Who are you?

Question: Who are you?

Andrew Kohut: It’s Andrew Kohut.

Question: Where are you from and how has that shaped you?

 

Andrew Kohut: I’m from New Jersey – from Northern New Jersey. I was born in Newark. I was raised in Bergen County. That’s where I went to college. That’s where I went to graduate school. I would get a real dose of reality check in Northern New Jersey, so I guess that was quite helpful. I don’t know. I mean I think that New Jersey and Bergen County in particular in the 1950s and early ‘60s was very much . . . very typical of post-war America when all was stable and . .. and . . . . and the issues were only about whether the Yankees would win a . . . yet another World Series. And you know everything seemed very stable and kind of boring. Conformity was the big issue. Have Americans turned conformist? “The Organization Man” was one of the big books . . .one of the first big books . . . big . . . big think books, so to speak, that I read. And “The Hidden Persuaders” and Vance Packard and all of this concern about corporate power, and concern about . . . about the . . . the fact that young people and society at large wasn’t very rebellious and very imaginative, perhaps. And 1950s Bergen County was pretty typical of a place that . . . a part of the world that was booming after the Second World War with veterans starting their families and raising their families. And I . . . I was raised in a blue collar environment. And I learned about hard work, and I learned to . . . It was always emphasized that a good education and . . . and trying to achieve things was the way to lead your life.

Question: What did you think you'd be doing professionally when you were growing up?

Andrew Kohut: I had no idea. I went to college, you know, because I was . . . thought . . . I was told that that was the right thing to do. I sort of ambled through that. I was not very interested in it. I was not a very good student. And then I got interested in . . . In about my third or fourth year, I got interested in sociology. And I started reading . . . It was more social psychology that interested me. I started reading about the way you could take measurements and capture attitudes about . . . and personality types and people’s dispositions. And there was a famous psychological battery that intrigued me. It was called the Adorno Scale. And what it did was it measured people’s predisposition to fascism, and how authoritarian they were, and how biased and bigoted they were. It was used . . . developed during the war in some way to calibrate the Nazi way of thinking. And I read this, and there were all of these questions. And I said, “My god, you can actually measure stuff like this.” And it intrigued me. And so then I became a little bit interested in . . . in pursuing . . . pursuing sociology. And I went to graduate school and I met some really great professors who . . . I was mostly interested in social methodology. The idea of being able to measure opinions, and attitudes, and quantitatively examine social issues really caught my attention. And that was what got me going doing what I do.

Recorded on: 9/14/07

In college Kohut was drawn to the idea that attitudes, opinions, and personality types could be measured.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Kosovo land swap could end conflict – or restart war

Best case: Redrawing borders leads to peace, prosperity and EU membership. But there's also a worst case.

Image: SRF
Strange Maps
  • The Yugoslav Wars started in 1991, but never really ended.
  • Kosovo and Serbia are still enemies, and they're getting worse.
  • A proposed land swap could create peace – or reignite the conflict.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

Videos
  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.