George Anders undertakes a difficult task in You Can Do Anything: he offers hope and advice to liberal arts majors. (Whether it works on their parents is another matter.)
As college tuition has taken off, parents and students have become increasingly concerned about the return on investment. Thousands of students head to campuses each fall having heard some version of The Talk: major in something tech-related so you can have a job after school. Parents wring their hands about their sophomore philosophy major at Oberlin, foreseeing a future involving clearing tables and living at home.
Fear not, ye wary undergrads, you will find a job after graduation! George Anders enthusiastically argues for the ancient wisdom that learning to think critically will offer the best chance for long-term success.
It’s old-fashioned to regard a college education as a path to greater job stability. College provides something more precious: the ability to switch jobs successfully when new opportunities arise or old ones wither.
Anders argues that automation is coming for most all our jobs. Yeah, my white collar gig, too. Your white collar gig. Everybody’s white collar gig. (I said that in Oprah’s voice.) But, as automation takes up the work, what the workforce will need are flexible critical thinkers. Thinkers who can pivot and think outside of the box. Aka, liberal arts grads.
The book is full of stories of history, cinema, and philosophy majors now running international programs for non-government organizations and heading up user experience for Etsy. The jobs are often far afield from the majors they graduated with, which is precisely his point. Anders presents case after case, and the tone of the book is relentlessly optimistic.
This is absolutely Oh, The Places You’ll Go for college students, and I cannot recommend it enough.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this review.