Happyness of the Unedjikated
RutledgeAvenue just posted in his CAPS blog a short book review of The Pursuit of Happyness, which I never read, though I must say was a very entertaining movie. (In short, it's the story of Chris Gardner, a self-made millionaire despite having no college education and having lived on the streets with his son while going through a wall street firm's stock brokerage training program which paid very little.)
I was a bit perturbed to see that CAPS player joeykid13 responded to the review with the following:
"I think in many respects, education limits a persons unique and intuitive ability to create freely, without prejudice or predisposition to the ideas of other people. Dave Thomas (Wendy"s) and Harland Sanders (KFC) are two examples, who are my personal heros. Dave had a fourth grade education, and actually got his GED from Coral Springs HS, sometime in the 90's I think. Harland, was all heart. I saw an interview with his daughter where she affectionately said, (*indirect quote) "Mother always had to watch Daddy's check book to make sure there was enough money at the end of the year to pay the taxes." One one single day, Harland gave out 900 college scholarships...just one example of his supreme generosity. It is no surprise that Dave was, of course...the understudy of the Colonel. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, being just one example of his supreme legacy. Nobody is gonna remember the CEO's of today when they die, but Dave Thomas and Harland Sanders will live forever."
Joeykid13, I'm sorry, but I think you suffer from a lack of understanding of cause and effect. I wouldn't be as strongly opposed to your comment if you did not believe something so dangerous as "education limits a person." It is not that education prevents one from creating freely, but rather, one who makes the decision to go out and "create" at an early age does so at the expense of education--and every once in a while, one of them will get lucky and succeed and have a riveting story of how they overcame the odds. But there is nothing inherent in education that prevents one from using his creativity; rather, it can provide the knowledge for a creative mind to expand on the wheel rather than having to reinvent it first. For all the people who have dropped out of school, you note a couple who ended up being successful (and ignore the tremendous amount of luck involved), as if dropping out was the path to success. Yet, you ignore the masses of grade-school dropouts who are broke, struggling, and wishing they had finished school. And you definitely ignore all the people who DID get a proper education and succeeded. (And people will more easily remember Ronald McDonald than they will Colonel Sanders, and McDonalds is a CLOWN. Don't get success confused with branding.)
I will say that there are certain people who only need structured education to a certain degree before being ready to make an immediate impact (Bill Gates, for example). But they are few and far between. As for the Colonel and Dave Thomas, it sure seems to me that either could have found the same success if they were educated... and maybe even sooner. The Colonel was like 65 before starting KFC... that many years of life surely "prejudice[s] or predisposition[s] [one] to the ideas of other people."
The most dangerous result of structured education is that it allows one to take a safe route, which increases the opportunity cost of entrepreneurship. The real entrepreneurs, however, will never allow opportunity cost to hinder their passion.