Video: David Brooks and a stagehand discuss universities

Last night, David Brooks gave the Weatherspoon lecture in the business school. Although David is mainly a political commentator, his new book, The Social Animal, is more about human behavior and neuroscience. His talk was funny and insightful, and the audience loved it.

The timing of his visit was pretty amazing.

The morning after his talk, his column addressed the attributes of universities, and how they could be a model for American competitiveness. Many of the things he says in his column are similar to the themes in the innovation roadmap and Engines of Innovation, which I wrote with Buck Goldstein.

In the column, Brooks points out that universities do two things: create an environment

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and attract talent. This same strategy is what will strengthen America and create jobs.

And the president (or chancellor) of the university is “just a stagehand.” He was worried I would be offended by that, but it is exactly what I’ve been saying. Now if I can just remember where I left that wrench.

We had fun talking about all this: