I am so in love with this book. First of all, I had a different impression of what a “liberal education” was when I picked the book. I thought of it in the “not conservative” way and not so much the liberal arts degree that Zakaria was actually going for. I was always going to be an easy sell on that, having an English degree and all, but now I can talk to others about it better. I really do hate the question of what I plan to do with an English degree.
I listened to the audiobook which was a short three hours and read by the author. Honestly, I can listen to him talk about this for days. I loved the research that he did and a lot of the conclusions. I think my favorite was that even the best technical degree these days was only useful for so long before all the information you learned was outdated. Tech has gotten a bit crazy and I can’t imagine trying to decide on a degree that will be obsolete soon while pressured to not get something in the liberal arts.
As I was paying for my degree on my own, my family didn’t get to weigh in on what I was getting it in but that doesn’t mean it didn’t keep them from commenting. They always wondered how I would make good on the expense and investment and then sigh and figure I could always teach if I couldn’t be a writer or something. I absolutely do want to become a published author one day but it’s not the only reason to get an English degree, neither is teaching. I had never thought of it in terms of learning to think and how lateral learning helps us see the world through a wider lens. It makes sense, though, because my trade is technological and I do feel like I’ve had some help along the way with how to form an argument and how to describe the problem from some of my English classes.
My favorite thing about the book is Zakaria’s defense of the millennial generation. There are so many articles and books out there calling them all sorts of things and he totally tears those ideas to shreds. And he does it be quoting ancient Greeks, which is kind of the best part about it.
Anyone about to go to college should read this book and it wouldn’t hurt for those about to send their children to college either. There are some great points to be made and a great value for liberal arts education. As usual, I borrowed this book from the library, but it’s available elsewhere for purchase. Click on the cover image to be redirected to a plethora of purchase options or add to Goodreads for later.