My Books

The Art of Self-Directed LearningThe Art of Self-Directed Learning

Tells Peak Press, September 2014 – Website


Better Than College

Tells Peak Press, June 2012 – Website

Barnes & Noble

College Without High School

New Society Publishers, September 2009

New Society

How to Live Nowhere

Free online book, August 2016 – Website

travel-fundraising-cover-smallThe Unschool Adventures Guide to Online Travel Fundraising

Tells Peak Press, December 2012



Praise for Better Than College (2012)

“Before you spend four years in college, devote four hours to hearing what Blake has to say.”

—Seth Godin, author of Stop Stealing Dreams

“A brilliant and important proposal. The unquestioned college path deserves to be challenged, and this is the right book to do it.”

—Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby,

“Higher education in America is on the brink of disruption. As prices rise and relevance declines, a chorus of voices is urging us to rethink college as we know it. And few of those voices are clearer or more compelling than Blake Boles. Better Than College is a clarion call for independent thinkers and self-directed young people to take control of their learning. Bypassing college may not be the right move for everyone, but reading this book will help anyone think anew about education and the future.”

—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

“The possibilities for success without college are rich and glorious—and potentially so confusing in their vastness as to be crippling. Blake Boles offers a clear and compelling roadmap: grounded in real-life examples and insightful analysis, lofted by a wide and exuberant sense of what life can become. Better Than College is perfectly tailored for its intended audience—youth on the threshold of adulthood. It will also, however, be a wonderful resource for adults who yearn to bring their work into alignment with their passions, and for families who want their children to grow toward successful and joyful careers.”

—Grace Llewellyn, author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook

“How did we get tricked into believing that success, fortune, and self-knowledge only come with a college degree? Better Than College explodes this myth and shows how any young adult can craft a powerful and affordable higher education—no institution required.”

—Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires

“Better Than College gives the tools, and just as important, the encouragement self-learners need to explore all their options.”

—Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U and The Edupunks’ Guide to a DIY Credential

“Blake Boles has scouted out information and ideas useful to more than just young adults. He has outlined options and filled in details for people of any age who want to see paths to learning and living outside of traditional schools. There is joy and hope in new directions, and Blake is an inspirational guide.”

—Sandra Dodd, author of The Big Book of Unschooling

“Blake convincingly argues that not everyone benefits from a traditional college education, and he presents a highly researched guide for pursuing self-directed education. This is a practical manual for motivated students on how to take your education into your own hands and thrive in the new world of work.”

—Ben Casnocha, coauthor of The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

“Unsure about college? Blake Boles has written a clear and wildly inspirational guide for those who long for a meaningful way to gain self-knowledge, acquire relevant experience and dive into full engagement. This isn’t a second-best proposition for young people ‘just not cut out for college’—it’s a bold blueprint for anyone looking to become focused, fired up and ready to define and follow their own successful path.”

—Maya Frost, author of The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition and Get a Truly International Education

“If you are ready to take control of your learning—and save a bundle of money at the same time—this book will provide you with compelling inspiration and practical information. You couldn’t choose a better guide to creating your own future.”

—Wendy Priesnitz, editor of Life Learning Magazine and author of Beyond School: Living As If School Doesn’t Exist

“It’s very easy for a young person today to walk straight from high school into college and emerge four years later, deep into their twenties, with almost no experience running their own lives, no practical knowledge or skills, and the belief that they have to be institutionally instructed to learn anything. And carrying a giant load of debt too! Are you sure that four-year degree is as valuable and indispensable as you hope it is? Now more than ever is the time to look closely at the possibilities, think hard and carefully, and not just fall into decisions. There are lots of reasons to go to college, and lots of reasons not to, and either way Better Than College is a tremendous place to start: the writing is straightforward, nondogmatic, and honest. If you’re planning to go (or return) to college (or not), read this book first!”

—Matt Hern, founder of the Purple Thistle Centre and author of Field Day and Everywhere All the Time

“Better Than College powerfully demonstrates our cultural misconception that a college degree is the only ticket to a higher education and a successful life.”

—Diane Flynn Keith, editor of

“More and more young adults are realizing that college has little to offer them other than wasted time and debt. Unfortunately, most of society doesn’t get it, because most of society has been conditioned to believe the lie that college is the only path to professional success and financial security. Blake Boles provides these young adults with a roadmap (and three questions that all young adults should ask themselves) that will help guide them toward more meaningful experiences, and the ammunition they need to deal with the naysayers.”

—Antonio Buehler, founder of Buehler Education

“During my 51 years’ and continuing work in education, I’ve read hundreds of books on education and found exactly three of them to be compelling, completely engaging, and highly inspirational. Better Than College is one of these three. If you have any thoughts about going to college—even if you’re committed to obtaining a college degree—read Better Than College; it will prompt deep thinking about your life direction.”

—Wes Beach, author of Forging Paths and director of Beach High School


Praise for College Without High School (2009)

“Words fail me. This is the most inspiring, convincing, and practical case for self-directed learning that I’ve seen in many years. Mr. Boles draws on time management principles from the business world and on his own adventure-packed youth to map out a brilliantly simple way that people can live life to the fullest while also preparing masterfully for admission to college. If you believe, as I do, that our time on earth is a grand gift not to be squandered, then buy this book for all the teenagers you love, and watch as all manner of quests, discoveries, inventions, and miracles emerge.”

—Grace Llewellyn, author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook: how to quit school and get a real life and education and Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don’t Go to School Tell Their Own Stories

“This splendid book is intended as a step-by-step guide, but can be read with profit by anyone interested in moral philosophy. Exceptionally clear, insightful, and lively, it will take its place as the definitive work on the subject.”

—John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down, The Underground History of American Education, and Weapons of Mass Instruction

“Boles offers an antidote to the over-scheduled, grade-driven, and sadly uncreative existence of most high-schoolers today. It’s time for teens to take control of their own education. Yes, they must learn the basics. Absolutely. But as Boles explains, self-motivated teens can cover those topics efficiently and free up more of their time for further learning. This book is a crucial guide for students and parents interested in replacing the old carrot and stick that’s at the heart of today’s education system with intrinsic motivation–self-directedness and autonomy that leads to real learning and growth.”

—Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and The Adventures Of Johnny Bunko

“Blake Boles has found the solution for those students who find regular high school oppressive. Outstanding advice! His book is absolutely right on about the many options for success for students who have a little different approach to life and study.”

—Donald Asher, author of Cool Colleges For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different

“College Without High School is an excellent update to the groundwork provided by John Holt, the Colfaxes, Grace Llewellyn, and other unschoolers. I found it engaging and filled with concrete understanding and useful suggestions for Self Directed Learners of all ages, in or out of school.”

—Cafi Cohen, author of And What About College?: How homeschooling leads to admissions to the best colleges and universities

“Blake Boles shares what homeschoolers have known for decades: teens are thriving everywhere without attending school! Blake will inspire you to seize the day and live well now, with every bit of confidence that the doors to college will be wide open to you. I am thrilled to have another messenger trumpet the truth that school is optional. I recommend all parents and educators to acquaint themselves with this information.”

—Kenneth Danford, co-founder and executive director of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

“College Without High School is a fantastic resource for homeschoolers who want to stand out from the rest of the college admissions pack. However, especially for unschoolers and other eclectic learners, it is also an inspirational description for how adventurous self-directed learning can lead to college admission. This is an entertaining workbook, how-to manual, and educational philosophy text that will help teenagers and their families figure out how to get into college without a conventional high school degree.”

—Patrick Farenga, co-author of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling