Terrence Tao’s Career Advice page

Anyone getting ready to move to the next part of your educational or working career, check this page out! What a great resource, and not just for math people.

I remember first reading about Dr. Tao in Ken Robinson’s book The Element, where the author notes how early Terrence Tao was able to connect with his calling in life. He was a child prodigy who originally learned his basic English and arithmetic from watching Sesame Street (at the age of two, at a family gathering, he was already attempting to teach what he knew to someone three years older). He’s received all kinds of awards and got full professorship at UCLA at the age of 24.

What I love is that his name is Tao, translating to “the way” in Chinese, a term that is foundational in Chinese philosophy. For all of his brilliance, Dr. Tao puts recurring emphasis on the value of effort over that of natural intelligence. You don’t need to be a genius to contribute to make significant contributions to mathematics, or any other field, for that matter.

You have to be willing to work at it, hard — that’s the fundamental requirement for accomplishment. Even true geniuses say that it is the way.

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