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Worthless: The Young Person's Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major Paperback – December 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467978302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467978309
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I very much liked this book, it is very simple read and gets to the point.
SkepticalSkeptic
I think if you've already been through college or are already employed, this book will just be common sense that you learned firsthand from working in the real world.
Roberto E. Severino
This is one book that could well return tens of thousands of dollars more than the five dollar outlay, you owe it to yourself to read it.
Alex

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

218 of 242 people found the following review helpful By Book dallier on March 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here is what this book will tell you, in a nutshell:

--You should major in a STEM field, preferably in some type of engineering other than environmental. Clarey discusses and ranks the various engineering fields, but basically, any type of engineering except for environmental is OK. Also OK: degrees leading to jobs in the medical profession (although Biology and especially Kinesiology are discouraged); accounting, statistics, econometrics, and actuarial degrees (though Economics and Finance are discouraged); and computer-oriented degrees. Clarey says little about majors in theoretical sciences such as "pure" math or physics, but it is safe to assume he would discourage them for being not practical enough.

--Also OK is any training that will produce a precise and valued skill. Trade school and military routes are encouraged. The author is vehement that "the lowly plumber has more in common with the bio-engineer than does a doctorate in philosophy because the plumber, like the bio-engineer, produces something of value." Trade school is considered "a superior option to the humanities or liberal arts" because it leads to the acquisition of a skill that is in demand.

--The economics of supply and demand should exclusively dictate what one chooses to study. This is a major point of the book. The author gives the model of a medieval European village in which everyone is expected to pull his weight by providing a genuinely useful service to the community. In such a village, there is no room for "the professional activist, the social worker, the starving artist, the trophy wife, the socialite or the welfare bum." Everyone must contribute something that is in demand by the other villagers.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Andre on February 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Despite the fact that I have one major disagreement with a small part of this book, Aaron Clarey's work is a little masterpiece of straight talk.

He brilliantly dissects those college degrees that have worth and those that are worthless, based on the simple yet staggering truth of Supply and Demand. Further, he helps the college-bound student recognize how spineless parents, teachers, guidance counselors and the like have failed in giving students the truth about a valuable education and going into debt for a worthless one.

If you plan on going to college to party, follow your bliss, and thinking any degree is a good degree, you are setting yourself up for failure and a low-income job.

Clarey also argues strongly that you have a moral responsibility to obtain a worthwhile degree. His final "Parting Advice" chapter emphasizes both actually working while schooling and getting a B.S. rather than a B.A. He also demonstrates the value of some 2-year degrees.

The key is building skills that are in demand. And thus he focuses on STEM: Science, Techonology, Engineering and Math.

My one disagreement is small but important. He sees a B.A. in English as worthless. Well, he's right if the degree means learning merely to read literature and arguing critical theory. But if you get the right professor (as I did, a real dinosaur who understood the technology of writing) you can learn how to write as a valuable skill. My advantage is that I started out as a math/science guy, studying computer programming, but once I sold an article to a computer magazine, I was hooked on making a living as a freelance writer. I ended up making a living in Silicon Valley earning up to $3000 for a half-day's work on a corporate video script.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lacie on September 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book when I head it advertised on The Tom Leykis show. I bought it purely out of amusement , thinking it was going to be filled with crap I already knew and a lot of sexist chauvinistic undertones in it. Boy, was I wrong! I love this book, and the authors " cut to the chase" " super-dry" sense of humor had me laughing out loud many of times. I tried to recommend this to my clueless girlfriends about this little gem, but they still think their degree in Literature is going to get them somewhere in life. I now feel confident as a 25 year old female going back to school soon, that I wont be wasting my time.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. J Malone on February 10, 2012
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This is an excellent little book. I loved reading it and read it in one sitting. I will definitely recommend it to anyone in college. I hope the author comes out with a sequel. In fact, I hope he comes out with an annual edition, something akin to "Knock 'em Dead", that lists all the newest, most useless majors.

A minor point: the book needs a little editing. I noticed some grammar errors, like using the possessive for the plural. It's nothing I can't live with, but I hope the author fixes these errors in the next edition. (But I wouldn't hire an English major to fix them; most English majors I know really don't even have a working knowledge of grammar. They think it's "oppressive" and supports the "patriarchy.")

I wish someone had given me this book when I was in college.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By physics student on December 17, 2011
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This book takes deadly aim at the various dishonesties which infest modern higher education, and provides at least some guide to assist the entering student in avoiding the worst, most costly pitfalls - these being going deeply in debt for degrees which are both intellectually and financially WORTHLESS.

Most of the book works for Canada as well as the US, though the funding system is different. For example, Clarey assigns low value to foreign languages, which is undoubtedly realistic for people in the Midwest, but not so accurate for Canadians. Clarey discusses grade inflation, but not quite with the vehemence the the subject deserves. And while discussing various academic slimeballs (quite accurately I might say - some of these I must call colleagues), he doesn't go into the invidious role that Boards of Governors/Boards of Regents play.

I hope this book saves a few from the depths of debt and frustration. However, lay people think they know everything about the subject, and some never realise that they have been had.
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