Wealth & Poverty Review Life Advice from George Gilder

George Gilder recently gave the commencement address for The King’s College graduating class of 2014, offering them advice for a fruitful life as they enter the real world, start seriously considering their life priorities, and continue to carve the path to their goals. Here are Gilder’s three central life lessons that he gave in his address:

  1. Don’t solve problems–pursue opportunity. “When we solve problems, most of the time we just restore the status quo. Solving problems, we feed our failures, we starve our strengths, and achieve costly mediocrity. . . When you pursue opportunity, you can change the entire context of the problem–so it goes away. You transcend the problem, and address it on a new plane. You look at your faith, rather than at your feet.”
  2. Don’t merely be efficient–be effective. Be willing to take risks, make mistakes as you go, and leap before you look. “Far more important than doing things right is finding the right things to do . . . It’s the imaginative leap that gives you the vantage to see new things, new opportunities.”
  3. Reject the materialist superstition. Many hold to the idea that our whole lives are nothing but fluctuations of material, and that the age-old problems of the world—poverty, violence, crime, hatred, war—can be solved by materialistic solutions. This thinking sets limits how we approach the world, and our effectiveness in it. “Almost 50 years ago, I began studying the problem of poverty in America. I planned a book, to be called The Pursuit of Poverty, that would explain poverty. Following the view of Daniel Patrick Flannigan, I reached the conclusion that the breakdown of the family was the source of most of the poverty and disorder in the inner city. I also discovered that the problem of poverty itself doesn’t need to be explained, really. Poverty has been the affliction of most of the human race ever since the Stone Age. What needs to be explained is wealth. So I changed the name of the book to Wealth and Poverty.”

Watch Gilder’s full speech below: