Friday, October 8, 2010

Another Alternative to Graduate School

Seth Godin wrote an alternative to graduate school a while back. I'm casually reading a book called "The Art of Non-Conformity and came across another less daunting alternative to graduate school in this book:

Copied directly from the book, pages 118, 119:

  • Subscribe to the Economist and read every issue religiously.

  • Memorize the name of every country, world capital, and current president or prime minister in the world.

  • Buy a round-the-world ticket or use frequent flyer miles to travel to several major world regions, including somewhere in Africa and somewhere in Asia.

  • Read the basic texts of the major world religions: The Torah, the New Testament, the Koran, and teachings of Buddha. Visit a church, a mosque, a synagogue, and a temple.

  • Subscribe to a language-learning podcast and listen to each 20-minute episode, five times a week, for the entire year. Attend a local language club once a week to practice

  • Loan money to an entrepreneur through and arrange to visit him or her while you're abroad on your big trip.

  • Acquire at least three new skills during your year. Suggestions: photography, skydiving, computer programming, martial arts. They key is not to become an expert in any of them, but to become functionally proficient.

  • Read at least 30 nonfiction books and 20 classic novels

  • Join a gym or heatlh club to keep fit during your rigorous independent studies.

  • Become comfortable with basic presentation and public speaking skills. Join your local Toastmasters club to get constructive, structured help that is beginner-friendly.

  • Start a blog, create a basic posting schedule, and stick with it for the entire year. You can get a free blog at One tip: don't try to write every day. Set a weekly or biweekly schedule for a while, and if you're still enjoying it after three months, pick up the pace.

  • Set your home page to Over the next year, every time you open your browser, you'll see a different, random wikipedia page. Read it.

  • Learn to write by listening to the Grammar Girl podcast on iTunes and buying Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

  • Instead of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, read The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs, a good summary

You can spend one year on this for a total cost of $10,000 or less.

Much less than a typical graduate school program and much more valuable.

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