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Book Review: Start Where You Are by Chris Gardner

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Start Where You Are is an inspirational feel-good guide for anyone wanting to improve their life. This includes those who feel down and out as if life has manipulated the gaming table against them. It is for people who want to become all they can be, but don’t have the confidence to “make it so.” Finally, it is written for those who have done well with their lives, but hunger for something much greater, something more satisfying than collecting a paycheck and muddling through.

If you are one of these folks and many of us are, The Start Where You Are will inspire you, just as you might inspire a baby, to take those first difficult steps toward a fulfilling goal. In the book’s opening pages, Gardner’s encouraging message is this. Set aside any and all negative feelings because you and he will begin your life changing journey together, by starting where you are at this moment in time.


Some place in my past, I remember hearing the expression or slogan, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” Well, that is Start Where You Are’s first mental commandment. You have the power of the present on your side along with an abundance of resources you are going to tap.

You will need some kind of road map to follow. Although Gardner suggests that even Lewis and Clark had a map, drawing your own map either in your mind or on paper, is essential. You need a specific plan to reach your goal. As a reviewer, I feel it is critical to sit and write out your roadmap so you can refer to it every time you get discouraged

Suppose you want to be an automobile engine mechanic. Then, that is the button you need to push-start NOW. Obviously, you need to measure the mechanical skills you have at this moment, over-against the skills you will need, to analyze today’s sophisticated engines.

Already, you may possess basic knowledge of the internal combustion engine. But you will have to learn the basics of computerized engine technology. Right NOW you must list on your map, what specific courses you'll take, and exactly where you'll take them to prepare yourself for a job change.

The important thing is that regardless of your age, it’s time to stop daydreaming about what could be. Now, at this moment, pick up the phone, or go to a library, or check on the internet to locate the nearest automotive training center and set an actual date to talk with that center’s advisor.

Armed with her/his advice and the schools brochure, you can list exactly what courses you'll need, where you'll get a loan if needed, and a precise date for starting. You can also make a list of the dealerships and garages in your area along with their phone numbers, so you are prepared to find a job the day you graduate.


Throughout Start Where You Are, Gardner empowers you with the self-confidence and will power to work hard, to keep going, to face any difficulty you might encounter. Can this be done in a day, or a week? Surely not, but it can be done, and you are poised at the starting chocks.

Start Where You Are I would recommend to anyone who feels stuck in a rut. Often people feel that they come from a downtrodden family line where one simply accepts the hand that life deals them. It has always been that way so why “beat against the goad,” or “No one else in this family has ever gone to college, so I probably couldn’t make it either.”

Gardner would say that’s plain BS so if you’ve stepped in it, leave your shoe there, pull your foot out, and move on. You are what you want to be. You were born in the image of God and have the intelligence not to just dream, but to wake up, trust your inner voice, and "make yourself proud!"

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About Regis Schilken