# When Does \$164.31 Equal \$264,768?

04/05/2017 12:38 am ET Updated Apr 05, 2017

“Riddle me this. Riddle me that. ’When does \$164.31 equal \$264,768?’”

Sounds like something Batman’s enemy, the Riddler, would say, isn’t it?

As a kid, I always loved it when the Riddler challenged Batman to solve his puzzles, riddles or whatnot.

I guess it was the Sherlock Holmes in me that wanted to see if I could figure out the answer before Batman. I never did.

Anyway, a few weeks back one of my clients was visiting my office and his daughter was with him.

While my client was doing some paperwork, I decided to strike up a conversation with his daughter as I hadn’t seen her in a while.

At present, she’s a second year student at university where she majors in English.

Having been an English teacher for many years, I was curious what kind of material students are studying these days, so I asked her to bring her books by when she had the chance.

She proceeded to whip out her book as she had it in her bag.

It was a mammoth of a textbook, around 400 pages long with all sorts of exercises, passages and photos inside. I took a quick look at it and then asked her what she thought of it.

She said it was boring. (surprise, surprise)

It weighed a ton so I asked her how much it cost - \$74...for a textbook.

I walked over to my bookshelf and pulled off three random books and put them on the table next to her textbook.

\$10.67, \$8.68 and \$7.94 respectively.

Grand total: \$27.29

Three books written by bestselling authors that have changed the lives of thousands, if not millions. And a textbook written by someone I had never heard of, and doesn’t teach anything special except grammar and vocabulary.

You might see what I’m getting at.

Too many colleges fail at what they are supposed to be doing. Rather than give people a leg up on life, they are an anchor pulling them down.

They force students to spend big sums of money to get a degree and buy overpriced textbooks that are in no way close to many cheaper books on the market.

Why use an expensive textbook when better, cheaper, more valuable, and more interesting books exist?

It’s one of the reasons I always questioned school and didn’t want to read. Not because I hated reading, but because I hated what I was reading.

When I attended college back in the 90s, my private college’s 4-year tuition was \$100,000 (including room and board). Textbooks were an extra few hundred a semester.

Did I keep any of those books I bought? Heck no.

And I wager a bet that my client’s daughter won’t be keeping hers either.

By chance I happened to check out my college’s website the other day, and I was stunned to see that my college’s tuition had jumped up to \$50,430 per year.

Add in room and board and you’re looking at a total of \$264,768 for four years.

Are you kidding me?

There is no way I would send my son to my college when he can get a world class education from reading and applying the ideas contained within a bunch books that cost less than \$1000. (and don’t forget YouTube)

He can use the rest of the money as seed money for his new business, whatever he decides to do.

I don’t deny that we do need colleges, but at the cost they are today, people should take a good hard look at what they’re spending their money on and if there is a better way.

So back to my riddle, ‘When does \$164.31 equal \$264,768?’”

The answer: when you have 10 books that are life-changing.

So here is my list of 10 books everyone should invest in. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

Not convinced? Check out this video by John Maxwell and the importance of reading books.