The Education of Millionaires

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Who is Michael Ellsberg?

I am a book author. Specifically, I am the author of The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think, and It’s Not Too Late, published by Penguin/Portfolio, and The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret For Success in Business, Love and Life, from HarperCollins. I also write a blog on entrepreneurialism, career development, and education at

I wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, Will Dropouts Save America?, as well as a guest post on Tim Ferriss’s blog, titled 8 Steps to Getting What You Want… Without Formal Credentials.

I’ve spoken at the Googleplex for the Authors@Google series, at Dartmouth College, at the World Technology Summit & Awards, at the Thiel Fellows Retreat, at TEDxSF, and at the Commonwealth Club of California.

The Education of Millionaires is a bootstrapper’s guide to investing in your own human capital. I interviewed some of the most successful people on the planet who didn’t complete college and who educated themselves in the real world, to deconstruct their secrets and create a “Syllabus for a Successful Life” based on what I learned from them.

The book features interviews with self-educated billionaires Phillip Ruffin and John Paul DeJoria, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and founding president Sean Parker, WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, fashion designer Marc Ecko, Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour, and marketing experts Eben Pagan, Frank Kern and Joe Polish. It also features the insights of experts including Seth Godin, “Rich Dad” Robert Kiyosaki, and PayPal co-founder and Facebook angel investor, billionaire Peter Thiel.

The Education of Millionaires was inspired by my ex-wife Jena (and is dedicated to her.) She dropped out of college her junior year, and then went on to become a successful entrepreneur.

Before my books, I was the creator of Eye Gazing Parties, a series of singles events based on eye contact which attracted feature press coverage from the New York Times, ElleCBS News, MSNBC, Current TV, Yoga Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco magazine,,, Agence Press France, and on Tim Ferriss’s blog.

I collaborated with Dr. Marc Gerstein on Flirting With Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental.

I was born in San Francisco in 1977, grew up in Berkeley, and graduated from Brown University in 1999. I travel frequently between San Francisco and New York City.