Self-Education Quotes – What Great Thinkers Have to Say About Independent Learning

Written by on March 9, 2007 in Basics Of Self Education - 14 Comments

Over the coming months, this blog will give suggestions for how to become a “self-made scholar,” – a person who takes control of his or her own learning.

Schools can give you a lot of opportunities, but relying on schools to give you an education is ridiculous. I have a graduate degree, and I’ve learned more from library books and websites than I’ve ever learned in class.

But, don’t take my word for it. Check out these self-education quotes from some very perceptive thinkers:

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school,”
– Albert Einstein

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
– Mark Twain

“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing–the rest is mere sheep-herding.”
– Ezra Loomis Pound

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
– Jim Rohn

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”
– Socrates

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”
-Carl Rogers

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”
– Isaac Asimov

“Just as eating against one’s will is injurious to health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci

“The idea that the majority of students attend a university for an education independent of the degree and grades is a hypocrisy everyone is happier not to expose. Occasionally some students do arrive for an education but rote and mechanical nature of the institution soon converts them to a less idealic attitude”
– Robert M. Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintance

“Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money–in that order; it is a process, a never-ending one.”
– Bel Kaufman

“The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested.”
– William Dean Howells

“If you meet at dinner a man who has spent his life in educating himself – a rare type in our time … you rise from table richer, and conscious that a high ideal has for a moment touched and sanctified your days. But Oh! my dear Ernest, to sit next to a man who has spent his life in trying to educate others! What a dreadful experience that is!”
– Oscar Wilde

14 Comments on "Self-Education Quotes – What Great Thinkers Have to Say About Independent Learning"

  1. Tenille March 13, 2007 at 2:30 pm · Reply

    I just wanted to congratulate you on, and thank you for, what looks set to be a fantastic site. I’m going to go and dive straight into those resources now!

  2. admin March 14, 2007 at 11:17 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the warm words Tenille. Good luck with your learning!

  3. China November 18, 2007 at 10:38 pm · Reply


  4. Peter June 11, 2008 at 12:26 am · Reply

    This is a good philosophy . Especially where they say ” The idea that the majority of students attend a university for an education independent of the degree and grades is a hypocrisy everyone is happier not to expose…….”. In these days , this is becoming more and more real !

  5. Rueda libre August 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm · Reply

    He estado de curioso por algunos minutos observando los comentarios y demás actividades de estas extraordinarias páginas y me parece sencillamente maravilloso ser Autodidacta en el aprendizaje. Muy muchacho tuve la idea de renunciar de la escuela donde estaba cursando el tercer año de primaria, aun recuerdo ese momento, mi sentimiento fué de libertad, y de ser el forjador de mi destino. desde ese dia, jamás me sentí arrepentido de haber tomado esa decisión. Han pasado muchos años de practicar el Autoaprendizaje y hoy en dia disfruto aún con los cursos virtuales para entender la arquitectura de los computadores y viajar a través de esa aventura maravillosa que se llama Internet. Será que se nace con esa cualidad o don, ¿Ustedes que opinan?
    Muy amables por su atención………Jorge Enrique Pinzón.

  6. Mark Wieser February 19, 2009 at 9:07 am · Reply

    Great quotes. Here’s another:

    “An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.” – Anatole France

  7. Ryan M July 23, 2009 at 10:30 am · Reply

    Very helpful resource. I am compiling similar quotes at my self-education blog, Wide Awake Minds (; here are a few links to thinkers I’ve collected so far:

    Literary critic Northrop Frye:

    Poet and Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz:

    Linguist Jean Roemer:

    Keep up the great work, Jamie!


  8. vijay grover February 25, 2010 at 2:43 am · Reply

    Wondeful and impackable collection. In fact helped in developing insight in tothe concept of Education.

  9. Shedd April 26, 2010 at 2:09 am · Reply

    I have alot of contempt for people who attend college with the MAIN view of getting a high paying careeer. Money money money !!!! Why has knowlegdge become instrumental instead of intrinsic ? Well , then again I have contempt for compulsory education as a whole. Truly the greatest university is a personal library. I have yet to hear a person tell me they’re going to college because the knowledge gives them piece of mind , and that the knowledg is good for its own sake instead of because they plan to make money off of it. I dont need an institution to verify that I have acquired a considerable amount of knowledge. But then again college is far to expensive and given to much credence. To hell with all compulsory education. How many Ph.D. students in comparative literature do you now who are getting the degree and have no intention of using it to make money as a university professor? People “know the cost of everything and the value of nothing”. Knowledge should FIRST be seen as a ends not a means. Peace of mind is the highest goal. Become an autodidact and lover of wisdom and knowledge. You don’t need to make lots of money to know you have value. It should’nt be all about degrees , money and image in the public eye – BUT it is.

  10. kyobe Henry April 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm · Reply

    great minds are not only to great people but to whoever believes in it, anyway how can one believe to posses a great mind?.

  11. BillD June 3, 2010 at 9:17 am · Reply

    Great Blog. I hope you keep it up.

    I have a BA in Philosophy and a MS in Tax Law and have always struggled with the idea that the years I spent in college was a marvelous waste of time. After college I finally had the chance to really read all the books that I was “forced” to study in school and within a year obtained more knowledge than I did in 6 years of college.

    While I understand that some form of organized education is necessary to weed out the ones who care more about “getting by” and less about living a well rounded, educated life, if you really want to improve the self, don’t think you’ll find your goal in school. It ain’t there.

  12. Tamee June 5, 2010 at 9:10 am · Reply

    I’ve been into this concept for awhile.
    It’s the only way people really learn anything.
    Thanks for putting this together for people!

  13. Stevin Hugo September 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm · Reply

    I have bounced back in my life at 43 yrs from educating myself knowing things better, people better, business better,money better, even though I have proved that one can survive without money educating him or her self and start using the human resources for ones self will land me a better salary than letting other use my unlimited potencial to learn for myself instead of letting other tell me what I have to know who I have to know or else disaster.
    Now I really know the true unlimited source of through truth knowledge & information aquired through constant self education Money people & life though multi-Cultural-nationals rather than unilateral corporate schemes of absolute control through lies ignorance & deception denial of changing times confusing the nature of G-d & humanity for religion & politics of the few to fit the one size fits all hemogenisation of populations for absolute capitalist, ambitious control. Trying to set laws to make everything outside this mainsteam system illegal if internationaly illegal in it’s self by U.N, Standards!
    My question to anyone knowing & going throught he same things I did “Provence or Providence To be or not to be that is the question”! Cash, debit or credit! one is paper & the other is plastic where does the value actually lie in the paper or the plastic?
    In the right or the Wrong? In the group or in the individual? In sinle family unit or in the multi-family cell? In S.I of units or the American Standard forms of measurements foots, pints, pounds,etc..the difference between guaranteed success for the majority or selfish gain for the few! Self Education stops my persecuters from harasing me by turning the tables around on them and giving them a taste of their own medicine. Self education allows me to obtain the medicine by knowledge of truth that brings about better living ‘Pysician heal thyself” is a ageless phrase intended not for the M.D Dr.Practitioners but for people who without degrees in medice to self educate themselves a understand how healing comes about! n does not need a degree from a school of medicine to achieve this, but Courage & research, investigation & persistence Yes!! Socialised medicine comes about free & compulsary to all who seek it willl find it! The # 1 health care System as most know is from France. Expensive medicine in other countries try ignorance & denial of the Universal Truths Like S.I & S.M !!! Theres no price one can pay for life was involutary to begin witha gift and always will remain this way though self tought education!! in groups or individaully!!

  14. Link Building Services November 12, 2010 at 6:28 am · Reply

    Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

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