Kevin, at  InvestItWisely.com wrote an interesting post about his college experiences—-feeling that perhaps, college was a waste of time. … read the post

If you’re a fan of Robert Kiyosaki’s, you might even take that to an extreme. His first book (and no, it wasn’t Rich Dad Poor Dad)was called “If you want to be Rich and Happy, Don’t Go to School.”

First of all, I’m not a huge fan of Kiyosaki. Perhaps I’m jealous that he built a money making empire off books that could be summed up in a single, 2000 word magazine article. Each book says the same kind of thing, and each book has this “Grasshopper, follow me and I’ll tell you…” absolutely nothing concrete.

Having said that, I was infected by the “school is a waste of time” mantra that Kiyosaki espouses. Unlike Kevin, I enjoyed many aspects of school. But like Kevin, I thought that the content was mostly a huge waste of time.

But I read Kevin’s comments thoroughly. And they were interesting. A student who was obviously not a native English speaker raved about how useful higher education was to him. Without it, he wouldn’t have the fine job and standard of living that he has today. Whether that person came from China, India, Korea or Sri Lanka, the same theme would probably ring true.

On the way to work today, my wife and I were driving along the freeway. Well…she drove, and I ate my oatmeal. Passing an open truck filled with Bangladeshi workers, I asked, “Pele, how many of those guys do you think are smarter than I am?” We’re talking about guys brought to Singapore from Bangladesh, who work for a dollar an hour. They cut grass with weed eaters: fields three times the size of football fields. It’s cheaper to hire them than it is to fuel and maintain a roving lawn mower. It’s also hot. Temperatures run a minimum of 30 degrees Celsius during the day. And the fields have the odd hidden cobra in the grass (and yes, I am serious).

Those are the lucky guys. Those who aren’t as lucky are doing roadwork over steaming asphalt.

But how many of those guys are smarter than me? Based on pure genetic capacity, how many of them could think circles around me if given the opportunity? Have we numbed ourselves to the benefits of education because we’ve taken it for granted? Do we really know what it means?

And where do we draw the line? As Kevin and I have both questioned, where and when is it a superfluous waste?