College Debt and Stolen Books

Recently I heard a caller on Dave Ramsey’s show tell Dave that he was making $35,000 annually and had $275,000 in student loan debt. Frankly, I’m pretty sick and tired of hearing these horror stories about kids thinking that no matter what the cost, getting a degree is well worth it. That’s baloney – unless you have a careful plan laid out, you may be doing little more than accumulating crippling debt. Be realistic about what prepares you for success in today’s world.

On a related note, a recent Nashville Tennessean article related the rising incidents of stolen textbooks on college campuses all across the country. Students know the value of a book can easily be turned into cash at many campus bookstores. It appears that students already strapped for cash submit to the temptation to of stealing classmates’ books for a little boost to their pocket change.

While this method may be a temporary cash boost, stealing creates a permanent scar to that person’s integrity that cash will not repair. Unfortunately, I fear it simply opens the door to a damaging lack of character that makes an individual a poor candidate for positive contribution to any organization.

I once fired a valuable employee because I discovered he had taken a 4-pack of toilet paper home with him from the stockroom at my business. He was incredulous that I would fire him over a $1.39 item – but I told him I simply had no way of knowing where he drew the line and he could clean out his desk immediately. About two years later he thanked me for that lesson – and had in fact moved up significantly in his career, with an uncompromising integrity.

“Education” takes place in many ways – being in a classroom is just one of many sources. Valuable life skills that lead to true success come from family, friends, churches and communities that teach compassion, integrity and character. Anyone trying to short-circuit the process with debt and thievery is a loser -- no matter what the initials after his/her name.  

Dan Miller is President of The Business Source, founder of "48 Days" and author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and 48 Days To Creative Income. He is the growing authority for creating effective life plans that are achieved by integrating natural gifts, unique personality traits and one's own values and passions. His unique clarification of how God gifts us will introduce you to a new sense of freedom and fulfillment of your life's calling. For more information, visit