Being A Pracademic

Hey everybody,

I came across this term called "pracademics," and going by the philosophy of this newsletter — which is to help us become better, happier, healthier, sharper, and more productive individuals — the concept of being a pracademic struck a chord with me.

Wikipedia defines a pracademic as "someone who is both an academic and an active practitioner in their subject area." As I read this, it reminded of something that Taleb once said — It's better to be a Roman amongst Greeks and a Greek amongst Romans. The Greeks loved theories and the Romans only loved practicing things.

So, when you're a Greek among Romans, you bring a unique value to the table because you're able to influence others with your novel, different approach, forcing them to consider deep, theoretical foundations and not just practice. Similarly, when you're a Roman among Greeks, you put others' theories to test by actually practicing them in real life, which is, in itself, of huge value.

A pracademic — I think — combines the best of both worlds and, in the above analogy, would mean that you're a Greco-Roman at all times, in whatever it is that you do.

This concept reminds me of the common criticism made against business schools, which is that, a professor (who hasn't made millions themself) teaching you how to make millions is probably wrong. This is probably true.

Academics teaching practice and practitioners teaching academics may not entirely work, but academicians teaching academics and practitioners teaching practice will most likely work. Einstein was a theoretical physicist, and he was deliberate about that. This shows that it's not that being a pracademic is intrinsically superior than being a practitioner or an academic. Rather, it's to say that a pracademic, an academic, and a practitioner all serve different purposes.

Had Einstein been forced to become an experimental physicist (if he thought that practice was superior to theory), the world would probably have been a different place. However, Einstein knew his inclinations; he stuck to academics, and he transformed the world of science.

I understand that the "T model" of knowledge or the "Pi model" of knowledge seem enticing to aspire for. It's equally enticing to be a pracademic, more than an academic or practitioner. But at the same time, it's incredibly important to understand that we need to make a deliberate choice about the following:

  1. Being a Greek,
  2. Being a Roman,
  3. Being a Greek among Romans,
  4. Being a Roman among Greeks, or
  5. Being a Greco-Roman.

Just some ideas, in addition to the multipotentialite edition shared last week, to spur some creative thoughts. :)

Until next time,


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