Michael Ellsberg - The Education of Millionaires Collection

Michael Ellsberg – The Education of Millionaires Collection

 

It helps explain why going to college and getting good grades may result only in a lifetime of debt for many people. This book doesn’t just diagnose the problem. It offers the solution.

Topics Covered In This Book:

Doing Meaningful Work In A Meaningful Way
Finding And Connecting With Mentors
What Successful People Know About Marketing And Sales…And How To Teach Yourself
Investing For Success
Building Your Own Brand
Entrepreneurial Mindset Vs. Employee Mindset
The Education Bubble Will Pop — Are You Prepared For The Aftermath?

REVIEW:

How many of you are planning to go to college? Or hope to go to college? I went. Four times. And, I learned some valuable things that I use in my career. But, much of what I do, I didn’t learn in college. I learned on my own…through self-study.

There are many skills I haven’t yet mastered. And, I want to. I enjoy learning. I am also keenly aware of the future that college students will likely face. My kids are not quite college-age, but they are old enough that I’m paying attention.

A college degree is more likely to result in a lifetime of crippling debt than it is a high-paying, fulfilling, meaningful job. So, why do we keep giving and following the same old advice…study hard, get good grades, get into a good college, and you will get a great job. This model is outdated.

The Education of Millionaires accurately describes this situation and provides actionable steps towards a better way of getting an education. Michael Ellsberg describes how he had a very good educational background…like me, he followed what most Americans are told and firmly believe about education, jobs, income, happiness, etc. But, his degree didn’t get him the things he hoped for. He was miserable and broke. It was only when he began to learn (through self-education) the skills that make one successful in life and business, that he turned his life around.

The skills that Ellsberg describes are truly the skills that one needs to succeed…whether as an employee or as an entrepreneur. I agree with him on almost every point in this excellent book. But, I would add a couple of skills that he didn’t include as things that should be learned…the ability to write well and the ability to speak well in public. He is very accomplished at both of these skills. The fact that they aren’t emphasized in the book don’t make them less important.

He’s an excellent writer. In this book he describes the skills he learned and developed (outside of his college education) that led his financial and emotional success. He includes multiple interviews with many other successful people, most of whom are successful despite dropping out of college (or not even attending). This is controversial…I get it.

Most people who drop out of college also drop out of learning. This, more than any other factor, is what leads to the big disparity in income between those who are college graduates and those who are not.

I would argue that both getting a college degree and getting the skills you need to be successful in life are important. But, don’t kid yourself. For most people, the skills you need to be successful in life won’t be learned in college. And, you will pay a lot of money and incur a lot of debt to get a college degree.

Be sure you take the time to both get your college degree AND commit to self-study so you can become proficient at the skills you really need for success in life. The Education Of Millionaires is a great introduction to how to achieve these goals.
Entrepreneurial Mindset Vs. Employee Mindset

There are so many great points in this book, it’s hard to highlight what is most important. I think it’s fair to say that the discussion of the Entrepreneurial Mindset Vs. The Employee Mindset is the most important part of the book, even though it’s toward the end. All of the advice and illustrations given can be viewed as subcategories beneath the Entrepreneur Vs. Employee distinction.

So, what is it? In a nutshell, Ellsberg argues that the Entrepreneurial mindset is the choice to become the active ingredient in your own life. This can work itself out in many ways in different people’s lives. But, the underlying principle is don’t just let life happen to you. Think beyond your 9-to-5 job, or your class schedule, or whatever it is you are currently doing.

Find problems around you that need to be solved. Find a solution and enact it. Let others see that you are a linchpin to the organization and that you don’t just accept the way things are. You strive to improve the organization and the lives of those around you. This is the entrepreneurial mindset.
Doing Meaningful Work In A Meaningful Way

All of the other valuable skills Ellsberg describes in this book fit together to support the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Finding out what those around you need or want…and then helping them get it…that is one of the keys to success and meaning in life. Don’t give with the hope of getting something in return…give for the sake of helping those around you. This will lead to you doing meaningful work in a meaningful way.

The ability to help others solve problems provides a great sense of personal satisfaction. Being the “go-to guy” or “go-to gal” can be its own reward. It can also result in others helping you with your problems, dreams, aspirations, etc. You should never give to others with the expectation that they will return the favor. But, more often than not…they will. In a much bigger way than what you gave. It’s a great cycle to start and to be a part of.
Finding And Connecting With Mentors

Learn about those who are already successful in the area you wish you were pursuing. Whether it’s writing, acting, starting a business, running a nonprofit, etc. Reach out and connect with mentors who can help you step-by-step. If you follow the pattern laid out by Michael Ellsberg, you will have the advice and support of people who want you to succeed, and can actually help you do so.

People who are already successful are usually willing to help out someone who admires them, has applied advice gleaned from what they’ve already written, and genuinely wants to learn more. This is not to say that you can cold email someone successful in your field and demand that they help you. Ellsberg gives great advice for how to approach mentors and how to help them help you.
Marketing And Sales

This part of the book was a bit hard for me to digest, but Ellsberg has convinced me that he’s right. The idea of “selling” has been repulsive to me for most of my life. I picture high-pressure hucksters trying to bully or trick people into buying whatever the huckster is selling. And, then the huckster moves on to the next sucker he can find.

Ellsberg condemns those who practice this type of “selling” as strongly as I do. But, he doesn’t just condemn it, he provides an alternative. He highly recommends Neil Rackham’s Spin Selling as the most important (only?) book you need to read to learn about ethical sales and helping other solve problems.

Based on Ellsberg’s recommendation, I am reading Spin Selling (available at Amazon). I have not yet completed the book, but I must say that Michael Ellsberg is spot on in his praise of it. It strips away a lot of the fallacies of and abuses surrounding selling. And, it gives meaning to the old phrase that, “nothing good happens until you make a sale.”

Based on what I’m learning from Spin Selling, I’m much more comfortable with the idea that others being willing to pay for a solution to their problems is OK. And, if I can be the one to solve those problems, that’s OK. And, if they pay me for my solution, that’s also OK. This is not an easy concept to fully grasp, but I’m starting to get it. And, I’m grateful to Ellsberg for pointing it out.
Investing For Success

Ellsberg does not give investment advice in the sense that he tells you what stocks to pick. Or whether bonds are a better idea right now. Or whether the price of oil is going up or down in the next 12 months.

He talks about investing in terms of investing in yourself. If you do some self-study and learn that there’s an expert who can really help you master a skill you want to develop…save up your money and take a seminar from that expert.

It could be anything from photography to songwriting to video production. Whatever talent you want to develop, there will be someone teaching it. And, investing in yourself by attending a training course is far more likely to pay off financially in the long run than is putting your money in the stock market.
Building Your Own Brand

This is another area where I learned a lot from Ellsberg. It’s part of the Entrepreneurial Mindset. You need to develop the brand of You. Become an expert in what you want to do. Help others around you solve their problems. Be reliable. Be helpful. Be trustworthy. Become a Trusted Agent.

Your reputation may take a while to build up. But, it can be torn down quickly, if you don’t have a “customer service” mindset. When you become the helpful expert, others will depend on you. They will associate you the person, not you the skill set, with excellence and trustworthiness. Be mindful of this trust. Your word is your bond and your name is your brand. Don’t let either one become tarnished.
The Education Bubble Will Pop — Are You Prepared For The Aftermath?

Much like the housing bubble in the 2000s popped, the education bubble is headed down the same path. The tried and true wisdom of studying hard, getting good grades, and getting into a good college will no longer yield the promised result for most young people. There are too many people doing it, and too few jobs available for them. And, many of the ideas and skills learned in college do not translate to the real world. At best, most college degrees are expensive “licenses to learn.” But, they do not produce the actual skills needed for success in the workplace or as an entrepreneur.

Awareness of this problem is the first step towards preventing yourself from being a victim. I’m not saying “Don’t Go To College!” But, I am saying that you are not being realistic if you think that going to college will lead to you getting a job you enjoy that pays you enough for you to have a great life.

The skills you need will have to be developed outside of the formal classroom. Start learning them while you are in college (or even in high school!). Learn what those around need help with and help them. Learn to speak persuasively in public. Learn to write well. Learn to “sell.” Learn to invest in yourself. Learn to build your own brand and reputation.

All of these skills can be learned. After educating yourself, you need to put them into practice. Your first attempt (and second, and third, etc.) might not be successful. But, every entrepreneurial effort will teach you something.

Learning from mistakes, and building upon them, is what leads to successful entrepreneurs, and successful companies. The Education Of Millionaires is an introduction to the skills you will need to develop to be successful in life. Buy the book, read it and re-read it. Follow Michael Ellsberg’s advice.

You won’t regret it…

 

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