I recently attended a lecture at the Rotman School of Business by Sylvia Nasar, author of the book (made into a movie) A Beautiful Mind . She was speaking about her new book , Grand Pursuit, The Story of Economic Genius. It describes the history of money and people, economic efficiency, social justice, and individual liberty.
A group of MBA students sat around me. Their exchanges were interesting. A young woman said she was looking forward to being moved by the lecturer so that she could shift her student mind out of mathematical equations. Two male students behind me held opposite views from each other. One said he attended these lectures regularly to broaden his mind and expand his perspective; the other was attending for the first time and worried that he was wasting hours better spent studying in order to be first in his class so he could win coveted interviews for a lucrative position after graduation.
The sum of their exchanges was the very reason for my being at this lecture. I’m excited by people compelled to look beyond the bottom line and into a broader, more socially interested contract with society. Our jobs and work life are important, but only one factor in our overall contribution to life.
When the lecture was over I offered my thanks to the author for her work. Her reply, “oh, yeah, ten years of my life…”sounded to me like an effort that had taken more from her reserve than she had anticipated. It made her effort that much more an act of love for humanity.