Have you noticed how many of today's most successful people chose to leave our educational system--Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Erin Brockovich, Elon Musk, Sean Combs, Lauren Hill, Michael Dell, Whoopi Goldberg, Larry Page, and Sergei Brin, to name a few?
Ever wonder why people who chose to leave mainstream education became so successful?
Why did breaking the once-standard advice "stay in school" work for them?
Their consistent success drove me, as a professor of entrepreneurship and leadership at NYU, to learn and practice what works that school misses. My recent piece "Why Every Parent or Student Should Read This Book" describes self-directed learning, which answers a lot.
Today I learned that the movie that inspired my learning about progressive education and project-based learning is being made available for free for Thanksgiving weekend.
Most Likely to Succeed
The movie is called Most Likely to Succeed, and it will change how you see education, childhood, and learning.
It will answer most of your questions on why so many great entrepreneurs, leaders, and people who perform in life left school and why so many people today question the value of traditional, compliance-and-coercion-based education.
How to Watch It Free
Being on the mailing list for the film, I received this note:
We're offering free access to the film through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Watch and share the film now:
I checked and the film company is happy for you to watch it. I recommend watching it with family.
Note that nobody I know of questions the value of education, just the coercion, testing, and other problems with our institutionalized system that treats children like prisoners. The movie explains better than a brief column can.
Most of all, it shows alternatives that work. I consider it one of the best resources on education.
Whether you have children in school, some day will, or care about education and democracy--yes, education is as important and fundamental as democracy--you will value this movie.
Here's a trailer:
The movie led me to connect with Tony Wagner, co-author of the book that the movie is based on. The collective works influenced my teaching and pedagogy. (Tony endorsed my book, Leadership Step by Step, which is based on my experiential, project-based course on leadership).
Here are some results from my entrepreneurship course that's based on the style of education Most Likely to Succeed presents. Parents can make the results available to their children (but likely cannot through traditional education).
My students range from undergraduates in their teens to gray-haired professionals who have started and sold companies, about half American-born, about 50-50 male or female, more being from NYU's Stern business school than any other school, but they are from many fields.
Most started my class with no idea of what they would do or even that they'd start a "real life" project at all. Yet class projects led them to being featured in Inc., The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, speaking at Harvard and TEDx, being named a Dalai Lama fellow, and earning raises, promotions, new responsibilities, and job offers.
They've founded ventures and nonprofits, won awards and grants, improved relationships with spouses, parents, children, and colleagues, been accepted to schools--even ones that had previously rejected them--and more.
They've received funding from Harvard, the government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Many projects evolved into profitable ventures. Many became nonprofits.
Yet more led to job offers, raises, and promotions to work on their project without leaving where they were.
Beyond creating any one successful project, they learned to create successful projects in general for life. They learned to work independently of institutionalized entrepreneurship. They learned to create projects based on their interests and develop relationships with valuable people who support them with a vested interest in their success.
They uncovered passions they didn't know they had and learned to act on them successfully. They overcame doubts and inhibitions. They developed confidence, independence, and expectation of success. They learned to love their work.
These abilities change everything.