- Benjamin Kidd (1858–1916), British sociologist, was not given a formal education. As a working adult, he attended some evening classes and he read incessantly.Kidd gained worldwide fame by the publication of Social Evolution in 1894.
- Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer, essayist, and poet. Winner of the Jerusalem Prize.
- Machado de Assis, often described as the greatest Brazilian writer, never attended a university and taught himself four foreign languages (French, English, German and Greek).
- Hermann Hesse, Nobel Prize for Literature winner
Actors, musicians, and other artists
- The 20th-century virtuoso pianist Claudio Arrau was highly regarded as an intellectual despite his lack of formal education outside his musical training. Arrau spoke five languages, four of which he learned on his own in addition to his native Spanish: English, German, French, and Italian.
- Feodor Chaliapin
- The musician Frank Zappa was noted for his exhortation, “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.”
- Kishore Kumar, Indian singer.
- Eileen Gray (9 August 1878 – 31 October 1976) was an Irish furniture designer and architect and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture.
- Francis Barry Byrne (19 December 1883 – 18 December 1967) was initially a member of the group of architects known as the Prairie School. After the demise of the Prairie School about 1914–16, Byrne continued as a successful architect by developing his own personal style.
- Frank Lloyd Wright (born Frank Lincoln Wright, 8 June 1867 – 9 April 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 projects, which resulted in more than 500 completed works.
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