06 June 2012

Book Review

Worthless by Aaron Clarey

Worthless jumps out of the gate by pointing out just how important a decision college is, and how worthless college is for many people.  Clarey recounts several stories of students who went to college, got into a ton of debt, and now have nothing to show for it other than a terrible and job meaningless credentials.  From there he explains the basic economics of the labor market in terms simple enough for most high schoolers, and presumably high school guidance counselors, to understand.  Quite simply, there is a limited amount of demand for college-educated labor, particularly when that education consists of mostly bullshit.

Fortunately, Clarey is very fair about the market for college-educated labor, in that he notes that one’s major is more important than the mere act of going to college.  To put it simply, college is a good choice if you’re going to be a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) major than if you’re going to major in some vapid drivel, like business administration or womyn’s studies.  There are some business majors that are decent, like accounting, and some STEM majors that are stupid, like environmental engineering, but a good rule of thumb is that more math that’s involved, the more profitable the major will be.

Clarey also spends some time discussing trade schools and other alternatives to college.  While his list is not as exhaustive as, say, James Altucher’s, it does get the job.  Clarey is especially helpful in pointing out that some majors can be done DIY.  English majors, for example, could just borrow classics from the library instead of paying some old fogey to tell them what to read.

He also spends some time explaining the current state of cult-like devotion to higher education, generally placing the blame on those who legitimately deserve it.  Quite a bit of time is spent on debunking some college myths as well.

The book is written in the Captain’s generally breezy, and generally humorous style.  The book is rather obviously an individual effort, as an editor would make the book’s tone a little drier, and would likely catch most of the grammatical and spelling errors.  That said, the book is quite readable, quickly paced, and easily grasped.  This would make a great gift for grads, or for ids celebrating their sixteenth birthday.  It would also be a good read for any parents who seem hell bent on having their kids go to college for the sole reason of having their kid go to college.

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