It’s college season.  Every week now, I get requests from students.  “Would you please write a recommendation letter for me?  I am trying to get into college.”

I always do it.  I like to help.  But, I am always conflicted.

College, for me, was a waste of time.  I naively did what I was told.  I did what every high school graduate was supposed to do.  I went to college.

It was a four year delay of game.

It was easier to trick us back in the 80′ and 90’s.   Then, the internet happened.  There is more information out there now.  It is getting harder to keep the truth suppressed.

Before considering college, watch these videos:



I find the following video particularly insightful.  Marty is an insider.



Marty’s site is helpful if you are struggling with decisions about education:

Here’s a great essay by Marty on the same subject:

From the essay…

“College is among the few products where you don’t necessarily get what you pay for–price does not indicate quality.”

And, my favorite part…

“If your child is one of the rare breed who, on graduating high school, knows what he wants to do, and isn’t unduly attracted to college academics nor the Animal House environment that college residence halls too often are, then take solace in the fact that in deciding to at-least postpone college, she is preceded by scores of others who have successfully taken that non-college road less traveled. Examples:

  • Bill Gates
  • Michael Dell
  • Oracle founder Larry Ellison
  • Apple co-founder SteveWozniak
  • Rev. Al Sharpton
  • Buckminster Fuller
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • famed anthropologist Richard Leakey
  • Ted Turner
  • Maya Angelou
  • former Governor Jesse Ventura
  • IBM founder Thomas Watson
  • architect Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Virgin founder Richard Branson
  • Malcolm X
  • film director Quentin Tarantino
  • ABC-TV’s Peter Jennings
  • Thomas Edison
  • cookie makers Debbie Fields and Wally Amos
  • writers Ernest Hemingway
  • William Faulkner
  • Neil Simon
  • Doris Lessing and John Cheever
  • Ben & Jerry’s founder Ben Cohen
  • Henry Ford
  • Erik Erikson
  • chef Wolfgang Puck
  • Coco Chanel
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Walt Disney
  • Dreamworks co-founder David Geffen
  • Roots author Alex Haley
  • airplane inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright
  • Nathan Pritikin (Pritikin diet)
  • billionaire moguls John D. Rockefeller and Kirk Kerkorian
  • former Israeli president David Ben Gurion
  • and nine U.S. presidents from Washington to Truman.”

If you are sending a kid off to college, please, please, please read Marty’s essay before you do.  Here is the link again:

Still on the subject of college, this video is my favorite.  Just for fun, mostly.  It would be even more fun if it weren’t so, so true.


So, will things change?

I doubt it.  Most parents are unwilling to commit.   Our system is built on two incomes.  Two breadwinners are needed now to pay the bills.  The result?  Our greatest gift, our children, from kindergarten to college, are handed over to the state.

After all, the state will educate them for free!

There are only two problems with that sentence.  I will break it down for you:

  1. The state will not educate your children.  The results are in.  The public schools have failed.
  2. The state will not educate your children for free.  Last time I checked, it cost the state about $10,000 per student.  Since 1997, I have paid an average $2,000 in property taxes, which go mostly to the local public schools.  So, 22 years so far.  Roughly $44,000 so far.  I am 45.  Let’s pretend I live to be 90 years old… and, I keep paying property taxes.  Looks like I have another $90,000 to go.  So, $135,000 from a guy who will not enroll his kids in the public school system.  $135,000 from a guy who tries to persuade others to keep their kids out of the public school system.  $135,000 from a guy who is fully dedicated to the fall of the public school system. Pretty sweet deal for the state.   As for me… well, Robert A. Heinlein summed it up.  “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”

But, anyway, back to college.

You don’t have to go.  You don’t have to go into debt.  You can educate yourself.  It can be done.  Businesses are beginning to catch on:



There is only one education that really matters.  It’s self education.

I did it.  And, I have done it with, at best, a mediocre mind.   I struggle to learn.  It takes me twice as long as it takes most of my students.  In order to learn Latin, I read the same books over and over again.  I read Wheelock’s Latin twelve times.    I remember this well, because I read it every month for a year.  I wanted the material to sink in.  After the fourth, or fifth time, it was all review.  For the first three or four months, my slow brain was simply trying to grasp it all.

Self-educate, my friends.

I can read in Latin, Greek, German, Spanish, Italian, and very soon… French.  I studied none of these languages in college.  Actually, that isn’t true.  I took one year of German in college.  Worst class I ever took.  I left understanding German less than I did when I started.  In college (for me, a four-year delay of game) I studied History and Business.  I was on my way to law school.

By the way, I am not the only one who feels this way about self-education.

  • “There is no education but self-education” – Charlotte Mason
  • “Self-education is the best education as a general rule.”  – Dr. Gary North
  • “I still say the only education worth anything is self-education.” – Robert Frost
  • “There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
  • “All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.”  – Sir Walter Scott 
  • “Willful ignorance and endless laws become the replacement for self-education and self-restraint, because ignorance and laws are easy.”  – Holly Lisle
  • “Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.  The only function of a school is to make self-education easier.  Failing that, it does nothing.”  – Isaac Asimov
  • “I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.”  – John Taylor Gatto


Education is a DIY project.  I know what I am talking about.  I have done it.

You can do it, too.  You can educate yourself.

You can skip college.  Save your money.  Start here.  Download this free ebook:

If you don’t want to read the book, here is a shorter article on the same subject, also by James Altucher:

I can keep this up all day.  In fact, I think I will.  I will simply keep editing this blog post and adding to it as I discover more.

Here’s more:


“Grades are an illusion.  Passion and insight are reality.”  – Seth Godin

Want more from Seth?  He wrote a free book.  He named it, aptly, Stop Stealing Dreams.  Here you go:


Again, I must re-iterate… I am not alone in my thinking.  This is one of the most watched TED talks ever:


He hits these themes again a few years later in his life:


So then… what is the solution?  Home school your kids.  Then, have them start a small business, or apprentice with someone who has.

Honestly, we should have seen all of this coming.   The Mark Twain of Canada, Stephen Leacock, saw it long ago:


On an on it goes.

Robert Kiyosaki, has no mercy on the school system.  “Schools punish people for making mistakes.  But making mistakes is how we learn.  Failing is how we succeed.”