For the Love of Learning – Happiness without Higher Education – Epi#66



Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode 66

Happiness without Higher Education

Original Air Date:

Monday July 25, 2016  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday July 26, 2016 1:00 am – 3:00 am GMT


Kevin Olson
Martin Harvey-Olson
Rocco Stanzione
Brandon & Jennifer Pearce
Philip Bena



What do David Karp, founder of Tumblr, David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue airlines, Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg, multi-millionaire and billionaire co-founders of Facebook, Michael Dell, billionaire founder of Dell Computers, and tonight’s panelists have in common?

They are all living happy, extremely fulfilling lives, without the need for higher education. All of these amazing people prove that all you really need to succeed in today’s world is passion and perseverance, as formal education is becoming more and more, for many people, just an unnecessary expense and waste of time.

Of course there are some occupations that will always require a degree; doctor, lawyer, teacher. And some trades will always require a specific class and/or certificate. But, in today’s world, with so much information available for free on the internet and in public libraries, as well as internships, apprenticeships, etc, a 4 year (or more) degree seems to be just an expensive delay to beginning an independent life.

Kevin Olson


Kevin is an unschooling father of 4 with a successful career in high tech, despite having no academic credentials to speak of. Kevin left high school at the age of 17, frustrated and bored with public education and anxious to break free from the monotony. He entered the workforce immediately, trying his hand at many things, from loading flatbed trucks for UPS to fabricating suits and shelters for the US military to use in chemical warfare. Eventually Kevin realized his passion for computer science, which he had nurtured as a hobbyist since grade school, could be an opportunity for a fulfilling career and a great way to support his family. So armed with nothing but basic computer skills he started pursuing this goal, starting in low paying call center work and working his way up into more technical roles. He is now the engineering lead of a global IT team with responsibility for infrastructure in 30 office in 22 different countries. The company he works for is an e-commerce powerhouse and he gets to be at the center of all the technology that makes it possible. He also balances this career with unschooling life, including kids, animals, frequent family travel, and other pursuits like music, art and playing hockey.

Martin Harvey-Olson


Martin is an unschooled kid who is all about creative expression through music. He has been following his passions for years – cosplay, art, martial arts, gymnastics, but most of all music. He has taught himself to play multiple instruments, and is working on mastering multiple musical styles and genres, although his favorite is Rock/Alternative. As someone who is at the traditional age to start thinking about college, Martin is weighing his options and feels that pursuing the traditional path of a 4 year college degree doesn’t make sense.

Rocco Stanzione


Rocco, despite being an extremely intelligent guy, eked through high school by the skin of his teeth. After barely graduating, he started going to community college, but hated it because after about a month, and a lot of money, he hadn’t learned anything that he couldn’t have learned on his own, faster and for free. So he stopped going and took his first job as a waiter for $2.12/hr plus tips and worked his way up to $70k a year as a bartender. Finding this to be a dead end career path, he left the service industry and entered the tech space in a support position, starting over at minimum wage. He began climbing the ladder again until he finally found his true calling as a programmer, and eventually a 6 figure programmer. Today he works from home or from family road trips or wherever else he happens to be, as Chief Technology Officer for a technology startup, and runs his own company on the side.

Brandon & Jennifer Pearce


Brandon and Jennifer Pearce have been traveling the world with their three daughters since 2009, and have visited and lived in over 32 different countries. Their travels are funded by Brandon’s business,, which brings in almost $1mill/year and employs over 20 people who all work from home. Brandon has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Weber State University, and Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Utah. Neither of them have used their degrees professionally, as Brandon was fully employed as a programmer before he graduated due to having started the business by learning programming on his own.

Philip Bena


Philip Béna Jr. was home educated and is the owner/operator of The Leaning House Studio & Productions located in Metropolitan Washington, DC. After completing high school, Philip was pressured by his mom to attend college, and made it through about a month or two before completely losing interest. He stopped showing up, and put his energy instead into his internship at a local recording studio. Today he is living the dream as an audio engineer, camera operator and photographer. He has worked with people like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry and Ron Paul as well as artists like Carole King, Maroon 5 and John Legend. Philip speaks across the country about alternate/home education and unschooling.


Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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