多くのことに時間を割く必要のある彼は、それでもハーバードでAをとろうと経済学部を選びました。フランス詩学でも選んだのでは、と思ったでしょう。しかしこの大将はチェッカーのチャンピオン級だったことを忘れてはなりません。ハーバードの経済学部より賢く立ち回ってみせる、と彼は考えたのですね。そしてそのとおりになりました。自分たちがやらなければ教授へ回る退屈な仕事のほとんどを院生たちが担当していることに、彼は気がついていました。ハーバードの大学院生になるのは大変なことで、多大なる労苦を教授から感謝されるほど彼らはとても聡明で協調でき、また一生懸命に取り組みました。 ニーダーホッファーにはそれもわかっていました。

そういうわけでまさに上級の大学院コースを教える教授は、習慣としてあるいは返報的傾向と呼ばれる心理的な力から予想されるように[参考記事]、常にAの成績を授けていたのです。そこでヴィクター・ニーダーホッファーは、ハーバードの経済学部でもっとも上級の大学院コースばかり履修しました。講義にはほとんど参加しなかった彼がとった成績は、もちろんAまたAの連続でした。やがてハーバードでは「あらたな天才がうちに登場したのかな」と感じた人がいたかもしれません。なんとも滑稽な話ですが、このやりかたは今でも使えるでしょう。ニーダーホッファーは有名になり、彼のやり方は「ニーダーホッファー式履修法」(Niederhoffering the curriculum)と呼ばれています(笑)。

There was a wonderful example of gaming a human system in the career of Victor Niederhoffer in the Economics Department of Harvard. Victor Niederhoffer was the son of a police lieutenant, and he needed to get A's at Harvard. But he didn't want to do any serious work at Harvard because what he really liked doing was, one, playing world-class checkers; two, gambling in high-stakes card games, at which he was very good, all hours of the day and night; three, being the squash champion of the United States, which he was for years; and, four, being about as good a tennis player as a part-time tennis player could be.

This did not leave much time for getting A's at Harvard, so he went into the Economics Department. You'd think he would have chosen French poetry. But remember, this was a guy who could play championship checkers. He thought he was up to outsmarting the Harvard Economics Department. And he was. He noticed that the graduate students did most of the boring work that would otherwise go to the professors, and he noticed that because it was so hard to get to be a graduate student at Harvard, they were all very brilliant and organized and hard working, as well as much needed by grateful professors.

And therefore, by custom, and as would be predicted from the psychological force called "reciprocity tendency", in a really advanced graduate course, the professors always gave an A. So Victor Niederhoffer signed up for nothing but the most advanced graduate courses in the Harvard Economics Department, and, of course, he got A, after A, after A, after A, and was hardly ever near a class. And for a while, some people at Harvard may have thought it had a new prodigy on its hands. That's a ridiculous story, but the scheme will work still. And Niederhoffer is famous: They call his style "Niederhoffering the curriculum." (Laughter).

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