336. How to Educate Your Children | Jeff Sandefer

    To prevent the 4% of people with Dark Tetrad traits from bringing down a cooperative system, it's necessary to maintain a balance of tough-mindedness and warmheartedness. Recognizing their manipulative behavior is crucial to keeping them in check.

    enMarch 02, 2023

    About this Episode

    Dr Jordan B Peterson and Jeff Sandefer discuss the k-12 education machine, its origins and failures, and how the Acton Academies are making leaps to correct the system.


    Jeff Sandefer is an entrepreneur and Socratic teacher. He started his first business at 16 and graduated from Harvard Business School. Jeff has started and runs many successful companies, his most recent being Sandefer Capital Partners, an oil and gas investment firm with several billion dollars in assets. He has also started multiple academic programs and schools, such as the Acton School of Business, whose students were named the “most competitive MBA’s in the nation” by the Princeton Review. This has since extended into k-12 with the Acton Academy, a cutting-edge program that blends a one-room schoolhouse, the Socratic Method, and 21st-century technology to empower each student to change the world.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Jeff Sandifer believes that education is crucial in developing incentives and work ethic in students, and Acton Academy's K-12 program blends traditional and modern methods to empower students in changing the world.
    • The Socratic method is a teaching strategy that guides individuals to make decisions based on a presented case. Through two questions, learners can understand the consequences and become courageous decision-makers.
    • Questioning and exploring doubts can lead to personal transformation and success. Pursue competence over prestige and socratically explore with others. Be like Joe Rogan and ask the questions that matter.
    • Admitting ignorance and asking "stupid" questions is essential for learning and growth. Offering choices and challenging curriculums attracts more students, leading to success in both personal and professional endeavors.
    • Alternative education methods may be more effective in fostering individual vision, and traditional schooling may have been created to produce obedient soldiers rather than encourage creativity and innovation in students.
    • Education was once designed to produce obedient workers, but in today's world, it's important to help each child find their special talent and pursue it. Acton Academy believes every child is a genius with a unique calling.
    • Children can achieve great things with a compelling reason, tribe, and freedom to explore. The McKayla School teaches a broad range of cognitive abilities, emphasizing self-management, self-governance, and real-life skills to prepare students for top universities.
    • Montessori education emphasizes meaningful work and play, prepares children for real-world challenges, and rewards progress and conduct through constructive evaluation, leading to personal growth and better performance.
    • It's crucial to provide children with freedom, responsibility, and positive feedback, while also maintaining structure and teaching formal subjects. A growth mindset, where children are encouraged to learn at their own pace, can lead to successful education outcomes.
    • Start with fun and engaging literature like comic books before moving on to more complex texts. Implement a badging system for peer review and evaluation to promote quality literature and accountability. This approach has resulted in a zero failure rate and instilled a joy for reading in students.
    • To prevent the 4% of people with Dark Tetrad traits from bringing down a cooperative system, it's necessary to maintain a balance of tough-mindedness and warmheartedness. Recognizing their manipulative behavior is crucial to keeping them in check.
    • Early socialization can significantly reduce aggressive behavior in children, while societal factors play a critical role in shaping an individual's behavior. Despite inequality in creative domains, everyone can make valuable contributions, and resilience is essential in developing a strong mindset.
    • Practicing gratitude is a courageous moral virtue that can help overcome distractions and prioritize focus. Apprenticeships offer valuable opportunities for self-management and self-governance, demonstrating worth and value in society.
    • As a mentor, it's important to offer guidance and support without overstepping boundaries. Encourage the apprentice to find their own path and focus on leading by example through personal growth.
    • Allowing both children and the elderly to be independent and take responsibility for their actions is crucial in promoting success and retaining dignity. It's essential to experiment with different motivational systems to better regulate behavior and find better ways of governance during times of community collapse.
    • Allowing individuals to take the lead and fostering competition can lead to effective problem-solving and organization. Follow Jeff Sandefer's example by stepping back and letting others take charge.
    • Embrace the unknown and prioritize critical thinking by adopting a curious mindset. This will enable you to engage in productive discussions and explore more holistic problem-solving approaches, leading to more effective decision-making.
    • Good governance requires individuals to take responsibility for themselves and their immediate surroundings. Inequality can be addressed by providing diverse options rather than aiming for equality. Contributing meaningfully and being a good person are ultimate measures of success.
    • Careful management of money is crucial to avoiding vices. Consider alternatives to traditional college education, recognizing both costs and potential benefits beyond just academic training.
    • Higher education costs are steep, but some campuses are exploring alternatives to deliver high-quality academic outcomes. Well-designed institutions promote autonomy among participants and emphasize learning over education.
    • This education system emphasizes critical thinking, practical skills, and individual agency, while also prioritizing economic, religious, and political freedom. It encourages action rather than victim mentality, and fair debate to prevent ideological capture.
    • Making a meaningful impact requires taking action and dedicating oneself to a cause, rather than relying on simplistic or reactive narratives about social inequalities. Genuine moral virtue requires effort and dedication.
    • The Academy offers challenges to help individuals find their purpose and confidently plan for the future. They are conducting an experiment to find patterns and attract young adults to develop actionable visions for their lives.
    • A program focused on storytelling and archetypes may lead to people discovering their passions and meeting future partners, creating new pathways to success for young people all over the world.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Empowering Students Through Education with Jeff Sandifer

    This conversation with Jeff Sandifer, an entrepreneur and educator, discusses his background and experience in childhood education. Sandifer is the founder of the Acton Academy, a K-12 program that blends the one room schoolhouse, the Socratic method and 21st century technology to empower students in changing the world. Sandifer's entrepreneurial spirit began at a young age when he started his first business at 16 years old, and by age 26 he had developed an oil and gas investment firm with several billion dollars in assets. This conversation highlights the importance of education and providing opportunities for students to develop their own incentives and work ethic.

    Understanding the Socratic Method for Decision Making

    The Socratic method is a teaching strategy that encourages individuals to understand what to do next and why. A case is presented, and learners are asked to make a decision based on the dilemma, trade-offs, and moral choices. In this strategy, there are two questions: Would you do A or B? What do you mean by A? The entire goal is to help individuals make decisions and understand the consequences. The strategy is also useful in learning how to become courageous and implement decisions. Through a diverse set of cases, one can find commonalities and understand the underlying principles.

    The Power of Exploration and Questioning in Finding One's Path

    In this conversation, Jordan Peterson and Jeff Sandefer discuss the importance of questioning and exploring in order to find one's path in life. Sandefer shares how he was lost and unsure of what to do with his life, but instead of chasing prestige, he chose to pursue competence and socratically explore with a group of others. This led to his own internal transformation and the founding of the successful schools with his wife. Peterson highlights the importance of honest questioning and pursuing doubts as they contain the seeds of progress. This is exemplified by Joe Rogan's success as a media figure who simply asks the questions he himself has.

    The Value of Asking Honest and Fair Questions in Personal and Professional Growth

    In this conversation between Jordan Peterson and Jeff Sandefer, they discuss the power of asking honest and fair questions, and the importance of admitting ignorance and asking "stupid" questions in order to learn and grow. Peterson and Sandefer also highlight the success of their entrepreneurship program, which focused on offering students choices and a challenging curriculum, ultimately attracting more students and teaching a quarter of them. This conversation emphasizes the value of humility, curiosity, and a willingness to admit ignorance and ask questions in both personal and professional growth.

    Jeff Sandefer's Alternative Education Journey

    Jeff Sandefer and his partner were fired from their teaching positions at the University of Texas because of their teaching style. However, they continued their work by teaching a class off-campus, which grew into an MBA program that won various awards and was eventually accredited. Sandefer's experience with his own children's education led him to question traditional schooling methods and consider alternative education options. This supports the idea that the public education system was originally created to produce obedient soldiers, and may not necessarily foster individual vision in students.

    The Evolution of Education: From Obedience to Individuality

    The public education system was created to produce disciplined, obedient workers for industrialization. The system was adopted by the United States and Japan and led to the militarization of Japan and the outbreak of WWII. However, in today's post-industrial world, the obedient worker/soldier model may not be the best for human development. Acton Academy in Austin, Texas was created with a different approach to education. Every child who enters the school is believed to be a genius who deserves to find a calling that will change the world. The school's mission is to help each child find their special talent and pursue it, regardless of IQ or societal expectations.

    The Incredible Capabilities of Children and the McKayla School Approach

    Children are capable of far more than we imagine. Regardless of IQ, if we provide people with a compelling reason and a tribe, they can learn and achieve incredible things. The McKayla school in the UK teaches children with a broad range of cognitive abilities at a high rate, and 75% of their graduates get accepted to top universities. Jeff Sandefer's approach requires children to participate in their own self-organization and emphasizes self-management, self-governance, and building a culture. By providing children with choices and experimenting, they can learn by doing and find a balance between freedom and responsibility. The experience for the youngest children is similar to Montessori-like learning to do real work.

    The Benefits of Montessori Education

    The Montessori method emphasizes meaningful work and play for children of all ages. As children mature, their games become more like real-world occupations, giving them the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle real-world challenges. This starts as early as age 11 or 12, when apprenticeships can begin. The method also upholds high standards of attainment and rewards progress, effort, and conduct through badges, public exhibitions, and 360 peer reviews. This evaluation process is important for both children and adults as it helps give and receive valid criticism in a constructive way, ultimately leading to personal growth and better overall performance.

    The Importance of Positive Criticism and a Growth Mindset in Education

    The conversation discusses the importance of positive criticism and separating the good from the bad. They mention a successful school that uses a growth mindset and gives children more freedom and responsibility. The school focuses on play, but also teaches formal subjects such as reading and math using tools like Khan Academy. The speakers stress that children learn at their own pace and that parents should be patient. The school has expanded to many locations and is constantly improving its model through a decentralized network of contributors.

    How to Teach Literacy with Jeff Sandefer and Jordan Peterson

    In this conversation, education experts Jeff Sandefer and Jordan Peterson discuss how to teach literacy. Sandefer suggests that children shouldn't start with difficult classics, but instead begin with comic books and magazines. This can help children develop a love for reading before moving onto more complex texts, such as Harry Potter, Democracy in America, and War and Peace. Sandefer also emphasizes the importance of peer review and evaluation through a badging system, where students pitch books they've read and earn recognition based on their efforts. This system encourages students to choose quality literature and reflect on its impact, while also promoting accountability through audits and peer review. Ultimately, Sandefer's approach has resulted in a zero failure rate for literacy, aside from dyslexic students, and has instilled a joy for reading in his students.

    Controlling Free Rider Narcissists in a Micro-Society

    In a micro-society, it is necessary to have control mechanisms to prevent free rider narcissistics from taking over. The "Dark Tetrad" traits of machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism are prevalent in about 4% of the population, and they can be parasitic predators who game the system to attract credit for themselves without putting in any work. While cooperative systems work 96% of the time, the 4% of people with these traits are toxic and can bring the whole system down. This means that some level of tough-mindedness is required to keep the free riders at bay, while also maintaining warmheartedness and encouraging actual attainment. The community must learn to recognize the small lies and game-playing behavior of these individuals to help prevent them from taking over the system.

    The Impact of Socialization and Society on Behavior

    Children who display aggressive behavior at age two have a high chance of being socialized by age four, significantly reducing their aggressive tendencies. However, those who are not socialized by age four have a higher chance of becoming bullies, delinquents, and even criminals. The culture and society play a crucial role in shaping an individual's behavior and level of conscientiousness. The 80/20 rule states that 20% of individuals in a particular area produce 80% of the results, which drives inequality in creative domains. However, there is a diverse range of potential contributions that one can make, and stories of resilience and overcoming obstacles are crucial to developing a strong mindset.

    Prioritizing Gratitude Over Victimhood to Achieve Focus

    Distraction vs. focus is a matter of prioritization. If victimhood is the focus, then gratitude is the only antidote. Gratitude is not the naive belief that the world is a perfect place. It's a practice and a moral virtue, which requires courage to find light in even the darkest place. Young people need to learn how to build a society, self-manage, self-govern, and treat other human beings. Apprenticeships provide a significant opportunity for children to demonstrate their worth by showing up early, working late, washing floors, and proving themselves. The success rate of apprenticeships is high, indicating that unlike Marxist theory, people want to be valued, not exploited.

    The Apprenticeship Relationship: Navigating the Fine Line Between Exploitative and Gratifying

    The relationship between an apprentice and their mentor can be exploitative, but it can also be a source of human gratification. This is because the ability to act as a parent proxy is present in all of us, and it's attractive to offer someone the opportunity to establish a relationship with someone younger and foster their development. However, there's also a self-interested aspect to the mentor offering their generosity. The best way to approach this kind of relationship is to give the apprentice the tools to find something that matters in their life and serve someone else. It's also crucial to refrain from over-parenting or intervening too much. Instead, focus on being a good role model and working on yourself.

    The Importance of Letting Go and Fostering Autonomy in Both Children and the Elderly

    The section discusses the difficulty parents face in letting go of their children and allowing them to become independent. Overprotective parenting can lead to narcissism and inhibit a child's success. It is important to foster autonomy in children and encourage them to do things on their own. The same approach should be applied to caring for elderly individuals, as it helps them retain their dignity and responsibility. The section also highlights the importance of developing a positive community ethos and experimenting with different motivational systems to regulate behavior. A collapse in the community should be viewed as an opportunity to try new approaches and find better governance structures.

    A New Model for Organizing a Studio and Interpersonal Communication

    Jeff Sandefer shares a powerful way to organize a studio that he discovered while working as a guide in a middle school. After he was asked to leave, the studio broke down and lost its effectiveness. However, upon his return, he found that the students had taken masking tape to divide the studio into eight city-states with different governance systems, and people were voting with their feet on where to reside. This competition between invitations turned out to be an incredibly effective model for organizing the studio. Sandefer credits his ability to step back and let the students take the lead to his experience with Socratic teaching and micro routines. Jordan Peterson notes that this approach is useful in interpersonal communication as well, allowing individuals to properly identify and solve problems.

    The Power of Curiosity in Learning and Problem-Solving

    Being curious instead of always trying to be right can lead to life-changing revelations and open up an infinite landscape of learning. By embracing what we don't know and learning to be friends with it, we can prioritize critical thinking, engage in Socratic discussions, and explore the entire problem set. This approach can be applied in various fields and can lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making.

    The Importance of Distributed Responsibility and Nested Games in Good Governance

    Good governance involves distributed responsibility and nested games, where at every level, individuals are responsible for themselves and their immediate surroundings. This is the opposite of a totalitarian system where every person lies all the time. In a well-governed system, the answer to inequality isn't equality but rather a diverse range of options where the distribution of inequality is normal. Additionally, the ultimate measure of success is not just making money but contributing something meaningful, being a good person, and having loved and been loved. It is important to prioritize these moral choices and self-rank in different ways to become who one was meant to be.

    The Importance of Being Careful with Money and Reconsidering the Value of College

    Money can be an enabler of vice, so it is important to be careful with it. Acton Academy offers a unique approach to education, but for those interested in a smaller step towards entrepreneurship, the Children's Business Fair is a great option. Many colleges are seen as being more about prestige than competence, and as a result, people are beginning to see college as a tool that may or may not be necessary. College can serve other purposes, such as providing a transition point, establishing a new group of peers, and helping people find a mate, but it is important to recognize the high cost and potential drawbacks.

    The Traditional Model of Higher Education is Being Challenged by Distance Learning and Rising Costs.

    The traditional model of higher education is being threatened by distance learning and the high cost of education. The cost of public education is estimated to be north of $32,000 per student annually and can range up to much more than that. The education system is not an efficient system, with a ratio of five adults to one student. However, there are successful campuses that are running at a much lower cost due to their ability to create alternatives that deliver extraordinary academic outcomes. Education is not the same as learning, and if the institution is well-constituted, maximal autonomy on the part of the participants is produced.

    The success and scalability of a practical education system

    This conversation between Jordan Peterson and Jeff Sandefer highlights the success and scalability of their education system, which emphasizes six-week quests and practical skills rather than rote memorization. Additionally, they prioritize economic, religious, and political freedom and emphasize fair debate to prevent ideological capture. While they advocate for tolerance and acceptance of different sexual orientations and temperaments, they do not condone victim mentality and encourage individuals to take action to address their challenges. Overall, their system offers an effective model for education that values critical thinking, practical skills, and individual agency.

    The Pitfalls of Victimhood Narratives and the Importance of Personal Agency

    In this conversation, Jordan Peterson and Jeff Sandefer discuss the pitfalls of victimhood narratives and the importance of taking personal agency to address injustices. They also question simplistic analyses of social inequalities, emphasizing that wealth and age do not necessarily equate to advantage, and that the pursuit of genuine moral virtue requires dedicating one's life to a cause. Sandefer also talks about his moonshot project in higher education, highlighting the need for innovative approaches to tackle complex problems. To make a meaningful impact, individuals must take action and dedicate themselves to a cause, rather than relying on simplistic or reactive narratives.

    Discovering your Next Adventure with The Academy

    The Academy is focused on helping people discover their next great adventure in life by creating a series of challenges that can be done alone or in a group. These challenges are designed to help people figure out what to do with their lives next. The end goal is for participants to be able to stand in a room full of people they have invited and confidently announce their plans for the future. The Academy is running a grand experiment to see if they can find patterns of how people stumble into an adventure or calling, and they plan to use the results to attract high school and college-aged individuals. The aim is to provide people with methods to develop a vision for their life that's actionable, just like in the Future Authoring Program.

    Jeff Sandefer and Jordan Peterson discuss a new approach to finding one's calling

    Jeff Sandefer and Jordan Peterson discuss the need for a bottom-up approach to finding one's calling, as traditional colleges are no longer helping individuals in this regard. The two envision a program where high school and college students come together to do challenges, which may lead to people discovering their passions and even meeting their future partners. This program would be focused on storytelling and archetypes, aimed at helping individuals on the ongoing humble search for continued enlightenment. While the experiment may not be perfect, both Sandefer and Peterson see it as a necessary step towards creating new pathways to success for young people all over the world.

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    Website https://www.tor.dk/


    Article “We Are Waking Up” : https://www.tor.dk/2019/05/06/we-are-waking-up/


    440. Looking Back on the Campaign, and Forward for the Country | Vivek Ramaswamy

    440. Looking Back on the Campaign, and Forward for the Country | Vivek Ramaswamy

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to discuss the recent suspension of his campaign, how he fought the traditional media’s best advances against him, who he is endorsing now, and the American values he seeks to defend going forward.


    Vivek Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur, author, and political activist. Vivek has been making headlines since announcing his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, running on a platform in part to dismantle the expansive and corrupt bureaucracy that has seeped into nearly all facets of American government. Prior to this, Ramaswamy was the founder and CEO of the biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences. Leaving in 2021, he published “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam.” In 2022, he co-founded Strive Asset Management with Anson Frericks, which focuses on an alternative to the now-pushed ESG investment framework. That same year Ramaswamy published “Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence”

    and has since been deemed one of the “Intellectual Godfathers of the anti-woke movement.”



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Vivek Ramaswamy:


    On X https://twitter.com/VivekGRamaswamy?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor


    On Youtube https://www.youtube.com/@vivek-2024 

    439. Microplastics, Global Greening, & the Dangers of Radical Alarmism | Dr. Patrick Moore

    439. Microplastics, Global Greening, & the Dangers of Radical Alarmism | Dr. Patrick Moore

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with industry consultant, science activist, and past president of Greenpeace Canada (1971 to 1986), Dr. Patrick Moore. They discuss his time in Greenpeace, the historic timeline of global ice ages and climate change, the clear lies being peddled to promote alarmism, and how the woke left manipulates science (and scientists) to promote a falsely perceived and politically incentivized future catastrophe.


    Dr. Patrick Moore has been a leader in the international environmental field for more than 45 years. He is a co-founder of Greenpeace and served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International. As the leader of many campaigns Dr. Moore was a driving force shaping policy and direction for 15 years while Greenpeace became the world's largest environmental activist organization.


    In recent years, Dr. Moore has been focused on the promotion of sustainability and consensus building among competing concerns. He was a member of the British Columbia government-appointed Round Table on the Environment and Economy from 1990 - 1994. In 1990, Dr. Moore founded and chaired the BC Carbon Project, a group that worked to develop a common understanding of climate change.


    In 2021 Dr. Moore published "Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom" exposing the fake news and fake science around 11 claims of disaster including climate change, coral reefs, polar bears, plastic, nuclear energy, and more.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Dr. Patrick Moore:


    On X https://twitter.com/ecosensenow?lang=en


    “Fake Invisible Catastrophes And Threats of Doom” (Book) https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Invisible-Catastrophes-Threats-Doom-ebook/dp/B08T6FFY6S/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=fake+invisible+catastrophe&qid=1612915229&s=digital-text&sr=1-1