Better Than College: How to Build a Better Life Without a Four-Year Degree by Blake Boles

The Value of Self-Directed Learning

  • You can’t rely on college to give you an education that will help you build economic resilience or that will teach you to embrace uncertainty, learn from your failures, identify new opportunities, and know yourself well. You will probably have to do it yourself. Just do something you are interested in. You can publish articles, build websites, film short movies, code software, or create art for example. This kind of self-directed leaning can put you in position to make money doing what you love. You may end up going to college, but you might find that it makes more sense to take only courses that help you learn what you need to know. You may be able to do so online and at no cost. While you may end up making less money, you might also have a more enjoyable life.

The Freedom to Work Hard

  • Without college you enjoy a great deal of freedom, but success won’t happen without hard work. You need to self-motivate and look for projects that excite you. While you may find a college class that exposes you to a fascinating new topic, in most cases you won’t have time to explore it before the course moves on to cover more stuff in a shallow fashion. Since you learn by doing, you need to be doing something. In many cases you can find people to mentor you a little or no cost as you build knowledge and skill.

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

  • Blake tells the stories of four unschoolers and finds some generalizations. First, you have to build self-knowledge. There is no magic way but it helps to expose yourself to new people places and ideas. Blake suggests some questions that can help. He also gives advice for affordable and practical world travel.
  • Give yourself assignments: Armed with self-knowledge you can look for assignments that excite you. They need to be challenging, have a clear goal, and a beginning and end. Doing this is an art and it may help to check Blake’s website for examples of what others have done. You should also develop a vocational skill so you can do something with your hands. Internships and short courses can help here. Consider starting a blog, teaching a course, doing volunteer work, or starting a small enterprise.
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One Response to “Better Than College: How to Build a Better Life Without a Four-Year Degree by Blake Boles”

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