When the author was in grade school, he did not dream of becoming an economist. What set him up to choose economics was Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of science fiction books. What cemented his choosing labor was Gary Becker's Human Capital. Pre the human capital revolution, labor economics was largely descriptive and institutional, more concerned with explaining why economics fell short than with making economics work. His thesis was on career choice, with a special focus on science and engineering. He was struck with the paucity of evidence for what he took to be one of the main propositions of the human capital model -- that investments in career skills by young persons responded substantially to the returns to those skills. Working with the science policy community has convinced him that economics can contribute substantially to helping decision-makers in the government and in firms make better decisions about funding and deploying the great brainpower at humanity's disposal for solving the world's great problems.