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Commencement speeches.  Most are full of platitudes, “Change the world!” or “Do what you’re passionate about!”  For these kinds of speeches, I recommend doing what I did at my own commencement - sleep through it.

A few tell you what life is really about.  Intrinsic motivation.  Human psychology.  Perspective and humility.  Serendipity and conviction.  Most importantly, holding these values even if they go against social norms.  

The good speeches make me say, “How come no one told me that?”

The rare, useful commencement speeches tell you about the hard lessons that would take you twenty years to learn.  This stuff is so good you should hear it before starting university.  College is an opportunity to prepare yourself for your adult life.  Most people, myself included, just wandered through, having fun, hoping to get a job at the end.  

The speeches below sparked my curiosity.  If I heard these nuggets of wisdom before I started school, I could have taken classes that answered those questions.  In school, I had all these resources available.

Instead, you’re on a path that you chose when you were seventeen or eighteen years old.  You take classes because they’re part of a major that you have very little clue about.  You’re making career decisions before you understand what your values are.  No wonder people focus on increasing optionality.

Spark people’s interest before college.  Let that interest be a guide to pursue the right course for them.

Bill Waterson, Kenyon College, 1990
David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College, 2005
Steve Jobs, Stanford, 2005
Charlie Munger, USC Law, 2007
Charlie Munger, Harvard Law, 1995
Michael Burry, UCLA, 2012