Saturday, June 6, 2009

Review: "Start Where You Are" Chris Gardner

From the Publisher's Website:

"Ever since the story of his transformation from homeless, single and struggling father to millionaire became known the world over, Chris Gardner --whose life story both inspired the movie The Pursuit of Happyness and became a #1 New York Times bestseller by the same name--has been inundated with two questions: “How Did You Do It” and “How Can I Do it Too?” Gardner’s power-packed, transformational reply is the basis of this long-anticipated book.

As a departure from standard self-help tomes that promise overnight riches and exclusive secrets for success, Gardner avoids any tilt toward magical thinking by staying with real issues and solutions impacting individuals in all walks of life. If you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you, or have been dealing with the loss of a home, a job, a health or financial crisis, or simply can’t find the motivation to pursue new challenges, Start Where You Are abounds with life lessons that offer hope and provide a road map for starting anew. This is also the book for anyone ready to launch a personal, professional undertaking, or break generational cycles that hem in their potential.
Taking stock of his own credos, including “The Cavalry Ain’t Coming,” “Find Your Button,” and “Seek the Furthest Star”-- Gardner’s 44 life lessons are earthy, soulful, and always accessible. With an array of stories from the author’s own life, as well as from those he has known or admired, both famous and not, Start Where You Are has arrived just in time to embolden and encourage all of us, even in our era of great global change, reminding us of the infinite resources we already have in our collective pursuit of happyness, and spurring us on in only one direction - forward!"

My Review:

I tried with "Start Where You Are" - I really tried. However despite the fact that it contained sound advice as well as inspiring stories, this book ultimately failed to resonate with me personally. The advice seemed to be aimed at businesspeople- someone who I am not. It contained great advice for people who have big goals, entrepreneurial and otherwise- people who dare to dream big. Perhaps I am just not much of a dreamer. I'm happy right now working part-time so that I can stay home with my kids, and I have no intention of entering back into the businessworld for at least four years, when my youngest starts grade 1. I have dreams, of course, of home ownership and ultimately being in a fulfilling career, but right now these goals seem far off, and are almost on hold as I stay at home with the kids. That's why I will hang onto this book and read it again when it will be more relevant to my situation. This is not to say that the book wasn't interesting and well-written, it is just to say that it didn't fit well with where I am at this time.

There was a really interesting quote, though, towards to end of the book when Gardner is talking about pursuing everyday happiness in small ways (a section I particularly enjoyed). "Or've spent too much time pursuing what's next and not enough appreciating what's now"(p.280) . That line spoke to me. So often I worry about what's coming next- may it be next weekend, or next month, that I don't take the time to appreciate the here and now. That's something that I will try to take with me from this book. Take the time to browse inside of this book and sample the life lessons that Gardner has to offer.

Thank-you to Deanna at Harper Collins Canada for the review copy.

Up Next:

Yesterday I stopped by my local library and borrowed a copy of "The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga. This book has been a worldwide bestseller and I'm curious to experience the hype for myself.

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