Adam Savage (Host of Mythbusters) Tells Sarah Lawrence Grads to Think Broadly … and Don’t Work for Fools

Adam Savage was born in New York City, not far from Sarah Lawrence College, the liberal arts school where he delivered the commencement speech this past weekend. Savage never went to Sarah Lawrence. Nor did he finish his own degree at NYU. But he had plenty to tell the graduating class. On his own web site, Savage calls himself “a maker of things.” As a kid, he made his own toys. As a young adult, he began experimenting with special effects for films, then served stints as an “animator, graphic designer, rigger, stage and interior designer, carpenter, scenic painter, welder, actor, writer, and television host.” (Perhaps you have seen his popular Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters.) In short, Savage is a “collector of skills, a polymath. How did he get this way? By casting his intellectual net widely and by continuing to learn throughout life — which is pretty much what we’re all about here. There’s a lot of good advice in this short, feel-good speech. Some of my favorite bits include:

“Don’t work for fools. It’s not worth it. Getting paid less to work for people you like and believe in is much better for you (and your career) in the long run.”

“Stay obsessed. That thing you can’t stop thinking about? Keep indulging it. Obsession is the better part of success. You will be great at the things that you can’t not do.”

“F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby and is one of our national treasures. A true giant of writing.The silliest thing he ever wrote is the quote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” This is insane. If there’s one thing that typifies the American experience it is that reinvention and rebirth are intrinsic to it. Raymond Chandler didn’t write a single word of any consequence until his 40s. Julia Child learned to cook at 40! Clint Eastwood directed his first film at 41. Don’t be afraid to be a late bloomer. Repeatedly.”

Good thoughts, all of them. You can find the full transcript here. H/T @opedr

More Commencement Speeches: 

‘This Is Water’: Complete Audio of David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon Graduation Speech (2005)

Conan O’Brien Kills It at Dartmouth Graduation

J.K. Rowling Tells Harvard Grads Why Success Begins with Failure



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