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P7149w.jpg Our family’s economic underpinnings all came from the think-tank named Abt Associates Inc, 55 Wheeler Street, Cambridge, my first and formative employer, coming out of grad school. As I’ve already noted with gratitude, Clark and Peter showed the Andersons most kindly support throughout the disruptions of 1968 and then for a decade and a half thereafter. MIT classmate Peter Miller, in particular, became a close friend and associate through a number of projects and marketing activities, as we peddled our brains to bureaucrats here and there.
We were young, perhaps over-educated, and brashly confident that smart people like us could bring computers and social science concepts usefully to bear on just about any problem that needed solving. Through the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and into that of Ronald Reagan, the federal government saw itself as the answer to a lot of society’s questions, and they hired folks like Abt Associates to put operational flesh on their burgeoning hubris and to lend the cachet of “science” to their political predispositions.

Me, I sprouted a moustache (facial hair was in, in those days), mainly in the futile hope of looking a bit more mature, and dug in as Peter’s deputy in the Education Area. And yes, they liked to present me as a Ph.D., however the Graduate Schools of Education and of Arts and Sciences might feel about it.
I started saying it early on, and I still believe it: A year spent working at Abt Associates back then was the educational equivalent of a year at a good graduate school. I knew from good grad schools, having been blessed by their offerings. In my experience, the best they (schools) knew how to do was to broaden our acquaintance with people and ideas and to stretch us beyond our comfort zone in search of answers. Sounds just like the Abt Associates I knew.
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