In "If You Want Your Child to Succeed, Don’t Sell Liberal Arts Short," Michael Zinn, a creative strategist at Digital Surgeons, makes the case for the liberal arts. Among other things, he quotes Albert Einstein to the effect that the "value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”
Here is the whole column from the Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2018. p. A13:
Critical-thinking skills are useful in any profession, and not all classes are obscurantist or politicized.
It’s college admissions season, and every parent is mulling the perennial question: “What major will help my child get a good job?”
Standard answers today invariably center on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, often referred to as STEM. Given the skyrocketing costs of higher education, parents and students alike can be forgiven for viewing a college degree as a passport into the professional world, and STEM majors are seen as the best route to professional success.
But my advice is to let your child know that a liberal-arts degree can be a great launching pad for a career in just about any industry. Majoring in philosophy, history or English literature will not consign a graduate to a fate of perpetual unemployment. Far from it. I say this as a trained classicist—yes, you can still study ancient Greek and Latin—who decided to make a transition into the tech world.
I am far from alone. There are plenty of entrepreneurs, techies and private-equity managers with liberal-arts degrees. Damon Horowitz, a cofounder of the search engine Aardvark, holds a doctorate in philosophy. Slack founder Stewart Butterfield and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman both earned master’s degrees in philosophy. The startup where I work employs computer programmers who studied musical composition and philosophy as undergraduates.
Throughout history it has been common for people to study subjects with no immediate relationship to their intended professions. In antiquity, education was intended to enrich students’ lives. Pragmatic benefits such as rhetorical ability, logical reasoning and business skills were welcome byproducts of a good education. The phrase “liberal arts” comes from the Latin word liberalis, meaning “worthy of a free person.” A liberal-arts education gives someone the freedom to participate fully in civic life.