What you should know

“A young man should be computer literate, and moreover should know Hemingway from James Joyce. He should know how to drive a car well - such as is not covered in "Driver Ed." He should know how to fly a light airplane. He should know how to shoot well. He should know elementary geography, both worldwide and local. He should have a cursory knowledge of both zoology and botany. He should know the fundamentals of agriculture and corporate economy. He should be well qualified in armed combat, boxing, wrestling, judo, or the equivalent. He should know how to manage a motorcycle. He should be comfortable in at least one foreign language, and more if appropriate to his background. He should be familiar with remedial medicine.”
Col. Jeff Cooper

Col. Cooper, who among other things was the “father of what is commonly known as "The Modern Technique" of handgun shooting, and considered by many to be the world's foremost expert on the use and history of small arms,” died last Monday. He was 86.


  1. Christ. I've already left my father's household and I know very few of the things Col. Cooper recommends. What a wasted adolesence I had. Well, I'm off. I've got a lot of catching up to do.

  2. Flying a plane is a bit over the top.

  3. OK, I can manage a motorcycle, and I do know the difference between Hemingway and Joyce (reading them is another matter). Other than that, I am afraid I do not meet the good Colonel's specs.

  4. i agree with the Col., to that list i'd add, fishing, cooking, basic wilderness survival.

    to C. Van Carter - i respectfully disagree, as soon as i learned to fly i realized that i WASTED my highschool years and learn almost nothing worthwhile, have i spent that time learning to fly (legal age to start learning is 15) i would have been a lot better off. Because in the process of learning to fly you learn lots of useful skills and practical information from math and meteorology, to communications, navigation, decision making and positive attitude. These are things that HS attempts to teach but in best cases informs in worst kills all inherent interest and curiosity!


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