By Steve Gillman
Why have a list of famous dropouts? It isn't meant to discourage
anyone from getting a formal education. There are many advantages
to going to school and getting degrees, particularly if one wants
employment in certain fields. But there are three reasons I think
it is important to publish a list like the following.
1. It reminds us that there are many ways to educate oneself
besides the formal route.
2. It reminds us that success - however it's measured - is
not always a matter of "following the rules."
3. It can encourage those without much formal education to
pursue their goals.
With those reasons in mind, here is a list of famous high
My Favorite Dropouts
Richard Branson - Billionaire British businessman.
Founder of virgin music and dozens of other successful companies.
I love the stories of his creative and bold approaches to business.
Thomas Sowell - Economist, author and political commentator.
One of my favorite writers on political and economic philosophy.
Albert Einstein - Mathematician. He had much more than
just a high IQ. He also had a great sense of humor and playful
George Carlin - Comedian. One of my favorite comedians,
especially because of his word play.
Billy Joel - Singer. You can tell that he puts some
real thought into the music he writes.
Other Famous High School Dropouts
Jim Carrey - Comedian and actor.
Tom Cruise... Actor.
George Eastman... Founder of the Kodak company.
Peter Allen... Australian songwriter, composer, singer.
Randy Travis... Country music singer.
John Travolta... Actor, airline pilot.
Michael J. Fox... Actor.
George Gershwin... Composer
Dhirubhai Ambani... Billionaire Indian businessman.
Wright brothers... Inventors of the airplane.
Peter Jennings... News anchor and reporter.
Keanu Reeves... Actor.
Quentin Tarantino... Movie director.
Dave Thomas... Founder of Wendy's restaurant chain.
Uma Thurman... Actress.
Ansel Adams... Photographer, author.
Bryan Adams... Songwriter, singer.
Jack Albertson... Oscar-winning actor.
List Source: Wikipedia
If you check Forbes magazine's list of billionaires, you'll
find that at least 18 of them dropped out of high school. So
have 10 Nobel prize winners, dozens of best-selling authors and
8 U.S. presidents. Mensa, the high-IQ group, has high school
dropouts among its ranks as well. Of course, this is just a list
of those who quit high school. A list of famous and successful
college dropouts (which would include Bill Gates, the wealthiest
man in the world as I write this), couldn't fit on one page.
Unfortunately it has become less common in recent years for
dropouts to succeed in many areas. This is because diplomas,
degrees, and official papers have become more important to society
than intelligence or competence. I think we can safely assume,
for example, that we will elect no high school dropouts as president
anytime in our lives.
Encourage education - even formal education - is good idea,
but this over-valuing of formal documents may lead us to think
less about what intelligence and success really mean. After perusing
the list above the list above, you can easily imagine there are
many well-papered people in this world that are a rung or two
and true success.