Don’t Go Back to School

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Here is a radical truth: school doesn’t have a monopoly on learning. More and more people are declining traditional education and college degrees. Instead they’re getting the knowledge, training, and inspiration they need outside of the classroom. Drawing on extensive research and over 100 interviews with independent learners, Kio Stark offers the ultimate guide to learning without school. Don’t Go Back to School provides models and methods for taking a new kind of path through learning, and transforming that alternative education into an exciting career path. This inspiring, practical guide provides concrete strategies and resources for getting started as an independent learner. If you’re debating whether college, trade school, or independent learning will get you where you want to be, Don’t Go Back to School is essential reading.

Read an excerpt from Don’t Go Back to School.

Advance Praise for Don’t Go Back to School

Don’t Go Back to School makes good on the advice offered on the cover. It is a brisk, useful guide to learning what you need to learn without having to finish college, or go to grad school. Kio Stark has interviewed a roster of amazing, self-taught talents about how they did it, and distilled those observations into an essential guide.”
—Clay Shirky, NYU Professor, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus

“Not going to graduate school felt like a failure at the time, but wound up being the best choice I ever made. It set me out on a path of self-learning and discovery that led me to work I love, work that would’ve never flown in an academic setting. How I wish I’d had Kio’s book as a guide to help me along the way!”
—Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist

“In my daily life as a Columbia professor, I’m constantly trying to explain to students why a passionate love for learning doesn’t necessarily translate into doing graduate work in the humanities. I am incredibly grateful to Kio Stark for this wonderful book that explains the matter much better than I could myself. I intend to put it into the hands of everyone I know who wants to pursue a life of learning but isn’t necessarily well suited for a life inside the academy.”
—Jenny Davidson, author of The Magic Circle and Breeding: A Partial History of the Eighteenth Century

“Kio Stark’s appreciation of real learning over formal education is particularly inspiring at a moment when the cost of a decent grad school far exceeds the lifetime salaries of the professionals it graduates. As a lifelong learner myself, I don’t envy those who will never experience at least a few years in the safety and camaraderie of a college campus—but thanks to this engaging book and Stark’s enthusiasm, I have new faith in our ability to transcend the quads and forge new academic frontiers.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

“Technologies and networks are only effective to the degree that people know how to use them. That’s where Kio Stark’s Don’t Go Back To School is potentially more valuable than any 100,000 student online course.”
—Howard Rheingold, author of Net Smart: How to Survive Online and Smartmobs