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50 Extremely Successful People Who Never Finished School

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Why going to a good school doesn't equal success

When I was a child, my poor dad wanted me to get a good education. “You need to go to a good school so that you can have a good job and be successful in life,” he said. For him, successful meant a decent salary and job security.

My rich dad also believed in a good education. “You need to learn how money works so that you can make it work for you,” he said. For him, success was being an entrepreneur and a smart investor.

Most parents want their children to have a good education and a secure future. They want their child to make it to the top of the food chain. Most parents dread the thought of their children toiling at menial jobs, being underemployed, earning low wages, paying higher and higher taxes, and battling inflation all their lives.

Unfortunately, most parents think that a good school will help their kids avoid these things. The hope is that their kids will become doctors, lawyers, or CEO’s. The problem is that none of those professions help them to be truly financially free.

The reality is that school does not make you successful because it does not teach you financial education. In fact, many of the most successful people in history were successful without finishing school.

To illustrate my point, here’s a list of 50 people who did not finish school but went on to be very successful.

  1. George Washington ​President of the United States
  2. Abraham Lincoln ​​President of the United States
  3. Harry Truman ​​President of the United States
  4. Grover Cleveland ​​President of the United States
  5. Zachary Taylor ​​President of the United States
  6. Andrew Johnson ​​President of the United States
  7. John Glenn ​​​Astronaut, U.S. Senator
  8. Barry Goldwater ​​U.S. Senator
  9. Benjamin Franklin ​​U.S. Ambassador
  10. Winston Churchill ​​Prime Minister of England
  11. John Major ​​Prime Minister of England
  12. Robert Frost ​​Poet
  13. Florence Nightingale ​Nurse
  14. Buckminster Fuller ​Futurist and Inventor
  15. George Eastman ​​Founder of Eastman Kodak
  16. Ray Kroc ​​​Founder of McDonald’s
  17. Dave Thomas ​​Founder of Wendy’s
  18. Ralph Lauren ​​Fashion designer and Entrepreneur
  19. Doris Lessing ​​Nobel Prize recipient in Literature
  20. George Bernard Shaw ​Playwright
  21. Peter Jennings ​​News anchor for ABC
  22. Christopher Columbus ​Explorer
  23. TD Jakes ​​​Pastor
  24. Joel Osteen ​​Pastor
  25. John D. Rockefeller ​Founder of Standard Oil
  26. Karl Rove ​​​Presidential advisor
  27. Ted Turner ​​Founder of CNN
  28. Quentin Tarantino ​Movie director
  29. Peter Jackson ​​Movie director (Lord of the Rings)
  30. Mark Twain ​​Author
  31. Leon Uris ​​​Author
  32. Carl Bernstein ​​Washington Post reporter
  33. Carly Fiorina ​​CEO of Hewlett Packard
  34. Charles Dickens ​​Author
  35. Andrew Carnegie ​​Industrialist
  36. William Faulkner ​​Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner
  37. Li Ka Shing ​​Wealthiest man in Asia
  38. Richard Branson ​​Founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Records
  39. Enzo Ferrari ​​Founder of Ferrari
  40. Henry Ford ​​Founder of Ford Motor Company
  41. J. Paul Getty ​​Founder of Getty Oil
  42. Jack London ​​Author
  43. Larry Ellison ​​Founder of Oracle
  44. Tom Anderson ​​Founder of MySpace
  45. Mark Zuckerberg ​​Founder of Facebook
  46. Steve Jobs ​​Founder of Apple
  47. Steve Wozniak ​​Founder of Apple
  48. Bill Gates ​​​Founder of Microsoft
  49. Paul Allen ​​​Founder of Microsoft
  50. Ringo Starr ​​Beatle

The point of sharing this list with you is not to suggest that kids should drop out of school, or that school is not important. Education is very important. The question is: What kind of education? And where will your children’s education take them? Will it prepare them for the future? Will it secure their financial future in a world with less and less security?

This week, my new book, Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students, goes on sale. The book is the most important book I’ve ever written. It’s a book about the education not taught in schools. It’s about putting your child on a path where they won’t need a job or government pensions to feel secure. It’s about getting to the top, rather than working for those at the top.

Most of all, my new book is about capitalism. It explains why some of the greatest business leaders of our time never finished school. In the book you will find out what the people listed above knew—and why they left school to pursue a truly beneficial education.

If you have children, or know people who do, this book will be essential reading. I’d encourage you to buy a copy for yourself—and one for your friends. Because our children are our future, and they deserve a good future.

Original publish date: April 09, 2013

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