I’m really excited that this is happening even sooner than I thought, but I got to a point where I really wanted to get the information this author was providing.
The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg is a dissertation against traditional higher education. He rails against the cost, the structure, and the lack of real measurable skills that are associated with a college degree, and demonstrates through real-world examples just how successful one can be by learning skills that are not taught in a classroom. Many of his examples are multi-millionaires without a degree or even a high school diploma.
This book really spoke to me personally because I went the traditional route. I graduated high school and then immediately went to college, taking on a large amount of debt to be able to pay for a piece of paper that certifies I know things. But then… I stopped. I was lost because I didn’t see the value in the classes I was taking. I felt like I chose the wrong path. I became first disengaged, then lapsed into what was likely depression. Once I made the choice to withdraw from school, I immediately felt better. And though it took some time, I found a different path that I’m walking now. I’m still taking classes because for the job I want, I do need that piece of paper. But I think these are more relevant, and I’m supplementing with books, articles, industry info, and networking, taking my education into my own hands. I think Mr. Ellsberg would approve.
The premise of The Education of Millionaires is this: there are certain skills that will help you become successful, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur, and these cannot be or are not taught through academic papers and homework assignments on a college campus. College is cerebral and theoretical. These skills are hands-on and applicable. There are 7 skills he outlines, including networking, marketing, and “bootstrapping.” And they don’t necessarily cost thousands of dollars; in fact, many cost nothing. It’s a very Good Will Hunting type of philosophy.
Now for all the academics out there or those who really did need a college degree, or who really did find great value in their college experience, he doesn’t outright condemn the whole university system. He admits that there are definitely benefits to higher education, and especially if you are going into medicine or engineering. But he disagrees that every single person needs to go to college and get a degree. He opposes the fact that society has created this notion that all 18-year-olds need to take out massive loans for an esoteric education that no longer guarantees a job.
The nice thing about this book is that, even though I read the whole thing, I’m not finished with it yet. Ellsberg provides a wealth of resources for teaching yourself about these skills, so I’ll be going through those in the weeks to come.
So would I recommend this book? I definitely would, especially to high school juniors/seniors or anyone who couldn’t/didn’t get a college degree and feels stuck. Parents, employers, educators, and really anyone who could potentially influence the education or employment of anyone else. The information is engaging and useful, and the writing style is very casual (read “contains some explicit language”). Pick up a copy!