Chapter 9Call to Action!

Vice President Zhang Jiyong of Beijing Open University recently held a graduation ceremony for 94-year-old Lu Juzhong. In her graduation speech, she said that learning brought vitality to her old life and made it possible for her to broaden her horizons. Although life may be limited, the acquisition of knowledge is an endless process, she said, adding that “she would set up a new learning plan and apply herself to the gaining of new knowledge throughout her life.”1

Yu Zhiwen

What's amazing is, if young people understood how doing well in school makes the rest of their life so much [more] interesting, they would be more motivated. It's so far away in time that they can't appreciate what it means for their whole life.2

Bill Gates

A December 2014 New York Times article reported that “even with the economy's recent improvement, the share of working-age adults who are working is substantially lower than a decade ago—and lower than any point in the 1990s.”3 The same month, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported the findings from a New York Times/Kaiser Foundation/CBS News poll: “While the official U.S. unemployment rate has declined since the start of the recession in late 2007, the total share of adults who are not employed has risen in recent years.”4

Why is that happening?

One reason is that work itself is changing. It has been changing for quite a while now, but like everything else today, the changes are becoming increasingly rapid. Many of the jobs ...

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