wife, with which he has four children. You yourself have had more wives. Scott Galloway, Donald Trump, and Steve Jobs have had 7 wives among them, and have denied their blood under oath, mocked the disabled, and stolen from school districts. Do you see the issue with this sentence?

    • mb says:

      This is the part intended for Bezos (although applies to others as well): “ …and steal from school districts (demand tax/budget cuts) to cling to power and wealth.“ Denying child support was in reference to Jobs and mocking the disabled needs no explanation.

  16. mb says:

    “ we’ve been taught to believe that we live in a meritocracy and that billionaires and minimum wage workers all deserve what they got. We’ve conflated luck and talent..” There might be some who believe in that, but I would like to think it’s the minority. I believe: 1. Meritocracy drives the desire to innovate, work hard, and leads to high performance and excellence; and 2. There is no correlation (let alone causality) between that and the lack of sympathy for those who are less fortunate; 3. There is lack of sympathy across classes and even within the class with less “merit” 4. We need -as a society- to make sure no one is left behind. We do that through a better tax system and other social programs to ensure a minimum standard of living for all of us. Related to this is the point about min wage increase. This is perhaps one of the manifestations of our lack of sympathy. Here is the thing: 1. We want “Walmart level” prices for our coffee and hoagies; 2. We don’t care that the people serving us that cup of coffee can’t pay their bills, and that they have no health insurance; 3. We care about the prices WE have to pay at the register, not about the small businesses and bus. owners we pretend to want to protect (from bankruptcy)! 4. Unless and until we -as a society- are willing to pay “real” prices (like the rest of the developed countries) -for our goods and services- to afford those in those industries to earn a decent living, there will always be an opposition to any min wage increase proposal.

  17. Carmelinda Escuder says:

    It’s 1:10 am and I just heard you on Anapour. Amazing! You verbalized my thoughts on what has happened, and continues to happen, to my beloved United States. Thank you. If only the power mongers felt as we do.

  18. Krishna Angara says:

    I want to be there!

  19. Krishna Angara says:


  20. db says:

    “We can and should replace the hollow tributes with federally mandated $20/hour minimum wage. This “outrageous” lift in minimum wage would vault us from the 1960s to the present. As of 2018, the federal minimum wage was worth 29% less than in 1968.” And put even more small businesses out of business??? C’mon Scott, you know better than that!

  21. Denice says:

    I love the way you think.

  22. david says:

    To say you are one of the most inspiring people, would be an understatement. Literally I wish the world was made up of more Scott Galloways.

  23. Anand Medepalli says:

    Wonderful piece; best advice on how to be a parent, albeit from someone else 🙂 But thank you for putting it out there!

  24. Christi says:

    I’d love to interview you in Stout.

  25. professor franklin says:

    I saw you on AC360. Your thoughts on the relevant value of institutions of higher education pre-corona vs. post-corona were splendid. A shake up is clearly needed here. As a retired practicing physician and former medical director for two large health insurers i would apply your thinking to telemedicine and have another ‘wow!’ moment. yet a more in depth discussion would be needed. Looking forward to that.

  26. Chilly says:

    Great thought piece

  27. AT says:

    Thank you for calling out the cancerous forces that are plaguing America.

  28. Nusara says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for writing this.

  29. Ken barnett says:

    Keep telling truths I’m a new follower but passionate one

  30. dan says:

    God ,your an idiot! Its Bezos fault because 80% of americans can handle a 400.00 emergency.People need to look after themselves and we need to quit blaming the self made billionaires. Hunger games ? This is the entittled bs that this generation is going to grow up on.Get back to the old basics where you get what you work for and stop waiting for the hand out!!

    • Brian says:

      I’ll say it so Prof G doesn’t have to repeat himself: Bezos is the biggest welfare queen in the history of the US. Lobbying and holding cities/states hostage for tax breaks steals so many things from future generations – Education, health, dignity are only a few. People at his level of wealth and tax avoidance are essentially taking something like $12k a year from an average working family.

  31. ric says:

    what a knucklehead! So you screwed up your family and kids and took off on everyone to be happy yourself.Really responsible. You DO have your head up your ass .

    • john logic says:

      Did he? if he got divorced in 2000, and has a 9-year old, might this be with his current wife? Or is that too much math for you? Do you read or troll?

  32. Chris Lynn says:

    Mostly wise and humane, but includes the stupidest thing you’ve ever said: “I’m not an environmentalist, and mostly believe after the last human draws her final breath, the earth will register a 20-year belch and feel fine again.” Why would you be consoled that Earth might survive us, after we have made the planet incapable of sustaining human life and died off? Can you not make the link between loving your children and leaving them a sustainable habitat?

  33. Scot Turner says:

    Actually you do have your head up your ass. The future of energy is nuclear. Deal with it.

  34. Dean Troyer says:

    Re the interview with Sam Harris: 1)China didn’t rise because of Trump. 2)Selling newspapers has been the incentive for as long as the printing press has existed. 3)It is comforting to hear Sam recognize the NY Times has shortcomings. 4) Unfortunately, we inhabit the planet with the Chinese Communists, the Russian kleptocracy, and the Iranian Mullahs. They do not share in a desire to gather around a table and have a conversation about the best future for mankind. 5) Re inequality, I hypothesize that maximal hypocrisy exists amongst wealthy left-ish leaning persons who see to themselves while campaigning to instruct the less enlightened about how to conduct their lives. When politicians in DC start sending their children to public schools I might feel inclined to listen with more sympathy to the opinions offered by politicians and their enablers 6) Thanks to Sam for bangiing on Wokeness

  35. Barbara says:

    To be fair, 5 of those 13 children, and 3 of the 6 wives can be attributed solely to trump. Although Jobs and Bezos did and do engage in unsavory behavior they hardly lower to the the depths of ‘trump hell’.

  36. bob h says:

    geeezz–you’ve hit the nail right ON….i’d write more but i’m going to re-read your post now !!

  37. James says:

    As you often mention America is great for the few (billionaires) and horrible for the many (minimum wagers). Instead of the anti-“coal/cars/commute” alliteration wouldn’t a more European egalitarian “education/health care/pension” be a greater solve? The pandemic has shown us how unequal these are. Of course salaries will drop for many in education as you mention but also in the insurance and medical industry. Securing Social Security -raising taxes?- would solve the pension issue. It is not that wages need to rise alone it is what the wages are needed for. Thought provoking indeed.

  38. Bob Tankel says:

    The themes you refer to are similar to Chris Martenson as the commons. There is value in the richness of the land, not exhausted from factory farming. There is no accounting metric for the value of water and air not polluted, the externalities of even high tech companies like Apple are paid for by everybody. Food for thought.

  39. Lynda Napolitano says:

    The deplorables would be coming after you if they could understand your posts. Luckily you write for the well-educated. I find your posts to be more radical than anything else I’m reading these days. After I found you, you found my guru, Sam Harris. I love when things start to become congruent. “Life is so rich” only when our consciousness is able to discern truth from delusion. Maybe a better tomorrow?


    Scott, I like your comment: A spectacular home is worth a ton of money. Why wouldn’t we decide that a spectacular backyard (sea, sky, land), for all of us and our children, is also worth a huge investment? More to the point, though, is that “backyard” really is our home, and it is spectacular. One earth. Treat it well, and we will survive and thrive. The alternative is where we are headed.

  41. Scott Booth says:

    Loved the piece, and your pod content. Keep it going!

  42. Mary says:

    I too made a life change in 2003 when I sought a divorce, moved to a new state, a new job, and a new life. I’m my own person living life the way I want, and I’ve been amazed at how people just don’t know how to relate to me, as I live outside of the box of expectations. The expectation that as a female I should be married and seeing to the needs of my family. Instead I’m independent, self-sufficient, and free. Except for one area…my career. I’m also an academic. I’ve been in education for 30 years, and have seen the destruction of American education from the inside, and it saddens me everyday. I recently listened your Vice TV The College Implosion. While I agree with most of your views, I do not agree that faculty got academia to the brink of this implosion. It was higher ed leadership and the boards who oversee these institutions. I think you need to emphasize this more. I wrote a book back in 2005 about the change in leadership and the negative effect it was having on education. I could not get it published as I had no national platform. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Substance be damned, if only I were a star. So on that note, as long as you have this platform, please use it wisely.

  43. Kevin Crowley says:


  44. Marlene says:

    Agree – everything we hold dear and everything we need to survive and thrive on this bountiful planet, are being sacrificed on the altar of Mammon – that much we know. Now how do we make it happen?

  45. Tomg says:

    Spot on Prof. Today’s Saturday, start with pancakes! G

  46. Cassie Dillon says:

    The Enchantments of Mammon by Eugene McCarraher gives the history of how acquisition became the goal of life. Your piece names the outcome and the cure. Thank you.

  47. Doug says:

    Dylan once said he figured out that all the finger pointing songs he wrote were really him writing to him. I think Galloway has the same issue w greed and the lack of empathy imo

  48. Steve Conway says:

    Just brilliant Scott – no other words for it.

  49. Inn News says:

    We are not in a Free Market Economy, and have been moving towards Oligopoly in the last decades, where only a small handful of large, powerful companies control a majority of market share. In fact, we are now close to becoming a Single-Winner-Takes-All-Economy where just one company will dominate the industry and dictate every aspects of that segment. What ever happen to anti-trust act that forbid a single company from controlling more than 25% of the market share? That needs to be vigilantly deployed against large corporations to ensure better long-term survival of marketplace competition.

  50. David says:

    I am not sufficiently informed on the cost of the ‘Green New Deal’ to comment on whether it will pay for itself, however the statement that the move to renewables will be expensive is largely false where we stand in 2020. The cheapest form of electricity generation today – notwithstanding the current state of the oil market – is renewables in much of the world, especially in the US (BloombergNEF data). The shift to renewables and decarbonisation of our economy is simply something we need to do unless we want to accelerate the sons of today’s fathers being the last of us humans drawing our final breath, regardless of how much love we have to offer. Keep doing what you’re doing Prof G

    • Rico says:

      Cheers David – Came here to point out this glaring misrepresentation too: large scale renewables are now more economic than the alternative… even factoring in storage. Perhaps there’s some facet of the American-style ‘Green New Deal’ that I’m missing, but it sounds like oldmate G’s back of the envelope is using assumptions from the 90’s. Nonetheless, his point is well-made even if how he got there is wrong.

  51. Laurent H says:

    A message from France with love: we used to look up at the US with admiration, even fascination. First, the GIs came to free Europe back in 1944, and that’s no small thing. Then, the ones who could travel to NY back in the 70s bought the Ray bans and the 501s, went to great clubs and discovered many artists who breathed modernity. The 80s brought first signs of money and greed, but also gave birth to Apple II, and Macintosh (that Superbowl ad…). We sufferred with you on 9/11, stayed up all night to see the victory of Obama. But today we are sad because something is broken in wonderland. The haves are greedy GAFAM pigs who evade taxes for the most part and are more preoccupied by there fight against death than by the wealth of the country, the vave nots really have nothing, POTUS is a dangerous sexist anti environment clown, and the Banks were all bailed out with no harm for their top management despite having played russian roulette with the world financial system, inventing the CDS that generates an unprecedented shitshow. WTF happenned to you guys ?! We are far from perfect on our end this is clear, and France is having hard times. But today, we mourn our disappeared best friend. Please come back ?

  52. Priyesh Sharma says:

    This pandemic and the lockdown has been an eye-opener in many ways. On one part, I have realized that one can cut down the carbon footprints just by being a little bit more mindful and disciplined. The heartbreaking aspect of the lockdown here, in India, is its effects on low-income households. There’s a mass exodus of laborers and workers, who are walking 100s and 1000s of km. The apathy of rich and powerful has convinced me that the capitalism needs to fixed.

  53. Andrew says:

    I would love to see you do a deep dive into Amazon’s “tax avoidance” strategy and pull back the curtain like you did with WeWork. You might just find an Enron-sized surprise. Going more broadly, where is our tech trust busting 21st century Teddy Roosevelt? We sure need one. Google and Amazon are the algae blooms suffocating media, ecommerce and more. Government should start by removing their special protections.

  54. Greg Flakus says:

    very good newsletter

  55. Michael Connors says:

    Citizens United closed the door on our Democracy. Elections go to the highest bidder. Industry leaders’ advantage is accelerating and their monopoly windfall is invested in the lobby & PAC game to widen their moats. The only group I have seen that is working to re-introduce a democracy city by city is RepresentUS. Learn about them.

  56. Tom says:

    Amen Brother!

  57. Susan says:

    Yes yes yes! I followed a similar confounding path. Left a marriage that was a giant accumulation of things and pain. My decisions were infuriating to everyone I knew and, as I bumbled along trying out new ways to be me, I made so many mistakes. But, as described by Jack Mezirow, it was transforming. The beginning of discernment, tolerance, understanding, wisdom. So, my ‘reset’ was what Mezirow called the ‘disorienting dilemma,’ a problem for which none of the old answers worked. It required new answers and I had to have the courage to stumble toward. But that’s the trick. We need to have the courage to try new answers for the problems for which the old answers are useless. It is courage. That is the answer.

  58. John D’Anastasio says:

    Your essay was sent by a friend and colleague. Your comments are right on point. What are the monthly(?) sprints you mentioned? Could I receive information on them? Thank You! John

  59. Paul Geffner says:

    Scott, My instincts tell me that you get many of your insights by micro-dosing hallucinogenics. Can you confirm or deny?

  60. Jay says:

    The duality of Scott G – on the one hand very smart, and then on the other says ABSURD things like this that are demonstrably false: “ Yet no one person needs to hold enough cash to end homelessness ($20 billion), eradicate malaria worldwide ($90 billion), and have enough left over for 700,000 teachers’ salaries. Bezos makes the average Amazon employee’s salary in 10 seconds. This paints us as a feudal state and not a democracy.” No, Jeff Bezos does not “hold enough cash” to do those things. You are confusing the value of his company with his personal net worth. Very far left “progressive”politics – if amazon was worth less would you be attacking? Or you are just being a smug East coast elite lecturing down to us about “income inequality” and punching down on Amazon and Jeff Bezos. Seriously, enough with the bullshit. You and Kara are living in a narcissistic bubble. Used to be great, and now its constant negative energy, smug wokeness, jealousy of those more successful than you…and slipping quality of analysis which used to make you stand out.

    • Ben Frank says:

      Thank you Jay for giving voice to my feelings – I recognize this is a fool’s errand -too much to ask someone to stay in their lane (his platform, his newsletter), but to continue reading and finding much useful every time, I must filter the good Prof across 2 buckets: *Uniquely Useful* (e.g. take on business, feeling about where education is going, heartstring pulls & gut punches that bring about self reflection) and *Banal Lefty Fluff* (when he talks solutions or preaches as if to his peeps–you know: that elite University choir who nod approvingly and long for that day when he and they shall indeed install a Good government, One that Knows what is Right and will do It, of course, whence those rascally intractables vote properly or are put down into their place again)


    Thought provoking article

  62. Ali says:

    Yup, the system is rigged and we should never stop fighting to fix it. However, we should keep our focus on human relationships and on the joie de vivre with family, community and in our lives. Your message is spot on!

  63. Kricket says:

    Hi Scott: I saw you on CNN last night, and thought you were fabulous, so I found you on Twitter and signed up for your newsletter. You’ve probably had hundreds, if not thousands, do the same. Your insights are fascinating, for a man (jk). I enjoyed this newsletter, What We Leave Behind. This made me sad, sadder. I worry about the lower class getting squeezed out of services even more after the pandemic. It’s already happening to them, for example, with food prices rising as they are already lacking in basic food supplies. Restaurants and take-out are too expensive. Meats and vegetable supplies are low, along with some staples like milk, eggs, and cheese. All these prices rise, so the quality in donation sites goes down as more people still aren’t working and need help. The middle class probably feels pressure to give donations, but they’re being squeezed too. Minimum wage needs to increase, like you said, but businesses are hurting too. Everything seems so grim. I’ve been taking online classes for 5 years now and I love it. I don’t think it is for everyone though. I will have 3 more degrees in less than a year but I am a life-long learner; it’s what I do. I had a stroke 5 years ago, so I’m not the norm. I have a 16-year-old boy who does not mind online classes and is doing well. He has friends though that he tells me, do not like it at all and are having a hard time keeping up with the work. We live in Florida where school is online at least until the fall; next year has not been decided. I took a couple classes with Coursera too, with Yale professors. I felt very privileged. I was accepted at Penn State online for some positive psychology certificate courses with some exceptional professors. I feel extremely grateful since I do not live close enough to take brick and mortar classes. It is only accessible online to me at this time. I will say though, that I was lucky to attend BC years ago, for some of the best experiences and relationships of my life. I’ve “been there and done that” so it may be why online classes are fine by me. I didn’t miss out on moving away from my parents, trash barrels in dorms filled with an anything you have alcohol concoctions, great friends, pulling all-nighters, or football with Doug Flutie. This pandemic has put a new spin on telling our kids, “you are GOING to college.” Anyway, I worry about what we will leave behind. I am afraid of what the post-pandemic world will be like. There was already too much disconnect, in my opinion, pre-pandemic, and I fear that it will just get worse. It makes me sad. It has given me a cause though; I am creating something positive to hopefully help people. Bottom-line, you made me sad but also hopeful. Thank you.

  64. Al B says:

    Bravo. I left NYC in 2009 after 3rd downsizing. Have spent more time With wife, and raising our 2 sons to become good, caring and loving young men. Has been a struggle at times, but it is what we are here to do.

  65. GARY FLAVIN says:

    SCOTT, your thoughts are so rich! God Bless and Good Luck!

  66. James Crowe says:

    hi Scott, I saw your interview on AC last night, “How Corona-virus is Changing Education” and see the parlous situation in which many USA universities are in. OK, I get it! But, I know that Asia is dependent on education to increase the per capita education for their populations – and the clock is ticking. Most of the people in this world live in Asia. Also, Asian companies – even if subsidiaries of globals – have big need for in house education. Is a win win the movement of educational institutions to Asia? And, I do not mean a few professors coming out to Hong Kong to buy a new ward robe and stroll along the Bund in S’hai. Move the curriculum, Brand, systems, op staff and professors – Asia is head office; USA is the satellite. Keep in mind that Asia (South, SEA & NEA) has 300 cities with populations of +5 million people who you have never heard of. And, all of these people are hungry for learning. Lastly, think of the opportunities for in – house corporate learning. Please have a quick look at my Linked In article, “Are Asian corporate universities a sales opportunity for Australian educational providers?” Txs, learned a lot from your talk, JC

  67. Raphael Gruener says:

    Your discussion on the fate of higher education institutions on CNN (5-21-2020) was as enlightening as it was radical. I liked it and was energized by it to find out who you are. I am beginning to understand that. Now, I am asking you to focus on that discussion by creating a video, podcast, essay or even an op-ed somewhere. I hope to hear from you about that soon.

  68. Kent Comfort says:

    I like that you call out these modern day business titans. You have a voice, and they must surely learn of what you say about them through some channel. It should gnaw at their gut to know someone with a megaphone of your stature questions their civic and moral integrity. And further, so what if going green will be expensive. What worthwhile grand endeavor isn’t?

  69. Kenneth Rostron says:

    Yes we are helping with emissions but we are not 100% the cause. I wonder what I should think about the solar minimum we might be entering?

  70. Kai B says:

    A bit shocked about your naivety on the emissions issue. (Or perhaps it just came across that way.) Reducing emissions is not about giving our children a more beautiful backdrop with blue skies and green grass. The changing climate will cause havoc to *all* systems: food security, geopolitics, urban development, migration, disease prevention, ecosystem collapse, etc. etc. Imagine all the political chaos this creates. But I’m sure you know that. In the face of this, how can anyone even wonder whether there is enough money to pay for it all. The cost of NOT investing (yes, stupendous amounts) into a green transformation is going to be infinitely higher. And yes, there is a lot of economic opportunity in this transformation too!

  71. Lautato says:

    I agree with the emission reducing actions mentioned. Though I always wonder why people deliberately seem to exclude leaving meat, a big cause of emissions (and besides that, a major ethical problem too, of course). It seems it is too much to stop eating it, they draw a line there and won’t go so far.

  72. Annie says:

    I just sent my whole family this article because I have a nine-year-old grandson who’s quarantine goal is to watch all 30 episodes. He is on episode 11.

  73. Tim B says:

    Remember the advice in his book – people who say follow your passion are already rich. That is the case here. He has become a loud and hypocritical egomaniac.

  74. PS says:

    Ugh. Back to pithy straw man arguments.

  75. Bill B says:

    As a chaperone I followed 20 minutes behind a crew of troubled high schoolers I’d just met. One rightfully accused me of “keeping watch on them” but another, “No, he just cares.” They know. We also have Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Jack Dorsey. Joe Biden seems nice. $22 wage for starters. Thanks, SG.

  76. Karl says:

    Loved your Higher Ed piece on CNN! So ready for the old guard to come crashing down and rebuild in the right way.

  77. Alyssa says:

    Hear! Hear!

  78. Annie M says:

    Why didn’t I know about you earlier? Loved your Anderson show. Send me what you got.

  79. Jini Nogueira says:

    I’ve seen you for the first time in a NRF in 2018 I thought you were quite arrogant. In the past months I have been reading your newsletters and listening to your podcast and I take back the feeling I had that first time. Thank you so much for this breath taking wake up call. All the best

  80. Henry says:

    “Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and Jeff Bezos have 13 kids by 6 women. They denied their blood under oath to avoid child-support payments, mock the disabled, ” Linking Bezos with Trump and Jobs the way written is dishonest and deceitful.

  81. Lloyd A Perlmutter says:

    This is valuable insight and a noble aspiration for our future, especially in the United States (which now is becoming more and more of an oxymoron). I hope the silver lining out of this disaster is a commitment to a shared interest over self interest. Amen Professor G.

  82. Max K says:

    I fear how much last night’s heaping of praise from Anderson “king of the coif” Cooper is going to inflate Prof G’s linear TV-fueled ego. Throwing my full support behind Kara to keep him at bay. But seriously, great post. Read, and shared with my family and I hope they read it. Keep up the great work!

  83. Mzamo says:

    Thanks Prof G for the insights. I would like to suggest that we add “Underlying Conditions” on top of Emissions & Essential. While at school we were thought to assess Factor Inputs that help generate OUTPUTS. During this COVID-19 pandemic, I only heard this analysis mentioned mostly when we talk about health comorbidities ( underlying health conditions). But rarely talk about Historical – Political – Racial – Gender – inequality of outcomes deeply entrenched underlying conditions. If Black people are dying at a faster rate vs others – what’s the underlying condition and has it always been there ? If Companies file for bankruptcy – what are the underlying conditions pre COVID-19? Is it really COVID-19 or underlying bad leadership, business model, financial comorbidities ( underlying conditions)? If man die at ah a higher rate than women – what’s the underlying condition ? If the dying biggest regret is what Prof Adama Alters says it is. Then why we keep having these regrets ? More people are still gonna die with these regrets. Why ? What’s the root cause ? If we have disengaged fathers Lee COvId and during COVId and undoubtedly worse during COvID-19 and post COVID-19. What are these underlying disengaged father conditions ? Maybe we need to figure out these underlying conditions and it’s about time we shine a light on them. Thanks for your honest writing Gave me food for thought

  84. David W Crow says:

    Not your best effort.

  85. Bill Healy says:

    Great piece. Saw you last night on CNN, and it was the best guest segment I’ve ever seen. Your comments were totally provocative and true. I knew immediately I had to learn more. I cannot wait for more of these pieces from you.

  86. Sophie Kelly says:

    I just think you are absolutely the best. I’m training to be a psychotherapist and currently working with acutely mentally ill adolescents – much of their pain, distress, self hatred and inability to emotionally regulate can be traced back to having parents who never did things like simply watching the Simpsons with their kids. I’m also an essential worker and not paid nearly enough for the importance of what I do, having ditched a potentially lucrative corporate career in order to take this path. To be honest, it felt like having to choose between being able afford my own home one day, or having a career that wasn’t just about making some douchebag even richer. You speak so much sense and continually articulate so well many of the things I have seen through own life experiences and I always enjoy your posts. Keep talking, the world needs to hear more of you. Xxx

  87. Philip Meer says:

    Best No Mercy/No Malice yet Scott.

  88. Tatyana says:

    From following you and listening to you, it seems you are becoming one of the great men you urge we need more of. You are so on point – because leaving behind billions and your children with broken hearts is far less then. You are awesome Prof Galloway!

  89. Jason says:

    “ Money is a vehicle for the transfer of time and work from one entity to another. ” Uh uh. Money is a vehicle for the transfer of VALUE from one entity to another”. It’s a means to negotiate value using a common unit of measure. A consultant or advisor receives N monies for solving a problem of X importance to the buyer, not for the hours spent (even though that may be shown on an invoice.) This minor semantic point aside, still a useful article. Where do I send the check? -jgp

  90. Paul Covington says:

    Thank you.

  91. Mike Damazo says:

    With becoming a better man, we’ll get there. I forgot which podcast it was you mentioned it but ever since then that’s all I can think about. Sure self improvement is a goal, but stating to be a better man became my north star. Thanks Prof. G.

  92. Stephen K says:

    provocative, forthright, clear. This is what I signed up for –

  93. Nick Hopkins says:

    Excellent post as usual, Scott. I fully agree with you that a lack of empathy and conflation of luck (including the luck of being born in the right place) with talent is responsible for many of our woes. However, let me say that your views on the environment and the importance of moving to renewable energy sources and investment in technology to reverse the rise of greenhouse gasses are, let’s say, a bit simplistic. I generally agree that the Green New Deal would not “pay for itself”. Nor do I think a transformation would be cheap. But to say that the best reason for it is to have blue skies, clear water and a beautiful view is absurd. While Earth will surely survive the end of mankind, in the meantime the changes we’re wreaking on the environment will be devastating to the economies of most nations. We’ve established national boundaries, built national economies and created a global system that feeds nearly 8B people reasonable effectively. But what happens when the breadbasket that is Ukraine or the US Midwest shifts or becomes less productive as it inevitably will if the climate keeps changing? We may adjust over time, but meanwhile there will be war, famine and massive migration challenges. Just as Bezos and his ilk will never have to worry about feeding and housing their children – and perhaps lack the empathy needed to care that many others will – the US will not suffer nearly as much as others because our relative wealth will shield us. But, we need to have understanding and empathy as a nation that our actions (or inactions) will have a profoundly negative impact on many others around the world. I’m glad you don’t have your head up your ass. But maybe you need to use that head to think a little more deeply and less superficially, at least on that front.

  94. Mary A says:

    Well-stated. Hope you get on Colbert.

  95. Mark Sullivan says:

    Stunning. Provocative. I am grateful.

  96. Doug H says:

    Professor, appreciate your sharing your thoughts but I just like my freedom very much to choose what I want to buy. What I think is a free market idea is for people who want to support renewable (and expensive) energy should call their coop and say sell me only renewable energy, Or put solar on your house and get off the grid entirely. I just have a huge problem with wealthy people telling middle class people like myself to pony up while ignoring the actual cheap and huge benefit of nuclear energy.

  97. Randy Cook says:

    I get it, we don’t ‘appreciate’ those making minimum wage, or those who hide in a teachers union cage. But, THEY made a lot of decisions, as you did. A ‘safe’ job that they can leave at 3pm, or having fun partying away their youth rather than working hard as a college student. Some of us were raised poor and decided not to be as adults. Much luck, but more hard work. Please do not minimize those of us who EARNED their wealth. To do so makes it seem like a random event. It was not.

  98. Aart says:

    Yes, yes…. Scott I really hope this is a sincere peek into your heart – give us more of that. I also love your courage to face ‘new learning and insights’ coming out of this ‘golden opportunity’ we have received to reflect and start anew. And what a response of Sam Harris: “… to love them”, that really knocked it out of the stadium…..

  99. Thomas says:

    Thank you for saying these things in the public sphere. Thanks for saying them directly, beautifully and, most importantly, unapologetically.

  100. Jerry McEntee says:

    Scott I agree that we are seeing the effects of the ethos from the eighties that “greed is good” ie get your big pile of money and showoff toys; but I believe this will transform to kinder ethos now that we are bored/done with the results. That said we need to look on the other side of the ledger, cost of living. In cities like Chicago the cost has artificially and exponentially gone up do to government malfeasance. The politicians in power promise obscene benefits and pay to their employees for their servitude. The result is the disappearance of the middle class in most of Chicago, the glue that binds a society in my opinion (see Northwestern Study on this). Illinois suffers from too much patronage which begets bullshit jobs backed by bullshit rules that equal higher cost. They actually have people going around making sure you don’t cover up more than 30% of your storefront window, WTF. It might be funny to talk about but add the cost of compliance and the pension promises and you are being just as ruthless to the less unfortunate than not raising their pay.

  101. Tony Grant says:

    Bravo Scott. Thanks for good thoughts!

  102. Alexander Zwissler says:

    As always, love it…and don’t for get what happens when hubris meets the Money Storm…Magic Leap just got another $350M. wtf dood!

  103. Sheena says:

    Best read of the week as always ! Thank you !

  104. Jonathan Merrill says:

    Long time avid reader. You lost me at “the government needs to”… Higher minimum wage won’t solve it. More wealth redistribution policies haven’t solved it. Socialist democracy won’t work, hasn’t worked anywhere in the world. America is the greatest social experiment in the world. I can’t agree more with identifing the extent and context of problem, Scott. Until “we the people” lead America to a values based prosperity culture, rewarding people who do, giving opportunities to people who can’t, and leaving alone people who won’t, nothing will change. Milton Freedman said as much 50 years ago. Keep writing, Scott…. Ideas will be how we solve this.

  105. Robert Lantz says:

    Usually, for no other reason than suffering from transient moments of cranial-rectal inversion, I tend to think of the ‘ramblings’ of Mr. Galloway as just short of ‘insane’. I take this moment to genuinely apologize. I NEVER comment on things like this, simply because they almost never warrant such comment. This article is movingly different and worthy of such comment. It is simply the greatest commentary on life today I have ever read, period. No truer words have ever been written, so profound that they stop you in your tracts. Thank you. The beauty of all this is that I can’t even recall how I got on your mailing list, but now, I never want it to stopping arriving in my inbox.

    • Alexander Zwissler says:

      So, you liked it??….(sorry, couldn’t resist…with you 100%)

  106. Monty Burns says:

    By far my favorite piece you’ve ever written.

  107. Raj B. Shroff says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Howling in the Money Storm. I do think we are heading into a time where younger generations will yearn for meaning beyond $, already seeing it, it’s been in the ether before corona but possibly accelerated by it. Oh and my son is 10, was thinking he was too young for the Simpsons but maybe we’ll give it a shot.

  108. David Silver says:

    The near term future will involve powerful disinfectants, that kill superbugs and covid-19 for sustained periods of time. Imagine New Yorkers coming to work at 501 Madison, at the same time, to get to their floors and go to work; but without a powerful disinfectant, only three people out of 300 waiting, will be permitted on the elevator. I would like to introduce you, Scott, to BioSafe Defenses, LLC, fpr a possible board seat or consulting gig, as this company for which I am raising capital, can clean elevator buttons, hand and bed rails, doors, door handles, seats, desks, phones, steering wheels, dash boards, anything flat and more for 24 hours and can prove the kill at 99.9999% and show the kill with a 49 cent UV flashlight. 13 Patents. Scientists top drawer from Univ New Mexico. David Silver

  109. Brian says:

    Pure Wisdom! As devastating as COVID has been on many around the world, it is also bringing a much needed reset and positive change to the world to get back to the simpler and most important things in life. How can we bring more focus and accelerate the changes in the education system? I am very passionate about the movement after watching my kids endure high school and college but don’t know where to apply my talents and energy to really make a difference.

  110. Chris Hussar says:

    “Yet no one person needs to hold enough cash to end homelessness ($20 billion), eradicate malaria worldwide ($90 billion), and have enough left over for 700,000 teachers’ salaries. Bezos makes the average Amazon employee’s salary in 10 seconds.” what does “no one person” even mean? so you want a system that dictates wealth re-distribution? you’re becoming socialist scott, stop please

    • benjy says:

      100% agree. and this is my gripe with the Prof. I could really do without the lefty impractical moralizing. Where are these magic perfect Angels4PublicGood agencies (shoot, find 12 such angels and your could change the world) who will take from the mega wealth creators and give with perfect wisdom only to the proper deserving poor & struggling!? Everyone has their utopian ideals and normal americans (98%?) are not rooting for inequality and suffering — we have a messy democracy & a market system set up so no one will ever get to implement their ideals – and Thank God for that!! There’s no perfect system, There’s no Everyone Wins country or society, There’s not even a No One Suffers society—get. over. it. or Move Away if it’s so hideous to that shangri la… what’s that? rich guy like you can’t find a better country to call home? wow, maybe you can get busy in your last few decades making change you want?? The straw men, whine (a better F’ing phone!) & blame (the rich!) are tiring, impractical and lame. I guess you have your platform rightly earned, being read on a billion Apple ™ and Fire ™ devices, so you get, as you wish, to venture off the path of your unique insights… the rich gonna do them (avoid taxes, max value, be humans and marry/divorce/be mean–like, oh, all mankind does on whatever scale they influence) – and taking their spoils won’t change a darn thing to make your Better Society. Be sure to tell your students to study factual history and point out all the redistributive societies that worked out for the betterment of all and those that increased the tide for all boats – compare and contrast in each across factors such as rule of law, elite ruling class, economic outcomes by class, total freedom, mobility by income decile. could be interesting… wonder what we’d find…

  111. William Oakley says:

    Scott… Fucking brilliant on CNN. Keep it up (Hell, I know you will). As a late entrant into academics after 3 decades in global marketing, I went into a time machine back 30 gaddam years. Love, LOVE the students, but man, we are not serving them correctly

  112. Peter Martin says:

    great article. very much true – unfortunately.

  113. Glenn says:

    Prof: Please run – very publicly – for some sort of political office. I’m sure you’d hate the sausage-making, but it might be the best way to make your sense much more common.

    • Mlamuli says:

      But you had Bernie Sanders run and fall pretty hard; Prof G will fall even if he runs because he keeps it too real and won’t have Super PACs to buy his voice

  114. Jeff says:

    Crushed it on CNN. Anderson looked both immersed and unarmed for any counterpoint. Adding: the disruption will not stop at the collegiate level; think of private schools who charge $25K a year for 12 years! The reckoning may be a return of wealthy student volumes and parent engagement that reform public school education for the better.

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