GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: The Education of Millionaires: Do You Want a Degree, or Do You Want Success by Michael Ellsberg author of "The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think, and It’s Not Too Late."
Three of the biggest purchases a typical middle-class family makes are a home, a car, and a college education for the kids.
In the past sixty years, there have been waves of disruptive innovation within the real estate industry (perhaps too much innovation, considering 2008), and within the automobile industry.
Yet, the higher education industry (and it is an industry, even if most of the players are nonprofits) hasn’t changed much since the fifties.
That’s all about to change, drastically.
As budget cuts slash public universities to ghosts of their former selves, and as the “You’ve gotta be kidding me” factor on the tuition for private education grows more extreme year, increasing numbers of parents and students are beginning to question some long-reigning assumptions about higher education. Innovation and disruption are in the air.
Here are some once-sacrosanct myths that are starting to be challenged.
“Higher education is necessary to create critical-minded citizens of democracy.”
I’m amazed that anyone who says this isn’t laughed out of the room instantly.
Really? We need to pay up to $200,000 to become functioning citizens of our own political system? If that is the case, our nation has some very deep problems indeed.
The back-and-forth mudslinging attack ads that constitute today’s political discourse do not call for critical-minded Aristotelian analysis of the finer-points of their rhetorical argumentation. They call for the channel-changer.
I’ve never once heard a parent express their willingness to scrimp-and-save for decades, and even go into debt, so that their son or daughter can be a better critical citizen of a democracy. It’s just not why people go to college. Let’s bury that old chestnut and move on with it.
“Higher education is necessary for success in life.”
Grit, determination, perseverance, vision, character, charm, social skills, work ethic, persuasion and communication skills, integrity, belief in yourself, and leadership are necessary for success in life.
You can learn those things in college. (If you don’t spend too much time binge-drinking.) But you can potentially also learn them (a lot less expensively) in a job, working in or creating a start-up, volunteering, traveling on a shoestring, or even starting a rock band.
“But my kids don’t have the self-discipline or motivation to self-educate in that way.”
Fine, but then we’re not truly talking about education, we’re talking about babysitting for teens and twenty-somethings. The best education—even when it occurs in a university setting—is self-motivated. All good education is, on some level, self-education.
Our national dialogue is finally starting to allow space for questioning some of these once-sacrosanct myths about higher education (due largely to the eye popping tuition bills, the insane amounts of debt some students are getting into, and the less-than-thrilling job prospects of recent graduates.)
People are looking for alternatives. Cheaper, faster, quicker alternatives, which don’t require debt, or time off from careers.
"Our national dialogue is finally starting to allow space for questioning some of these once-sacrosanct myths about higher education."
For that reason, I’ve written "The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think, and It’s Not Too Late" I’ve spent the last two years interviewing people who did not finish college, who instead educated themselves in street-smart skills, and went on to become millionaires or even billionaires.
If you’ve ever felt anxiety about the status of your educational credentials—and have perhaps thought of going back to school to put a few more letters after your name—this book is for you.
My basic message is: if you’re motivated to learn, then life-affirming and financially-lucrative education is available to you everywhere, inexpensively, at any age, without having to go back to school. Despite their intense PR efforts to persuade you otherwise, institutions of higher education do not have a monopoly on education. You do not need to pay their laughable tuition fees to educate yourself. With the right motivation, you can get fantastic education cheaply or even for free, in the real-world.
The only barrier is your attachment to shopworn myths about higher education, which haven’t been updated since slide rules were popular. It’s time we liberate ourselves from these myths. The era of self-education for success is upon us.
Michael Ellsberg is the author of "The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think, and It’s Not Too Late." The book demonstrates how to educate yourself in the real-world skills that will lead to your success—skills which are usually absent on school curricula. Connect with Michael on the web at www.ellsberg.com, on Twitter @MichaelEllsberg and on Facebook.