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

The Next Steps

  • Create and share value: When your self-directed learning helps others you are adding value to their lives. This is what businesses and organizations do. The simplest way to do this is to work, intern, apprentice, or volunteer for someone. You can also deliver a product, and in today’s world digital products are inexpensive and easy to deliver.
  • Market yourself: build a high-quality online portfolio that vividly demonstrates your intelligence, work ethic, and skills. There are tips here for doing so. Then seek support from mentors, peers, professionals, and fellow travelers to build an audience. The best way to market yourself is to do good things for people whose problems you understand, without much regard for what you get in return. Blake gives many additional tips and examples.
  • College Life and Real Mentors

    • Not being an official student creates little barrier to participating in college social life if you live in a college town. You can attend free or inexpensive events, hang out in the student union, and try to meet people with common interests. When people find out about your self-directed learning efforts, they may find your lifestyle attractive.
    • Close friends and family can provide excellent positive feedback, but they’re often less comfortable providing the critical feedback that facilitates rapid growth. For this you may need to find an independent mentor. If you ask someone for help and you are rejected, ask the person to point you in the direction of another person or organization that might be able to help.

    How to Start and Sources of Inspiration

    • Blake devotes the next chapter to giving you 14 ways to start your journey. It contains some things you can start to do now along with information you need to seek. He then goes on to provide thumbnail descriptions of 14 innovative thinkers who are essentially kindred spirits when it comes to self-directed learning. Daniel Pink and Seth Goodin are two of my favorites from this list.

    It’s Never to Early or Too Late to Drop Out

    • Doug: A lot of what Blake talks about applies to children who drop out at any age. This would include the current home schooling crowd. I see that it even applies to people who complete college. In my case, I have four college degrees and with the exception of my dissertation, all four marched me through prescribed one-size-fits-all learning. Now that I’m retired and no longer caring for my deceased spouse, I am the kind of self-directed learner that Blake describes. So if you read this because you have children approaching college age, just keep in mind that it also can apply to you.
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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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