To Mister Eric Barker

Subject: To Mister Eric Barker
From: A person who needs answers
Date: 21 May 2017

This is in light of the your recently published article entitled "Wondering What Happened to Your Class Valedictorian? Not Much, Research Shows", which can be found here:

It is undeniable that this article has a grain of truth to it. There are facts properly backed up by research, but what went wrong? Why am I here writing an open letter?

First and foremost, I believe the title is completely misleading. What do you mean by saying that "nothing much" has happened to those academic achievers, while at the same time, also writing that "Nearly 90 percent are now in professional careers with 40 percent in the highest tier jobs. They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives." ?

Is leading a "good life" really "nothing much" ? Or does this imply that you assume that they got there without a sweat, and that they make no extra effort in trying to improve the world? Isn't this too much of an understatement?

Second, I'd like to quote the line "So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life?" How do you define being "number one" in real life? Is it through what you call "earthshaking accomplishments?" Is it only measured by one's wealth, social status, or popularity? Do we really need to shake the earth to be able to lead a meaningful life?

Third, what is the goal of this article? Is it to discourage people from trying to do well in school, since it makes them less likely to excel in real life? There are too many factors in real life, including privilege, opportunity, and even luck. So I think this correlation is too simplistic.

Lastly, is being at the top, or excelling in the real world really a significant question to ask? Wouldn't it be better to delve into whether those people are living a happy and fulfilled life? And more importantly, perhaps, whether they are able to make the people around them happy? Isn't this the true measure of being of service to the world?