The Investment Scientist

Bill Gates: 11 Things You Don’t Learn in School

Posted on: March 14, 2011

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

A physician client of mine passed on to me this list, from Bill Gates’ talk in a high school. There is a good bit of wisdom there. If you have kids in high school, pass this on to them.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair – get used to it! Rule 2 : The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem.

The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself. Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school.

You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both. Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.

Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: They called it opportunity. Rule 6 : If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault,

so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.. Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring

as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room. Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT.

In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters.

You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time. Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life.

In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds.

Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

11 Responses to "Bill Gates: 11 Things You Don’t Learn in School"

Great list! I’m going to link to it on my site. Love #11.

Haha! Love the last piece of advice!

Bill Gates didn’t get to where he is now for no good reason, did he?! What’s amazing is he seems to know high-schoolers’ mentality very well. Very smart guy.

This is an apocryphal story. Bill Gates never said or wrote this.

The text is an email chain edited version of an op-ed piece that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune on September 19, 1996. In fact, the piece was written by Charles J. Sykes, who also authored of “Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can’t Read, Write, or Add”. Bill Gates had nothing to do with this.

@martingale, next time I have to check the fact with you when I got something from a friend I found interesting.

I guess school misses alot of lessons, lesson concerned with real life, with practicality in addition to the art of living. All people go to same schools same books they want us to grow this way, other elite go to other schools they teach them the shortcut ways and how to live efficiently. Few people of regular schools got the chance, while the elite will surely get the chance. I suggest that we get the real education, not the rusted one.

I suppose so. I have never attended any elite school, I don’t know how it is like. My alma mater Carnegie Mellon is a top school in computer science, I did not learn any short cut there though.

So, Michael Zhuang….maybe you should take Bill Gates out of the title & insert the real author & where it came from? Give credit where it’s due. 🙂

Jeannie, the physician client of mine who passed me this list said it was Bill Gates, there was no reason to think he was lying. If you know the original source, please let me know, I am more than happy to credit it.

As to my client, I can not reveal his name. He already told me he is not the source of the list.

Your friend wasn’t lying, he was just passing on wrong information. This list, prior to it being attributed to Bill Gates in 2000, was claimed to be written by Kurt Vonnegut in ’98 and earlier than that, a Charles Sykes book in ’96. None were true, Ann Landers once ran it as Author Unknown.
I think that’s where it stays…

Greg, thanks for the comment. I guess there is no way for me to verify one way or the others, so I just let the post stand with all these comments as qualifier.

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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