You don't have to go to college to be a success. Even if you go for awhile, you don't have to graduate to be a success. Here are just a few of the people who have become famous and/or successful without graduating from college and/or high school.
Andrew Jackson, U.S. president, general, attorney, judge, congressman. Orphaned at 14. Home schooled. By the age of 35 without formal education, he became a practicing attorney. Of the 43 people who served as president of the United States, 8 never went to college.
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson III, rapper, entrepreneur, producer, actor, book author, amateur boxer. Dropped out of high school in the 10th grade. Began dealing drugs at the age of 12. Began rapping professionally at the age of 21.
As he later noted, "If I had a choice, I would’ve been a college kid. I would’ve majored in business."
Reggie Jackson, baseball player. Attended Arizona State University for two years before he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics.
Jane Jacobs, author, political activist, urban planner. After high school, she worked at a variety of office jobs and as a freelance writer. She studied for two years at Columbia University's extension school, but did not graduate.
For the first time I liked school and for the first time I made good marks. This was almost my undoing because after I had garnered, statistically, a certain number of credits I became the property of Barnard College at Columbia, and once I was the property of Barnard I had to take, it seemed, what Barnard wanted me to take, not what I wanted to learn. Fortunately my high-school marks had been so bad that Barnard decided I could not belong to it and I was therefore allowed to continue getting an education.
Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall children's book series, never attended college. At the age of 15, he signed up to be a merchant seaman and then went on to work as a truck driver, boxer, longshoreman, folk singer, and bobby. He was in his 40s when he wrote his first story. His Redwall books have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
Micky Jagtiani, billionaire retailer, Landmark International. Flunked several exams and dropped out of accounting school in London. Started out cleaning hotel rooms and driving a taxi. Eventually started a retail business in the Middle East.
T. D. Jakes, pastor, bestselling novelist. Dropped out of high school.
Betty Mattas James, CEO, James Industry. Named the Slinky toy. Member of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. She attended Pennsylvania State University but left when she married Richard James, who later invented the Slinky. More than 300 million Slinkies have been sold.
Etta James, singer, queen of R&B. Signed as a recording artist when she was still a teenager. Never attended college.
Josh James, multimillionaire co-founder of Omniture. Dropped out of Brigham Young University during his final semester to co-found MyComputer.com, which became Omniture.
Kevin James, aka Kevin George Knipfing, comedian and actor. Attended the State University of New York at Cortland but dropped out of college after his junior year (after taking a course in public speaking) to perform stand-up comedy.
P. D. James, mystery novelist. Her greatest regret is "that I didn't go to university."
Thomas Jane, actor. Dropped out of football at Thomas Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland to pursue acting. Got his high school degree, but never attended college.
Jim Jannard, founder of Oakley and inventor of the Red One digital camera. Dropped out of USC School of Pharmacy to found Oakley.
Brandon Jennings, basketball player. He was the first high school player to skip collage and jump straight into pro basketball in Europe.
Claudia Jennings, model and actress. At the age of 10, she enrolled at Marquette University to study dramatic arts. But dropped out to pursue a career as a model and actress. Known as the Queen of the Drive-In for such classics as Gator Bait and Truck Stop Women, she also starred in a number of mainstream movies and TV shows. She died in an auto accident at the age of 29.
Peter Jennings, news anchor, ABC's World News Tonight. Failed the 10th grade. Left high school at 16 to work as a bank teller. He later attributed his failure in high school to boredom and laziness.
Chris Jericho, aka Chris Irvine, WWE world champion wrestler, actor, author, radio and TV host, rock musician. Never attended college.
Derek Jeter, baseball player, set a New York Yankee record as their all-time hit leader. Chose to become a professional baseball player rather than attend college.
Steve Jobs, billionaire co-founder of Apple Computers and Pixar Animation; Disney's largest shareholder. Dropped out of Reed College after six months and went to India before returning to Silicon Valley. As he said, “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and how college was going to help me figure it out.”
Billy Joel, singer and songwriter. A high school dropout.
John Johannesson, founder of Bauger Group fashion retailing group, finished Commercial College in Iceland (the equivalent of something between high school and junior college in the U.S.) and then launched a discount grocery with his father.
Jon Lech Johansen, software programmer, developer of DoubleTwist. At the age of 15, he wrote a program to decrypt commercial DVDs. He dropped out of high school to continue working on additional anti-DRM software programs.
Andrew Johnson, U.S. president, vice-president. Never attended college. Of the 43 people who served as president of the United States, 8 never went to college.
Bruce Johnson, cosmetologist and owner of Avatar Salon & Wellness Spa. Dropped out of the University of Maryland 26 credits shy of an engineering degree to study cosmetology. “I wasn't loving engineering. I was just doing it. ... I don't think I would have been as stimulated by a career in engineering. I wanted to be happy and successful,” he says. “You're not supposed to leave college. It was a struggle. But my heart was in this.” Now his clients include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Kenny Johnson, founder of Dial-A-Waiter restaurant delivery service. Dropped out of Wichita State University.
Samuel Jonas, chief operating officer, IDT. Dropped out of Rutgers and Ramapo College.
Alan Jones, founder of Check Into Cash, former CEO of Credit Bureau Services. Dropped out of Tennessee State University to work at his father's credit agency.
Alex Jones, radio show host, documentary movie producer, founder of InfoWars.com and PrisonPlanet.tv. Briefly attended Austin Community College in Austin, Texas, but dropped out early. Has been criticized for not having a degree.
Davy Jones, singer and actor. Dropped out of high school to train as a jockey.
January Jones, model, actress. Left home three days after graduating from high school to go to New York to become a model. Later became an actress.
Jeremy Jones, snow boarder, film star. Did not attend college. Moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to pursue his passion as a snowboarder.
John Paul Jones, patriot, navy admiral. Home schooled. Went to sea early.
Quincy Jones, musician, composer, music producer, music executive, and more. Attended the Berklee College of Music but left when he got the opportunity to tour with Lionel Hampton's band as a trumpeter, arranger, and pianist.
Molly Jong-Fast, novelist. Went to Barnard, Wesleyan, and New York University for a semester each. Never finished college.
Drop out of school before your mind rots from our mediocre educational system. — Frank Zappa, musician, liner notes from the Freak Out album
Copyright 2013 by book promotion expert John Kremer
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