What made Dr. K memorable was a gimmick he employed that began with his introduction at the beginning of his first class:
“Now I know some of you have already heard of me, but for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar, let me explain how I teach. Between today until the class right before finals, it is my intention to work into each of my lectures … one lie. Your job, as students, among other things, is to try and catch me in the Lie of the Day.”
Early in the quarter, the Lie of the Day was usually obvious – immediately triggering a forest of raised hands to challenge the falsehood. Dr. K would smile, draw a line through that section of the board, and utter his trademark phrase “Very good! In fact, the opposite is true. Moving on … ”
As the quarter progressed, the Lie of the Day became more subtle, and many ended up slipping past a majority of the students unnoticed until a particularly alert person stopped the lecture to flag the disinformation.
On the days when nobody caught the lie, we all sat in silence, looking at each other as Dr. K, looking quite pleased with himself, said with a sly grin: “Ah ha! Each of you has one falsehood in your lecture notes. Discuss amongst yourselves what it might be, and I will tell you next Monday. That is all.”
And while my knowledge of the Economics of Capital Markets has faded in time, the lessons that stayed with me were his real legacy:
“Experts” can be wrong, and say things that sound right – so build a habit of evaluating new information and check it against things you already accept as fact.
If you see something wrong, take the initiative to flag it as misinformation.
A sense of playfulness is the best defense against taking yourself too seriously.