My overall impression of The Education of Millionaires (Amazon) was a bit meh. It conflates getting an arts degree with a university education in general, and many of the examples come from direct marketing, which seems irrelevant to me. I think the calculations on cost/benefit of degrees could have been vastly improved by discounting science and engineering graduates – the average salary of a BA is much lower. And, all these numbers are US-centric, other countries heavily subsidise their degree programs.
One of the people in his case studies suggests that it’s more important that kids learn how to sell than trigonometry – because they will never be stranded without a computer! But who designs and builds the computer (both software and hardware)? I’m going to say – people who have mastered trigonometry! That whole sentence just made me angry!
But, there were bits that resonated more with me – I like the focus on life-long learning, and whilst I found the focus on marketing and sales distasteful he defines marketing as speaking to people’s actual needs, solving their actual problems, which I find more compelling – it’s like the difference between solving actual problems, and made-up-engineer problems.
All the examples were people who bootstrapped their way up – no VC funding, just making things a little bigger each time. I really liked that; the VC funding model that you hear about in the tech world is making bets, looking for big wins – not at all what I would want to do if I went out on my own. Bootstrapping is more appealing to me.
All in all, I would say, don’t bother with this book. It’s a short read, but there are better ways to spend 3-6 hours of your time.