You Can Do Anything

The Surprising Power of a "Useless" Liberal Arts Education


By George Anders

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 8, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In a tech-dominated world, the most needed degrees are the most surprising: the liberal arts.

Did you take the right classes in college? Will your major help you get the right job offers? For more than a decade, the national spotlight has focused on science and engineering as the only reliable choice for finding a successful post-grad career. Our destinies have been reduced to a caricature: learn to write computer code or end up behind a counter, pouring coffee. Quietly, though, a different path to success has been taking shape.

In You Can Do Anything, George Anders explains the remarkable power of a liberal arts education – and the ways it can open the door to thousands of cutting-edge jobs every week.

The key insight: curiosity, creativity, and empathy aren’t unruly traits that must be reined in. You can be yourself, as an English major, and thrive in sales. You can segue from anthropology into the booming new field of user research; from classics into management consulting, and from philosophy into high-stakes investing. At any stage of your career, you can bring a humanist’s grace to our rapidly evolving high-tech future. And if you know how to attack the job market, your opportunities will be vast.

In this book, you will learn why resume-writing is fading in importance and why “telling your story” is taking its place. You will learn how to create jobs that don’t exist yet, and to translate your campus achievements into a new style of expression that will make employers’ eyes light up. You will discover why people who start in eccentric first jobs – and then make their own luck – so often race ahead of peers whose post-college hunt focuses only on security and starting pay. You will be ready for anything.


  • Praise for You Can Do Anything

    "Utterly fascinating and massively important. George Anders peers into his signature crystal ball, and paints a portrait of the future of work that's as compelling as it is provocative."
    Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals
  • "Anders' latest book is a must-read for liberal arts students and grads. Packed with relatable stories and role models, it not only inspires you with stories about what liberal arts grads have done with their educations, but also gives you a clear map to find your own path in the world."
    Laszlo Bock, author of Work Rules!, former SVP of People Operations at Google, and CEO of Humu, Inc.
  • "Anders shows us precisely why majors like Philosophy, History, and Anthropology teach the skills employers can't outsource to robots and software... students should feel not only reassurance or permission but an actual obligation to go there, for their own sake, and for the sake of us all.'"
    Julia Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University
  • "I could have used this book several times in my life. When I graduated from Northwestern with a degree in linguistics... and even today, when I'm the parent of high school junior intent on studying poetry and modern dance in college. You Can Do Anything will inspire a new generation to greater heights, while delivering a much-needed wake-up call to campus leaders and employers."
    Daniel H. Pink, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
  • "The career stories of liberal arts graduates provide the best argument for the value of their education. George Anders, in his thoughtful new book You Can Do Anything, tells these stories in a compelling manner, weaving the threads of their education into the tapestry of their lives, demonstrating over and over why employers should seek out these unique thinkers. An interesting read and valuable for any liberal arts graduate or recruiter!"
    Dr. Katharine Brooks, author of You Majored in What? and Executive Director of the Vanderbilt University Career Center
  • "As a parent about to send her second child off to college--this one has a theater major--George Anders' book was not just a good show topic, but a balm to my soul."
    Krys Boyd, host of KERA's "Think"
  • "George Anders has provided a compelling and decisive answer to the recurring question, 'What is the value proposition of a liberal arts education?' Students should have this book in their backpack or on their iPads. So should their parents, teachers, and our policy-makers."
    Frederick M. Lawrence, CEO of Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • "At the present moment... it is only liberal arts majors who have to wonder whether all of the articles and books promoting the marketability of their chosen discipline should make them more or less uneasy about the future. Two additions to this growing field have appeared just in time to try to sooth the post-graduation panic.. [including] You Can Do Anything.... [Anders] suppl[ies] useful talking points in support of the financial viability of studying the liberal arts."
    Timothy Aubry, New York Times Book Review
  • "Useful guidance for newly minted job hunters"
  • "Give this to anyone who is questioning the value of a classical education in today's fast-paced world."
  • "As another academic year begins... [You Can Do Anything is a] salutary reminder... that what is learned on campus should have its greatest value beyond the university."
    Wall Street Journal
  • "You Can Do Anything is part how-to for humanities types.... Also tells stories about liberal arts students made good.... These are important words of wisdom by a skilled storyteller and a sharp observer of the human condition."
    Adam Lashinsky, Fortune
  • "While the book is geared toward recent grads, even career switchers can benefit.... Above all, Anders shows that success is rarely a straight line."
    Book Page
  • "Thoughtful and well-reasoned... George Anders demonstrates the extraordinary way a liberal arts education broadens the career opportunities of new graduates."
    The Hill
  • "Anders outlines in detail fast-growing fields in which skills from the liberal arts are required."
    Jeffrey J. Selingo, The Washington Post
  • "Will inspire new college students and their families... In a time of anxiety about student debt and the future of the workplace, Anders's stories of career success speak to visceral concerns."
    New York Review of Books

On Sale
Jan 8, 2019
Page Count
352 pages
Back Bay Books

George Anders

About the Author

George Anders is a contributing writer at Forbes, exploring issues related to careers, education and innovation. He is the author of five books, including Merchants of Debt, Health Against Wealth, the New York Times bestseller Perfect Enough, and The Rare Find.

Earlier in his career, George served as a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company magazine and Bloomberg View. In 1997, he shared in a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. He and his wife live in northern California and their two sons have started their own college adventures.

Learn more about this author