Before I begin I want to make it clear that whoever reads this is free to comment in any way. You’re free to write that I’m full of shit and don’t understand wealth at all, or point out anything you find disagreeable in my writing. You are free to make any sort of comment with one provision: you back up your comments with sound reasoning and solid critical thinking. And if you make any claims, please back them up with sources, or at least with a logical argument.
Ok, so here’s the thing:
I like to watch youtube music videos while I write, and in between songs there are often various kinds of commercials. Fine with me. Whatever pays the bills. But there is one advertisement, presented by Tai Lopez, that just rubs me the wrong way. On the one hand, in the commercial (which I haven’t been able to actually find on youtube outside of the commercial break) he claims that his Lamborghini is cool and all, but what he really values is books, and the camera then pans left from the car to a large collection of books. Interesting. At first. Then I continue to listen and it becomes apparent that his whole purpose in reading is to become successful and own a Lamborghini. He also has a Ferrari. And then I go to his website (linked below) and he actually claims that we don’t need more book smart people and suggests that college doesn’t equal success (by success he means getting rich).
He’s probably right about the connection between college and wealth. It is very likely that a college education won’t make you a millionaire — or even give you a job that pays the bills. And I have nothing against becoming rich. Like he says in his video, we all want to pay the bills, to feel financially secure. But what does that have to do with having a Lamborghini? And what the fuck does he mean by “book smart people”? What is it about “book smarts” that we don’t need? And if book smarts isn’t necessary, why does he have so many books? And why for the love of all gods does he define success by the ability to own your own Lamborghini?
I have no issues with his success. In fact, I’m happy for him. Lamborghinis are awesome. I’d love to drive one some day. And his story is a real rags to riches kind of story. He went from living on a couch to owning a Lamborghini. Pretty impressive. And I’m sure there are people in who are struggling and want to get out of the basement apartment and earn a real living. So do I actually. But in the process of earning a living please don’t pretend to know about success because you’ve managed to make a lot of money. Wealth is not the only measure of success. And, with all due respect to those who have successfully accumulated great wealth, your financial success does not make you an expert on education or the value of book smarts (still not sure what that means though).
I’ve probably misunderstood Lopez’s ultimate point. The poet in me gets in the way. I’m sure many people will find Lopez’s insights useful, and maybe someone will apply whatever ideas Lopez is suggesting and by doing so will become financially well-off. I have no problem with that. Good for them.
But my contention is that the world doesn’t need more people who want Lamborghinis. (That isn’t to say I think people shouldn’t want or work towards affording one. I’m only saying that Lamborghinis, and the time and energy spent on paying for one only benefit the prospective Lamborghini owner. Again, not saying this is bad. But why would the world need more Lamborghini owners?) The world doesn’t need more people who read only to learn how to get rich. We don’t need people who dismiss book smart people. What we need is a deeper sense of our humanity, our shared transience, our common desires for love and acceptance. We need more peace makers, more critical thinkers, more people who care about knowledge: not because knowledge is power, or because knowledge leads to wealth, but because ignorance is dangerous. We need people who understand the value of knowledge. Period.
So, Mr. Lopez, I wish you luck in your endeavors. I hope you inspire people to get off their butts and learn to earn a good living. But in the process, don’t suggest that a Lamborghini has any relevance to the idea of success, or that the measure of a human lies in a bank account.