NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23: (L-R) Actor/musician Kevin Bacon, student musician Danilo Concepcion, and singer/musican Michael Bacon (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for WQXR Radio)

Amazon has several books on how to play the piano. They go into great detail about chords and notes and black and white keys.

But can you play the piano just by reading the book? Sooner or later you have to plop down on the bench and tickle the ivories.

Teacher Or Trial And Error?

I don’t think I would like to be treated by a Doctor who learned by trial and error. But isn’t that really how medicine has been learned over the years.

Have we progressed from leaches?

There is some book learnin’ but there also has to be hands on in there somewhere. We learn as we go.

Great musicians from Beethoven to Hendrix learned by doing. And by doing it a lot. Practice makes perfect — or so they say.

That must be why they call it practicing medicine or practicing law.

Experience or Direction

I taught myself to play guitar well enough to play in a band for money. So I guess you could say for a time I was a professional musician. In reality I was a practicing musician. Like everyone who ever picked up a musical instrument I wanted to get better.

However, I could have been much better than I was if YouTube had been around in the 1970s and 80s. I could learn almost any popular song much faster by getting a quick lesson on YouTube than sitting down and trying to copy the CD, or in my case the record.

Degree or Dis-Agree

I don’t have a business degree. I have learned business by trial and error over a fifty-year period. I have read countless books and even started my own company in San Diego. No client ever wanted to see my sheepskin.

The fact that I was in business, had business cards, and a few clients was enough.

I have always said, and believed, that I got a better education without the theory of the classroom to cloud my experiences.

Fifty years later I have written a textbook that was used at the University of Alaska and Missouri State University. I am currently teaching a three-credit class in Marketing at Gallatin College. I’ve been on MSNBC.

Some Final Thoughts

Is bringing fifty years of business experience into the classroom better than a college graduate teaching a textbook?

Can I confirm what I’m teaching with real world examples of my experiences with business owners? Does that make the info learned more valuable?

Why bother with a teacher if the textbook is the only material presented? You could just as easily read the book, take an online test, and get ready to take on the world.

Did you get your moneys worth?

Learning anything requires a vast combination of books, real life experiences and in some cases just good ole common sense.

Education can give you a great foundation if you are lucky enough to have the right teachers but experience is where the real learning lies. So study hard but observe life while you do. Comments below.