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In a tech-dominated world, the most needed degrees are the most surprising: the liberal arts. Did you take the right classes in college? Will your major help you get the right job offers? For more than a decade, the national spotlight has focused on science and engineering as the only reliable choice for finding a successful post-grad career. Our destinies have been reduc In a tech-dominated world, the most needed degrees are the most surprising: the liberal arts. Did you take the right classes in college? Will your major help you get the right job offers? For more than a decade, the national spotlight has focused on science and engineering as the only reliable choice for finding a successful post-grad career. Our destinies have been reduced to a caricature: learn to write computer code or end up behind a counter, pouring coffee. Quietly, though, a different path to success has been taking shape. In You Can Do Anything, George Anders explains the remarkable power of a liberal arts education - and the ways it can open the door to thousands of cutting-edge jobs every week. The key insight: curiosity, creativity, and empathy aren't unruly traits that must be reined in. You can be yourself, as an English major, and thrive in sales. You can segue from anthropology into the booming new field of user research; from classics into management consulting, and from philosophy into high-stakes investing. At any stage of your career, you can bring a humanist's grace to our rapidly evolving high-tech future. And if you know how to attack the job market, your opportunities will be vast. In this book, you will learn why resume-writing is fading in importance and why "telling your story" is taking its place. You will learn how to create jobs that don't exist yet, and to translate your campus achievements into a new style of expression that will make employers' eyes light up. You will discover why people who start in eccentric first jobs - and then make their own luck - so often race ahead of peers whose post-college hunt focuses only on security and starting pay. You will be ready for anything.


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In a tech-dominated world, the most needed degrees are the most surprising: the liberal arts. Did you take the right classes in college? Will your major help you get the right job offers? For more than a decade, the national spotlight has focused on science and engineering as the only reliable choice for finding a successful post-grad career. Our destinies have been reduc In a tech-dominated world, the most needed degrees are the most surprising: the liberal arts. Did you take the right classes in college? Will your major help you get the right job offers? For more than a decade, the national spotlight has focused on science and engineering as the only reliable choice for finding a successful post-grad career. Our destinies have been reduced to a caricature: learn to write computer code or end up behind a counter, pouring coffee. Quietly, though, a different path to success has been taking shape. In You Can Do Anything, George Anders explains the remarkable power of a liberal arts education - and the ways it can open the door to thousands of cutting-edge jobs every week. The key insight: curiosity, creativity, and empathy aren't unruly traits that must be reined in. You can be yourself, as an English major, and thrive in sales. You can segue from anthropology into the booming new field of user research; from classics into management consulting, and from philosophy into high-stakes investing. At any stage of your career, you can bring a humanist's grace to our rapidly evolving high-tech future. And if you know how to attack the job market, your opportunities will be vast. In this book, you will learn why resume-writing is fading in importance and why "telling your story" is taking its place. You will learn how to create jobs that don't exist yet, and to translate your campus achievements into a new style of expression that will make employers' eyes light up. You will discover why people who start in eccentric first jobs - and then make their own luck - so often race ahead of peers whose post-college hunt focuses only on security and starting pay. You will be ready for anything.

30 review for You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a "Useless" Liberal Arts Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.

    These kinds of books always go the same way. They start off great, explaining endlessly all the things you can do with a liberal Arts degree. And yeah, Anders does a better job than most with that. Especially so because he backs it up with the number of unemployed CS majors and the fact that by the time you're 40-50 you've caught up and surpassed the business majors (but never the engineers). The problem is that effectively all the anecdotes he displays in the book are all about people who are e These kinds of books always go the same way. They start off great, explaining endlessly all the things you can do with a liberal Arts degree. And yeah, Anders does a better job than most with that. Especially so because he backs it up with the number of unemployed CS majors and the fact that by the time you're 40-50 you've caught up and surpassed the business majors (but never the engineers). The problem is that effectively all the anecdotes he displays in the book are all about people who are exceptionally good at something, specifically, the ability to quickly learn how to do all the stuff a CS major or Business major learns how to do in school, except they do it after they graduate. They may, in fact, be better employees and citizens, but it doesn't really do much for his thesis to continually undercut it the way he does in the back half of the book. Especially his suggestion to lean on the alumni or networking provided by a students university. Frankly speaking, most Humanities and Social Science departments (barring Poli Sci and IA) do a TERRIBLE job of keeping up with their graduates or bringing in guest speakers because the faculty are obsessed with producing more Grad Students (to do research and lower division teaching for them) , not with helping the students get jobs. It's okay, but it's arguments are not going to convince skeptical parents. The numbers might, but you try convincing a parent to play the long game.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Keith Sickle

    We seem to live in a world of STEM Über Alles, where if a young person doesn’t learn to code, he or she is condemned to life as a barista or a dog walker. But are engineers destined to rule the world? Perhaps not, just as it isn’t the ultra-logical Mr. Spock who commands the Starship Enterprise, but rather the charismatic Captain Kirk. In his new book, author George Anders has done a brilliant job of decrypting today’s job market, identifying vast new opportunities for young people with liberal a We seem to live in a world of STEM Über Alles, where if a young person doesn’t learn to code, he or she is condemned to life as a barista or a dog walker. But are engineers destined to rule the world? Perhaps not, just as it isn’t the ultra-logical Mr. Spock who commands the Starship Enterprise, but rather the charismatic Captain Kirk. In his new book, author George Anders has done a brilliant job of decrypting today’s job market, identifying vast new opportunities for young people with liberal arts degrees. He points out that while the computing sector has created plenty of new jobs, the fastest-growing fields are actually the ones “catching the warmth of the tech revolution,” jobs like graphic designer, training specialist and research analyst. And in a world where millions of jobs are being created that didn’t even exist five years ago, those best positioned to grab them are the ones able to rapidly analyze, improvise and deal with ambiguity. In other words, those with the skills at the very heart of a liberal arts education. It’s true that recruiters still chase candidates with technical backgrounds. Those with a liberal arts degree, especially at the beginning of a career, will need to be creative. And this is where Anders’ book really shines - with one inspiring example after another, he shows readers how to find jobs and improvise their way to a successful career. For anyone looking to launch themselves into the world of work, this book is essential reading. Who knows? Someday you could be commanding a Starship of your own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This is a battle plan, make no mistake about it. And if one of your kids is about to enter the House of Pain that's the liberal arts major, they're going to need one. This is pretty much the soups-to-nuts blueprint. Understand, however, that if your kid isn't the fearless, resourceful, highly motivated, boots-on-the-ground, networker type of kid, then definitely steer them away from the liberal arts. Because I don't care how great the plan is, it's your child who's going to have to enact it, and This is a battle plan, make no mistake about it. And if one of your kids is about to enter the House of Pain that's the liberal arts major, they're going to need one. This is pretty much the soups-to-nuts blueprint. Understand, however, that if your kid isn't the fearless, resourceful, highly motivated, boots-on-the-ground, networker type of kid, then definitely steer them away from the liberal arts. Because I don't care how great the plan is, it's your child who's going to have to enact it, and if they're not "that" kind of kid then forget it. Highly recommended book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    William Schram

    People are social creatures. Even with the ever rushing tide of technology that threatens to crush us all in a soulless dystopian wasteland, people will still want to connect with other people rather than some kind of robot. That is the basic premise of “You Can Do Anything” by George Anders. People all seem to brag about having a STEM career or education while totally ignoring the fact that people skills are being shunted aside in favor of knowledge. Thus, a Liberal Arts education or degree of a People are social creatures. Even with the ever rushing tide of technology that threatens to crush us all in a soulless dystopian wasteland, people will still want to connect with other people rather than some kind of robot. That is the basic premise of “You Can Do Anything” by George Anders. People all seem to brag about having a STEM career or education while totally ignoring the fact that people skills are being shunted aside in favor of knowledge. Thus, a Liberal Arts education or degree of any kind gives a person a sort of balance and competence that employers are looking for. People may chortle and denigrate you for your choices, especially your parents, but there is something to remember in this case, it is your life. It is not your mom’s life, not your dad’s life, not your rich uncle’s life. So they may be holding the purse strings but you are the captain of the ship. In that vein, Anders gives plenty of advice and support to people that may be considering a liberal arts degree or those people that have one already. Just because you have a Masters Degree in Anthropology doesn’t land you in the fast lane for a career in Starbucks. For instance, the author decided to attend a class that studied the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the masterful Russian Novelist. The basic idea was to go and read all of his works in ten weeks and boil that information down into an eight-page paper that was a majority of their grade. The professor chucked them into the breach and didn’t hold their hands, so Anders had to come up with some serious study methods. He had to deal with the stress and pressure without any help. The book covers all of that and more. I can see this book giving people a lot of hope and ideas in how to succeed in whatever they may want to do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marks54

    This book by a well known business writer, I think for Forbes magazine, is the latest in a series of efforts to establish the value of a liberal arts education. It is fairly effective if a bit overconstructed. These arguments have been around for a long time along with the little recognized point that a large number of college degrees have been "non liberal arts" for a while, including degrees in engineering, business, nursing, and education. Anders is already singing to the choir with me and it This book by a well known business writer, I think for Forbes magazine, is the latest in a series of efforts to establish the value of a liberal arts education. It is fairly effective if a bit overconstructed. These arguments have been around for a long time along with the little recognized point that a large number of college degrees have been "non liberal arts" for a while, including degrees in engineering, business, nursing, and education. Anders is already singing to the choir with me and it continually amazes me how many people entertain the idea that undergraduate majors and minors have any strong relationship to job training. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with how academia works and how majors are developed will know what fantasy it is to think that professors, especially liberal arts ones, are tied in to the demands of modern rapidly evolving professional labor markets. Anders argues that liberal arts degrees always were valuable and have not become less valuable. If anything, they have become more valuable to employers. The rub, of course, is that the value is not crystal clear to most and takes time to develop and pay rewards for graduates. This insight is not new - it has long been known that graduates have to experiment of time and jobs in an effort to find out where they want to be as their careers develop. Anders approaches this from an encounter with some data. He looked up the extended job descriptions for a large number of positions that were more likely to hire liberal arts graduates. He then looks at how employers, on their own websites and others, talk about what it is they want from people - what are the specific activities and skills that liberal arts graduates can do that make them appropriate for these jobs. The book is structured around going into five general areas of capabilities that graduates should examine and interesting and current case studies are sprinkled throughout. The final chapters consider more specific suggestions for liberal arts graduates about interviewing, salary negotiations, and other issues. The style is light and easy to read. The details and case studies are geared toward current job market conditions and new sorts of jobs that did not exist before 2000 (or even 2008). Anders clearly ties his initial arguments in throughout the subsequent chapters so the continuity and coherence is good. These books generally do not solve graduates' problems - they need to do this themselves. This book might provide some insights, however, that struggling graduates might appreciate.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    George Anders undertakes a difficult task in You Can Do Anything: he offers hope and advice to liberal arts majors. (Whether it works on their parents is another matter.) As college tuition has taken off, parents and students have become increasingly concerned about the return on investment. Thousands of students head to campuses each fall having heard some version of The Talk: major in something tech-related so you can have a job after school. Parents wring their hands about their sophomore phi George Anders undertakes a difficult task in You Can Do Anything: he offers hope and advice to liberal arts majors. (Whether it works on their parents is another matter.) As college tuition has taken off, parents and students have become increasingly concerned about the return on investment. Thousands of students head to campuses each fall having heard some version of The Talk: major in something tech-related so you can have a job after school. Parents wring their hands about their sophomore philosophy major at Oberlin, foreseeing a future involving clearing tables and living at home. Fear not, ye wary undergrads, you will find a job after graduation! George Anders enthusiastically argues for the ancient wisdom that learning to think critically will offer the best chance for long-term success. It's old-fashioned to regard a college education as a path to greater job stability. College provides something more precious: the ability to switch jobs successfully when new opportunities arise or old ones wither. Anders argues that automation is coming for most all our jobs. Yeah, my white collar gig, too. Your white collar gig. Everybody's white collar gig. (I said that in Oprah's voice.) But, as automation takes up the work, what the workforce will need are flexible critical thinkers. Thinkers who can pivot and think outside of the box. Aka, liberal arts grads. The book is full of stories of history, cinema, and philosophy majors now running international programs for non-government organizations and heading up user experience for Etsy. The jobs are often far afield from the majors they graduated with, which is precisely his point. Anders presents case after case, and the tone of the book is relentlessly optimistic. This is absolutely Oh, The Places You'll Go for college students, and I cannot recommend it enough. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    A very interesting answer to al those with liberal educations.Withnso many specialized degrees students worry about nthevvalue of this degree.Read this book you will be surprised at the answers,

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carmel

    Here’s your not-so-spoiler: with hard work, determination, and networking, you can have any job you want in the whole wide world. It’s true! Even with your “useless” liberal arts degree! The majority of this book highlights people with liberal arts majors who are working in fields normally reserved for specific educational backgrounds. For example, the English major who is doing social media marketing. (Is this really a surprise?). Or the McKinsey consultant with a history degree (also, not real Here’s your not-so-spoiler: with hard work, determination, and networking, you can have any job you want in the whole wide world. It’s true! Even with your “useless” liberal arts degree! The majority of this book highlights people with liberal arts majors who are working in fields normally reserved for specific educational backgrounds. For example, the English major who is doing social media marketing. (Is this really a surprise?). Or the McKinsey consultant with a history degree (also, not really surprising?). Most of the people highlighted were amazingly motivated people who seemed to prefer working to sleeping or watching TV (again, not surprised: the Movers and Shakers of the world have better things to do than Netflix and Chill). There will always be a demand for people who write well, speak well, or both. Additionally, young people should know that their undergraduate major does not define them (I think most of them know this). And if you can spin your decision to spend $400k and four years studying the purpose of Grecian urns (actual example), and an employer feels a compatible match, then more power to all parties involved. Not really recommended... it was an ok read but I’m not sure for whom it was written. Perhaps a good read before you head off to college? Maybe college graduates? Maybe parents? There’s nothing in here that you don’t already know, but I will sleep a little sounder tonight knowing that I made a kick-ass decision 20+ years ago to pursue a liberal arts degree.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Petty Lisbon

    This was okay. It wasn't groundbreaking but it was motivational. As a social science major, I can reassure you that we all know we can do basic faceless desk jobs at any corporation but it's the unnecessary gatekeeping of business majors holding us back. I don't like how a lot of his "unconventional path" examples involved international travel or some sort of alternative school which all seem like they're aimed at the wealthy. I think having a traditional structure for majors and jobs (ie- psych This was okay. It wasn't groundbreaking but it was motivational. As a social science major, I can reassure you that we all know we can do basic faceless desk jobs at any corporation but it's the unnecessary gatekeeping of business majors holding us back. I don't like how a lot of his "unconventional path" examples involved international travel or some sort of alternative school which all seem like they're aimed at the wealthy. I think having a traditional structure for majors and jobs (ie- psych majors should get into marketing, political science majors can do compliance, etc) would be nice, because even if he tells us that everyone's path is their own, at the end of the day, you still need that first job that sets the tone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Wonderful reassurance to all those with seemingly "pointless" liberal arts majors who don't know what to do with themselves necessarily ! Huge thank you to Sonya who gave me the book and has helped me soothe all my anxieties about the looming future. Wonderful reassurance to all those with seemingly "pointless" liberal arts majors who don't know what to do with themselves necessarily ! Huge thank you to Sonya who gave me the book and has helped me soothe all my anxieties about the looming future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Roger Smitter

    Anders provides a comprehensive and, for the most part, practical guide for liberal arts students in the search for a job. The organization pattern is wisely divided into Your Strengths, Your Opportunities, Your Allies, and, finally, You’re Tool Kit. The tool kit chapters could stand alone as a technical strategy for translating a liberal arts degree into a job. He challenges the reader to have a story that shows how he/she ticks. He reminds us that employers want to know how we have overcome se Anders provides a comprehensive and, for the most part, practical guide for liberal arts students in the search for a job. The organization pattern is wisely divided into Your Strengths, Your Opportunities, Your Allies, and, finally, You’re Tool Kit. The tool kit chapters could stand alone as a technical strategy for translating a liberal arts degree into a job. He challenges the reader to have a story that shows how he/she ticks. He reminds us that employers want to know how we have overcome setbacks. The new grad should start the take the pay conversation in an interview more early that we might think. For Anders, the excellent liberal arts student who can articulate three skills he/she has acquired in college and in their work” autonomy of thinking and living, mastery as a a means of analyzing situations and finding the right solution and purpose. The first audience for this book seems to be parents who need reassurance that the money they are putting out for a student’s education will lead to a career. The second is most useful to the students.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    Worth reading for current college students, liberal arts graduates, and those of us who mentor these two groups. I've done close to 500 technical interviews over the last several years and I have definitely seen the value of the combination of technology knowledge with the critical thinking skills that develops from a liberal arts education. Worth reading for current college students, liberal arts graduates, and those of us who mentor these two groups. I've done close to 500 technical interviews over the last several years and I have definitely seen the value of the combination of technology knowledge with the critical thinking skills that develops from a liberal arts education.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aurora Dimitre

    |3.75 Stars| This wasn't one that I'd call a four star, but I did want to give it four stars without really giving it four stars, if you catch my drift? I liked this one because it did kind of validate my need to not be STUCK. And also my English major. Not bad. Not bad at all. |3.75 Stars| This wasn't one that I'd call a four star, but I did want to give it four stars without really giving it four stars, if you catch my drift? I liked this one because it did kind of validate my need to not be STUCK. And also my English major. Not bad. Not bad at all.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    Should be required reading for all Liberal Arts majors.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Probably could have been cut down majorly and still would have communicated the desired sentiment. It wasn’t a bad read, and it’s given me a little more optimism, but it got repetitive fast.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kirttimukha TheCat

    this book desires to be inspirational and tells the stories of many liberal arts graduates who have been successful in the job market. In this pervasive era of fear where students begin preparing for jobs even before they reach college or university, Anders uses personal examples and personal stories to demonstrate that liberal arts graduates can be successful too. In fact, liberal arts graduates, and the skills that are developed such as research, writing, and critical thinking are often more s this book desires to be inspirational and tells the stories of many liberal arts graduates who have been successful in the job market. In this pervasive era of fear where students begin preparing for jobs even before they reach college or university, Anders uses personal examples and personal stories to demonstrate that liberal arts graduates can be successful too. In fact, liberal arts graduates, and the skills that are developed such as research, writing, and critical thinking are often more successful in many fields. As a firm believer in a liberal arts education, I hope that this book inspires parents and students to choose interesting courses and to worry less about degrees deemed worthless by the majority. I personally have been in too many courses where students focus more on how will this help me get a job and less about how this course could impact your life. This is a shame and it degrades education as a whole. Education is supposed to teach you how to think and broaden your mind so you can listen to and understand different perspectives other than your own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    A lovely collection of Liberal Arts best case scenario stories. Much name dropping (individuals and colleges). Some also great ideas about networking, calling on alumni, and making the most of all opportunities in order to get the life you want. Fair about the earning potential for a liberal arts major as well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Funk

    It is an interesting book that expanded my thinking on what it meant to have a meaningful job outside of school and what it would take to earn one. Anders has a warm and reassuring voice that easily slips the reader into normally boring material and makes it enjoyable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maria F. Roca

    A very practical book for anyone with a background in the Liberal Arts. The author offers some very good job search advice and has collected compelling stories of individuals who have done exceptionally well with a Liberal Arts background.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Renée

    Using with my capstone students--resonates well with them as they look towards entering their professional lives.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Natalie K

    This book is AMAZING because it's so positive! As a former liberal arts major (I studied history and minored in Russian), I'm so incredibly tired of people dumping on the humanities. Look, if business or engineering or math or whatnot is your thing, that's fine. But not all of us want to major in those fields! I have a graduate degree in finance, but I use my history major at least as much as I use my finance degree since I have to read and write a lot at work. Oh, and I work in a bank. I knew I This book is AMAZING because it's so positive! As a former liberal arts major (I studied history and minored in Russian), I'm so incredibly tired of people dumping on the humanities. Look, if business or engineering or math or whatnot is your thing, that's fine. But not all of us want to major in those fields! I have a graduate degree in finance, but I use my history major at least as much as I use my finance degree since I have to read and write a lot at work. Oh, and I work in a bank. I knew I liked the author when he said the most important class he ever took in college was on Dostoevsky. How could I, the biggest Russophile you'll ever meet, not approve of an author after that delightful introduction? I rest my case.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    3.5 stars I think what might be most helpful about this book for liberal arts majors worried about their ability to make a living is the research that shows that while liberal arts graduates might make less right out of college they tend to catch up in income over time, earning more than other more "technical" degrees. I think it's also helpful to have all the various people mentioned in the book who are doing things that at first glance don't seem at all connected to whatever they studied in col 3.5 stars I think what might be most helpful about this book for liberal arts majors worried about their ability to make a living is the research that shows that while liberal arts graduates might make less right out of college they tend to catch up in income over time, earning more than other more "technical" degrees. I think it's also helpful to have all the various people mentioned in the book who are doing things that at first glance don't seem at all connected to whatever they studied in college but do actually indirectly relate to it, à la the book's title You Can Do Anything. There's a strange part about halfway through the book that makes me question the author's intentions with this book: after chapters exploring the various ways people with liberal arts degrees have succeeded and created new career opportunities for themselves, the book suddenly starts listing what chapters to go to in order to learn how to parlay your liberal arts skills into getting good careers (in fact it's almost exactly half way through the book, page 152 out of 292 pages, not including the acknowledgements, index, notes, etc.). It would seem, given that most people reading this book would probably be reading it over a concern of how economically useful a liberal arts degree might be as far as getting a good job, that this sort of thing should be located at the beginning, at least in an introduction telling you what chapter to jump to for what topic is most interesting to you. Or, conversely, if that's not the main goal of the book, then perhaps this section should just not be listed at all -- if you expect the reader will read the whole book to get a confirmation of how awesome their liberal arts degree has made them, then you don't ever need to say what chapter will do what, they'll get there on their own. Again, it's just a little strange but doesn't distract much from the rest of the book. I also think it's very interesting that for a book about Liberal Arts degrees, St. John's College isn't even mentioned, considering St. John's is sort of an "old school" liberal arts college where students don't even have majors, they all receive degrees in the "liberal arts"; there may be one mention early in the book but I couldn't find it again when I searched for it later and I might be conflating different books I've read. (Full disclosure: I attended St. John's College).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brady

    Probably about 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, and man, did it start out like gangbusters. I was so fired up after the first 50 pages that I came in to work more inspired than I had been in quite some time. It had me thinking about all the ways I've replaced thinking with doing and routine and the realization that I missed the process of thinking! Needless to say, I've had one of the better weeks of work I've had in a long time - and I'm inspired to continue that momentum. That being said, the re Probably about 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, and man, did it start out like gangbusters. I was so fired up after the first 50 pages that I came in to work more inspired than I had been in quite some time. It had me thinking about all the ways I've replaced thinking with doing and routine and the realization that I missed the process of thinking! Needless to say, I've had one of the better weeks of work I've had in a long time - and I'm inspired to continue that momentum. That being said, the rest of the book doesn't maintain the same intensity after the first 100 pages or so, which was a bit of a bummer. For one thing, he packs it so full of examples that they almost become redundant after awhile. I understand why he does it - he is trying to demonstrate a wide range of successful outcomes for liberal arts students. It just gets repetitive and in turn I started zoning out here and there. The other major complaint I have is that he has an inordinate amount of examples from liberal arts students at elite institutions. He tries to balance that with stories from graduates of less prestigious universities, but probably should have erred on the side of more stories from less prestigious places. Because in reality, only so many of us can go to Princeton or Yale, and there are certain advantages built in for graduates from those places, regardless of major. Still, I think this is a great read for anyone who is questioning the value of a liberal arts major. He is incredibly passionate and paints a pretty compelling case for the value of a degree centered on critical and expansive thinking.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

    upbeat description of good career prospects for those who majored in something other than business, engineering, computer science etc. Acknowledges on the basis of big-picture surveys that liberal arts types make less money on average shortly after graduation [and sometimes beyond -- my major trails the pack 0-5 years out and 10-20 years out per his tables on pp. 153-154], but anecdote after anecdote shows it's not impossible to carve out your own path and make a living. The book rides a wave of upbeat description of good career prospects for those who majored in something other than business, engineering, computer science etc. Acknowledges on the basis of big-picture surveys that liberal arts types make less money on average shortly after graduation [and sometimes beyond -- my major trails the pack 0-5 years out and 10-20 years out per his tables on pp. 153-154], but anecdote after anecdote shows it's not impossible to carve out your own path and make a living. The book rides a wave of anecdotal evidence to most of its conclusions. Sometimes very engaging -- i enjoyed reading about an internship program [and one of its satisfied customers] run by one of my daughters' schools, for instance -- but never really adding up to a convincing overview of what paths are open to the typical graduate in a particular field. To be sure, this book goes far deeper than the usual article on how Bill Gates dropped out of college, so apparently credentials don't matter anymore, but at the same time I could imagine a non-daring, non-family-wealthy, non-extraverted person having some difficulty putting all the self-branding, alum networking, just-be-a-consultant to get your foot in the door advice readily to work. Then again, I may not be the optimal audience by age, temperament, or career approach for this material. Having parlayed my Psychology major into the off-the-beaten-path next step of Psychology graduate school and then a New Economy job as a Psychology professor, I've already earned my stripes as a rebel who bucks the macro trends and actualizes his own visionary possibilities.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meryl Duff

    If you went to a Liberal Arts school and are feeling lost and confused, or just looking for inspiration and confidence, read this book! BEWARE there are some cliches; Some stories will make you roll your eyes. But all of the stories in the book are true, and most are inspiring - about people who used their unique experiences to construct new technology or add something new to an oldschool industry like finance. I definitely felt empowered after reading this, and will reference it when writing co If you went to a Liberal Arts school and are feeling lost and confused, or just looking for inspiration and confidence, read this book! BEWARE there are some cliches; Some stories will make you roll your eyes. But all of the stories in the book are true, and most are inspiring - about people who used their unique experiences to construct new technology or add something new to an oldschool industry like finance. I definitely felt empowered after reading this, and will reference it when writing cover letters or networking with others!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Guthrie

    Repetitive but good I recommend this read for the author's comments on a blurry subject. Not many people in my past reading have been able to articulate on the value of a liberal arts education in the workplace and give concrete but honest examples of what potential this line of thinking brings to an employer and business. Repetitive but good I recommend this read for the author's comments on a blurry subject. Not many people in my past reading have been able to articulate on the value of a liberal arts education in the workplace and give concrete but honest examples of what potential this line of thinking brings to an employer and business.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clover White

    I don't know that I really bought into the idea that a liberal arts degree does that much for you, but it was interesting to see that unconventional career paths can lead to exciting opportunities. Could these career paths be open to people without any degree or and sort of degree? Maybe. I don't know that I really bought into the idea that a liberal arts degree does that much for you, but it was interesting to see that unconventional career paths can lead to exciting opportunities. Could these career paths be open to people without any degree or and sort of degree? Maybe.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam Peterson

    Wish this’d been published 20 years ago, but I don’t suppose that could’ve possibly worked out. Better late to the game than never, right? Thanks for the advice and encouragement, George!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thurston Hunger

    Since I feel that "confirmation bias" is the disease of the day, I should out myself as recovering Rhetoric-a-holic. Add to the confession that I am of the contrarian denomination. Thus the desire to stem the swelling STEM tide rises within me, as well as a mild level of self-defense for the Humanities, if not humanity itself. The title alone hopefully will buoy the spirits of parents and students themselves drawn towards the perilous pits of the Liberal Arts. The book itself felt like it was 85% Since I feel that "confirmation bias" is the disease of the day, I should out myself as recovering Rhetoric-a-holic. Add to the confession that I am of the contrarian denomination. Thus the desire to stem the swelling STEM tide rises within me, as well as a mild level of self-defense for the Humanities, if not humanity itself. The title alone hopefully will buoy the spirits of parents and students themselves drawn towards the perilous pits of the Liberal Arts. The book itself felt like it was 85% ethos, riding on testimonials of unique success stories. There is a nice chart early comparing salary curves for engineering grads versus the dreaded well-read. Overall, I walk away less assured than expected. I still cringe when folks say things like "I don't get Math" or seem to have some attitudinal antibodies attacking science (and I'm not even thinking of spiritual sling and arrows necessarily). To me STEM is like a language, and arguably the most important one these days (google translate to the Babelfish cannot be far off, but still my boys will log three years of disposable high-school French). Anyways the more STEM one can pursue and be fluent in, I think that is good for more than vocational reasons. Is there a pareto-chart of the success stories in the book, how many were hanging off tech, even if the tech were no-more than marketing masquerading as "social engineering?" The Morningstar rising star was interesting, I do think that selling a "story" is a skill that has always been key, especially when you are the "story." Next I probably need to go read a book on the future of colleges/education. I remember ten years ago hearing that some schools would allow Google (or was it AltaVista) on essay tests, or had classes in effective searching online as part of their curriculum. I have a hard time imagining what Organic Chemistry is like these days, is memorizing still a large part of its core? So despite having read this book, I find myself trying to plant split seeds in my kids, perhaps not-so-secretly daring to hope the artist/engineer and musician/biologist ended up being minor/majors as opposed to major/minors. My bigger worry beyond my own kids (who will likely do fine and who will SURELY do their own thing, seeds be damned) is the notion of a split society pitting STEM-team those who don't make the cut. But then again, is this more merchandising of fears? The digital divide was supposed to be a similar huge rift in the world, which just did not materialize. All for one, and I-phones for all? Lastly back to you invisible friend, I think you could pretty much read the online articles by the author, or reviews of this book like the WSJ one, written by someone with some skin and tassles in the non-STEM game as the President of Wesleyan.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Smith

    3.5 I am a career (20+) IT pro currently in Cyber Security. I have a Master's in Engineering. I also have a BA and an MA. So I am a staunch defender of liberal arts education, it taught me how to think. How to perform a deep analysis and made me a better communicator. I think this book is valuable in that it provides dozens of examples on how to lead a successful life, career-wise, when coming from a BA background. Obvious criticism: if you're going to work in IT or Finance why not take those courses? 3.5 I am a career (20+) IT pro currently in Cyber Security. I have a Master's in Engineering. I also have a BA and an MA. So I am a staunch defender of liberal arts education, it taught me how to think. How to perform a deep analysis and made me a better communicator. I think this book is valuable in that it provides dozens of examples on how to lead a successful life, career-wise, when coming from a BA background. Obvious criticism: if you're going to work in IT or Finance why not take those courses? Great question. I think College is far more than job prep. It teaches you to think critically and be a global citizen, just look around and you see the effects of the downfall of critical thinking. Having said all of that, the book really could have been one long article, or if he wanted to keep the examples, a series of articles. Better yet an article with reference to a website containing a database of liberal arts success stories. Overall a good read, if you or your child are considering a BA it's worth a read.

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