Book Review: The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

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Michael Ellsberg
Michael Ellsberg

Michael Ellsberg, a Brown graduate, is a blogger, author, and public speaker. In his 2011 book The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late Ellsberg obliterates the notion that a college degree is necessary to success and guides the reader to educate themselves in the life skills that matter. I enjoyed this book very much, undeniably due to the fact that it affirms some of my own feelings towards “higher learning” and my reasons for leaving school, but also because it promotes the self learning of skills that are truly important to life.

“What would education for a successful life look like? You can define a ‘success’ any way you want – wealth; career; family; spirituality; sense of meaning and purpose; vibrant health; service and contribution to community, nation, and humanity – or any combination thereof. What would an education look like that was laser-targeted only toward achieving these real-world results, and zealously cut out all bullshit not directly related to living a happy, successful life and making a powerful contributing to the lives of the people around you?” -From the book.

What would the education of  a happy/successful life look like? Would it involve required classes of biology, writing, and calculus? Or would  being healthy (in mind, body, and soul), forming lasting relationships, learning to lead, and being a good parent be more applicable topics? Ellsberg argues that the typical college curriculum does little to improve our lives financially or otherwise. The book acknowledges that money is not the key to happiness but that leading a meaningful life is, therefore: aligning your money with your meaning is the end goal of this book.

This book is filled with true stories of college and high school dropouts who were able to do something meaningful with their lives while making money (millions to billions of dollars). Ellsberg illustrates how to go about achieving this elusive goal; finding mentors, learning marketing and sales skills, investing in yourself, and creating value for others. It is truly a must read for any self educator.

The book does not attempt to teach you everything you need to know, but it teaches you how to teach yourself those skills (make sense?). He often references books and blogs as must reads for your self education. Here’s a list of the resources I wrote in my notes (“Must reads” in bold):

I have begun reading  The Personal MBA, the only book by Dan Kennedy at my library The Ultimate Marketing Plan, and I listened to Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin on audiobook twice. All very powerful.

Here are some of my favorite quotes or thoughts from the book:

  • “I have never let schooling interfere with my education” -Mark Twain
  • We hear lots of risks associated with following our dreams; going broke, being “a starving artist”. But what about the risks involved in following the straight and narrow, the beaten path of safety and predictability? Risks like; working with people you don’t respect, working for a company with values not in line with your own, compromising what’s important to you, doing something that fails to express (or contradicts) who you are, and the biggest risk of all, the risk of SPENDING YOUR LIFE not doing what you love on the GAMBLE that you can buy the freedom to do it later. -ideas from The Monk and the Riddle, Randy Komisar
  • Without failure there is no learning
  • “Failure is the opportunity for an interesting change in life plans” -Mike Faith
  • One good mentor can change your life, its worth the effort.
  • Its not about what your selling, its about the wants and desires of your prospects
  • “No skill correlates more with real world success than learning sales”
  • Fail faster=Learn faster
  • Invest in your own skill and earning power
  • You aren’t entitled to anything unless you create value for someone else

I hope you enjoyed this post and pick up The Education of Millionaires at your local library! Please comment!

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