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In Defense of Bullshit Degrees

I was listening to a proud, confused, upset parent of a brilliant college student.

Their child was at a top university and declared their major. It wasn't science, engineer, pre-med, pre-law or finance.

It was a (and I quote) “A Bullshit Degree,” focused on a hugely important long-standing societal problem.

I wish I had said, “when I think about Nobel Peace Prize winners, most of them didn't achieve great things by being scientists, engineers, lawyers, or financiers. Most of them work on problems like the one your child is focused on.”

But I didn't think of it in time. I have been so used to hearing things being written off as “Bullshit Degrees,” that at first I accepted it without thought.

But I will send them a link to this article.

And a note to their child to let them I know that I am proud of what they are doing already even if it takes a while for their parents to understand.

Today's and go out to everyone studying and otherwise preparing to tackle critically important problems despite the lack of support and understanding of their community. And to the 80000 hours folk who provide encouragement and guidance that would otherwise not be available to them.


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  1. *if only the world was filled with MORE who are “studying and otherwise preparing to tackle critically important problems” – I think it already has enough scientists, engineers, lawyers + financiers

    no one knows where this path will go – this could become her proudest moment

Written by Russell Brand

Entrepreneur in residence at Founder Institute, he has mentored, performed due diligence on and invested in numerous early stage companies. Hundreds of these early stage companies have described Russell’s insights and advice as the most useful thing in the history of their companies. He has always had an inborn ability to find more valuable uses of new ideas and faster ways to achieve results.


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