Aid to Evaluating Your Accomplishments

part of Career Guide for Engineers and Scientists
Compare yourself to these four ordinary people who were selected at random:

Heart Patient Ernest Shackleton

After his ship Endurance was crushed in the Antarctic pack ice, took his crew 600 miles to Elephant Island. Sailed with a small team in an open boat 700 miles to South Georgia Island through waters listed as unnavigable by the United States Navy. Retrieved crew on Elephant Island. One man lost a toe to frostbite. Compare with Scott.

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University Dropout Carl Friedrich Gauss

By the age of 21, he had constructed a regular 17-gon by ruler and compasses, the most major advance in this field since the time of the Greeks. Subsequently developed method of least squares, normal probability distribution, Fast Fourier Transform, and a non-Euclidean geometry.

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English Youth John Stuart Mill

Was able to read Greek and Latin at age 3.

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Corsican Lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte

Conquered most of Europe and Egypt. Emancipated the Jews throughout Europe.

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Programmed by Eve Astrid Andersson and Philip Greenspun back in the mid-1990s. If you're a nerd, you might find the source code useful.

Original Inspiration: How to Make Yourself Miserable, by Dan Greenburg


philg@mit.edu