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Better Off Podcast

Ep. 040: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education

Author George Anders describes how people who study the liberal arts can be highly successful in an evolving high-tech future.

Jill Schlesinger

By Jill Schlesinger, CFP®
  |  Published: October 5, 2017

So often on this podcast, and on my radio show, we field questions from recent grads with insane amounts of student loan debt. Sometimes it’s enough debt to wreck a life.

There’s enough blame to go around, but so often it’s a case of students feeling the pressure to go to fancy, high priced colleges to study what seems like an obscure major. But before you think that I am about to argue that every able-bodied student should be studying for a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field, read on…

Let me pose a question. What is wrong with a well-rounded liberal arts degree? A degree, which I might add, can be earned at countless reasonably priced colleges.

George Anders, our guest this week on Better Off makes a strong case in his recently released book, “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education.”

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or know how to write computer code to succeed in today’s work environment.

When you really think about it, it’s amazing how many doors a so called “useless” liberal arts education can open.

As George says, you can be yourself, as an English major, and thrive in sales. You can segue from anthropology into the booming new field of user research; from classics into management consulting, and from philosophy into high-stakes investing. At any stage of your career, you can bring a humanist’s grace to the rapidly evolving high-tech future.

If you’ve got kids starting the college application process, who are resisting calls to declare a STEM major or if you’re thinking about furthering your education by going to grad school, listen to this episode before making any decisions.

This article was originally published on Jill Schlesinger’s LinkedIn.

The opinions stated on the Better Off podcast are those of the host, Jill Schlesinger, and her guests, and not those of Betterment or its employees. Any third party links provided are offered as a matter of convenience and are not intended to imply that Betterment endorses, or is affiliated with the owners of or any information contained on those sites, unless expressly stated otherwise. Listen to a preview and subscribe to “Better Off” here.

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