You are currently viewing Review of Everything We Should Have Taught You in High School, …
book cover of Everything We Should Have Taught You in High School, But Never Did

Review of Everything We Should Have Taught You in High School, But Never Did. Read what I think about Dr. Richard Gary Shear’s book and who would benefit from reading it.



Disclosure: Ad. The book is a sample of my choice from Pacific & Court Book Publicity and Marketing. The post is not endorsed by them, nor by the author. I wrote it entirely myself and it represents my own 100% honest opinion.


About the Author: Dr. Richard Gary Shear

Typically, I start book reviews with the book. However, in the case of this book, starting with the background and professional experience of the author puts the arguments and book in the right context from the beginning.

Dr. Richard Gary Shear has many years of experience as a high school principal. He won several  educational awards. Besides his role as teacher, he served as a consultant on school and university reforms and in educational organizations. Herein, he created programs that helped at-risk students to improve and strive.

His book reflects his thoughts on what the graduates learned and what not, and why this neglection of important material might set them up for a steep learning curve in early adulthood or even an unhappy life. However, the book also serves as a resource to make up the knowledge, and how learning the skills might lead to a happier, more successful life.


Important Skills Not on the Curriculum

The central argument of the book is that the high school curriculum only teaches students material like math, history, geography, a language, social science, etc.. However, it fails to teach important skills needed to succeed in life, deal with all kind of people in a professional, non-emotional way, be resilient when life throws you a curve-ball, understand that success is not a straight road, but trail-and-error, not giving up, but learning from failure. Most importantly, self-love and confidence.

Unfortunately, these points are actually neither taught in K-12, nor in higher Ed, which is sad. Today, the lack of teaching self-love, people-, social-, and coping skills of all kinds forces the former students to either learn these skills

  • by themselves,
  • the hard way, or
  • face the consequences, which are disadvantages in many aspects of adult life including mental health issues.

The intention of the book is to serve as a resource to make up the knowledge gap yourself without learning the lessons the hard way.


The Book Covers the Various Aspects of the Subject in a Balanced Fashion

The book clearly articulates why not teaching these lifestyle skills keeps the graduates unprepared for coping with failure, learning therefrom, dealing with people. It points also out the advantages of having these skills for success, getting hired, and leading a happier life. Both the disadvantages of not having and advantages of having the skills are laid out.


schematic view of gap in knowledge of High School graduates
Sketch to illustrate one of the knowledge gaps of graduates. To lead a happier life celebrate small successes in the right direction, learn from failure, and carry-on. The way to success and your dreams is paved with failure, mini-successes, and resilience.


Subjects covered range from illusions about computers, drugs, success over aging, to depressions, being broken, dignity, religion, loss, communication, talent, leadership, self-esteem, impact of life changes as well as the power of influencer, temperament, attitude,  just to mention a few.


The Book Structure Permits Self-Study

The approach is to discuss the various aspects separately in more than 70 small chapters (1-3 pages) with a lesson each. Herein the problems caused by the missing skill and the advantage of having the skill are elucidated. Furthermore, the lesson covers how you could use the skill to cope with the situation.

This structure permits using the book as a go-to resource at any time in life to see the positive and cope with the negative in a more efficient way. It also facilitates self-study because the material is “chopped” in easy-to-read and “digest” small lectures. This approach allows just reading the chapter for help with a given situation.


Review of Everything We Should Have Taught You … Take-Aways

My take-away is that not teaching these life skills is unfair to the young generation. They graduate without being prepared for adult life. Therefore, the book is an important tool to give every high school graduate to make up the knowledge gap of the curriculum. A happy life and success do not depend on the GRE, but on the self-love, self-attitude, people and coping skills, and the ability to pursue your dreams, learning from failure, and understanding that the way to success is not a straight line. Life is unfair.

The facts that online classes have become more common and the trend towards more online classes make the author’s clearly-stated argument that the educational system failed to teach important life skills, even more worrisome.

My favorite take-away was the reminder to actively live in the today, and not in the past, and not to postpone it to the future.


Where to Buy “Everything We Should Have Taught You in High School, But Never Did”?

You can buy the book at Barnes & Noble for $12.95 as a paperback or 8.49 as e-Book.


Conclusion and Recommendation

In my opinion, the Zeitgeist caused this gap in the curriculum over the last 2-3 decades. When I went to school in the late 1960s thru early 1980s, students still learned (some of) these skills in the German school system as well as at the undergraduate level. Back then teacher wouldn’t face disciplinary action when telling a student in front of the class that their answer is wrong, their behavior is inacceptable, and why. They assigned working groups arbitrarily so students had to learn to get along and work together with others even when they couldn’t stand them. These experiences taught us students some of the life skills on the side.


elementary and high school graduation photos
My graduation photos from (left) Elementary School, and (right) High School. In Germany, graduates don’t wear regalia. I am the fourth from left in the middle row. Our class had decided to dress in formal wear at the graduation celebration. Here I am standing between my sister and Dad.


Verdict: Because these life skills are essential for leading a happier life, this book is a great gift for every graduate. The intriguing title hopefully catches the graduates’ attention and curiosity to open it. Even when they don’t read it cover-to-cover right-away, they might remember that they have this great resource on their bookshelf. Hopefully, they use it when they need it.


© 2013-2023 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. This sounds like an excellent book! Super informative. And love seeing your graduation/school photos, so cool!!

    Allie of