These gentlemen are much smarter than I am, and certainly far more successful than I am, so perhaps my opinion matters a little less to you, but I am concerned that they are pushing a message that is wildly popular now, and it is one that is being misunderstood and I believe is dangerous to the individual and also our future.
Their simple message is, "it makes no sense to go to college, and instead you should just start a business."
This is simply wrong.
Their intentions are good, and I understand what they are trying to do, but I believe their message is at best, being misunderstood, or maybe it just isn't valid. This viewpoint on college will not make the world a better place nor will it make a person's life as rich as it could be if they follow that advice.
Also each one of these men graduated college.
We tend to undervalue what we have, and each of these men have a college education, and they are not thinking that each step they took built the path that lead them to make themselves succeed.
Each of these men use the tools they learned in college, and probably they still know and work with some of the people they met there.
Today, we do not need more people selling ebooks. That will not build growth or opportunity. The Internet is full of opportunity, and squandering it by promoting the latest lifestyle guide just isn't going to do it. You have to build something, you need to create.
We do not need to reinvent the wheel each day. We all stand on the work and thoughts of the people born before us. To know those ideas, you need to learn them. I have made a career out of applying history to today's problems, because whatever problem you have, someone has had it before. Find out how they solved it.
We need more people creating value and less people consuming mindlessly. The engine that drives the future and the economy is creativity and imagination, smart people taking risks.
The elite group above are all stating that today you shouldn't even consider college but I believe that message serves no value. If you do not have a better opportunity, you should go to college, and stay in college until you find a better way to leverage your skills and learn.
We don't need more ebook marketers. We need people to solve the world's problems and make this a better world.
You are bigger than that and I think some balance in your life is important.
I am sure they do not mean it this way, these are very smart men who have shown that they are curious and love to learn, but the message generally being copied and reported over and over on the internet, through blog posts and twitter, is that it is smart to reject education and start a business.
The real goal is to get as much education as possible, to reject debt and to remember to always go with the best opportunity at hand that has the best opportunity cost for you.
Here is why you should consider going to college.
1. The issue isn't that education is bad, or that you shouldn't go to college, it is that you shouldn't go into debt to get it.
You should learn as much as you can, from anywhere you can. If you didn't know what you wanted to do, and I said I know a place where you can try many different disciplines and things and experiences, where you can meet people from all over the world, would you go?
2. Right now in all the other countries of the world, people in those other countries are getting as much education as they can.
You are competing in a global market, and there are Phd's in India ready to do anything to succeed. Ignorance is not a competitive tool.
Get as much education as you can afford. Always keep learning.
Learn new skills constantly. Competition in China is brutal, and today we are in the same global market as they are. Are we ready to hustle as much as they are?
3. Take the "college is bad" thought to its extreme. Is the United State's biggest problem today is that we are too educated?
No. We certainly do not suffer from over education.
If anything, we need more education.
Knowledgable people would not have thought that when the housing market was hot, that every house everywhere, was worth a fortune. They would know history and know about the tulip boom and bust. We need more knowledge not less. The biggest problem today is that we need better education regarding debt, something education can fix. You go in to debt because you are uneducated.
I know this very well, as this is a lesson I learned the hard way.
4. If you don't know what you want to do, going to school is a great place to see the options and meet people. Don't quit school until you have better options. It is all about opportunity costs.
5. Most entrepreneurs went to school, maybe didn't finish, but went to school, including those in the subject line. They found the resources or met the people who would help them succeed at school.
6. Business is an art. Just like a writer, or film maker, and if you have nothing to say, you can have all the skills and talent in the world but in the end you say or accomplish nothing. Life is an art, and if you have a passion, a belief, and you are a well rounded person, you will always be more adaptable than some single minded individual. Survival is about adaption.
7. The world is more than just business. Business brings opportunity, but the world also has art, philosophy, and science. The more of the world you know, the better you will be at what you do. Going to school opens up doors that you don't know exist today, that you don't even think to look for, that you don't even know you want, until it is there.
8. View schools like stocks, look at the ROI on what you estimate that you think it will return. If you want to be a teacher, and start at $40,000 don't spend $200,000 going to Stanford, pay $20,000 at a smaller school, who will probably get you a more personalized education and help ou pay for it. Pick stocks that matter to you and will make you and your life better. Pick a school or program that makes your life better and gives you a good return on your money.
9. Colleges, all schools for that matter, allow the young in rural areas to see thoughts and ideas and other people that starting a business in their area wold never get them. The world is not all urban centers, most of the United States is not, and colleges allow young people a first glimpse of a world that is bigger than just Chickasha, Oklahoma.
10. You need to be careful about insulating yourself. In a world where you pick your reading, from your twitter feed, to Facebook, you pick what you search in Google which edits results based on what you previously liked, it is important to get information and other viewpoints you did not select. Most successful business people I know always have one advisor that is the opposite of them, to give them a viewpoint that counters their own.
11. The educational process needs to be improved, not ignored or rejected. Where there is a need to improve, there is business opportunity, and to find that opportunity, you need to know what needs to be changed, and how better than seeing first hand what needs to be changed. Get in it, see what needs to change, and then start your business to fix it.
Each one of these men graduated college. So did I.
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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