“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” — Oscar Wilde
Of course, B Schools can’t teach you to be Steve Jobs or Bill gates. And a doctorate in literature can’t make you Harper Lee. There’s no denying the fact that no investment pays like education, but some people are just too good and lack of formal education can’t stop them from being famous. Here are five legendary writers who showed us they don’t need a degree in literature to write timeless classics.
The well loved author of The Pickwick Papers permanently dropped out of school when he was 15 and started working as a clerk in a solicitor’s office. Financial difficulties ruined his chances of completing education. ”Although I am not an educated man, I am able, I am thankful to say, to have an intelligent interest in most things.” Who dare question the talent of Charles John Huffam Dickens?
The first non-European to win Nobel Prize in literature never attended school. Widely considered as one of the most creative artists of the modern era, Tagore wrote novels, poems, plays and was also famous for his paintings. He is the only person who wrote national anthems for two countries — India and Bangladesh. Tagore had a great circle of friends, which included Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Thomas Mann, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Romain Rolland among others.
Who can earth could twist English language better than good old Mark Twain? The author of the great American novels — The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — dropped out of school when he was just twelve and became a printer’s apprentice. Considered as one of the greatest American humorists of all time and regarded as the father of American literature by Faulkner, Mark Twain proved that you can earn respect as well as fortune without education.
Faulkner started off pretty well as a student, lost it somewhere in the middle and never graduated from high school. The struggling student eventually became a Nobel Prize laureate and wrote classics like The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom that are considered among the best English language novels of the 20th century.
George Bernard Shaw
“Schools and schoolmasters, as we have them today, are not popular as places of education and teachers, but rather prisons and turnkeys in which children are kept to prevent them disturbing and chaperoning their parents.”
Shaw is possibly the most perfect example of a self educated artist and was an outspoken critic of school education. He was a voracious reader, and a dedicated student of art, literature and history. However, he had little faith in formal education and dropped out of school when he was fourteen. Remember Pygmalion? You can make a person erudite and sophisticated without imposing the burden of school education, can’t you?