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Direct Your Own Life: How to Be a Star in Any Field You Choose! Paperback – June 10, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; Original edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427797668
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427797667
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

EFREN RAMIREZ, “Pedro” from the blockbuster hit Napoleon Dynamite and co-star of such recent hits as Crank and Employee of the Month, has not only been acting since childhood but also writing, producing, and directing. He has played diverse roles in many television shows including Scrubs, ER, Judging Amy, The District and Boston Public. He will appear in American Summer in 2008. When he isn’t filming, he spends his time speaking to students and appearing as a guest DJ in clubs all across the country.

CHRIS BARRETT, who began as a young business entrepreneur at the age of 14, has appeared in several award-winning documentaries and now directs them. As a senior in high school, Chris hit the national and international media by becoming the very first Corporate College Sponsored Student in America. He became a national “spokesguy” for FIRST USA, a division of Bank One. He garnered over 20 million dollars in publicity for the bank and over 80 million media impressions during the campaign. He has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, ABC, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, CNN and profiled in People magazine twice, including the “25 Most Intriguing people” issue.

Efren and Chris met at Sundance in 2004, which was the beginning of a great friendship and solid business partnership. Together they share a production company, Powerhouse Pictures Entertainment, LLC. Currently they are producing a groundbreaking documentary titled After School, which delves into the recent teacher student sex scandals that have hit the media. They talk to thousands of students every year about how to direct their own lives and careers.


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Customer Reviews

It's still an interesting book and easy to read.
taleeya
There are a few good points in this light book, but there are too many trite and well-worn platitudes that, to me, don't square with reality.
Mike Donovan
They use humor and candor to share their successes and failures with us.
imani42

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian W. Fairbanks VINE VOICE on July 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Direct Your Own Life" is another of those annoyingly upbeat books on how to succeed, or, as the subtitle puts it, "How to Be a Star in Any Field You Choose!" Trouble is, neither Efren Ramirez, who describes himself as an actor who appeared in "Napoleon Dynamite," nor Chris Barrett, the "first corporate-sponsored college student in America," seem to have directed their lives so much as they've relied on pure luck. Maybe I'm too much of a cynic, but I also suspect they had connections that they do not acknowledge, the kind that open doors wider than true talent ever does.

For instance, Barrett tells us that after seeing Tiger Woods wearing a Nike logo cap at a press conference, he was inspired to seek corporate sponsors to pay his tuition at the world class colleges to which he sought entry. What did he do? He started a web site to attract these sponsors and, presto, in no time at all he not only had a sponsor, but he's being interviewed on radio, in newspapers, in the pages of "People," and appearing on "The Today Show." Did this just happen or would a little investigative reporting reveal that a family member was employed by one of these media giants and helped open those doors? Maybe the corporate sponsor employed his father, uncle, or someone else who saw this as a good way of getting some free advertising for the company. The fact that Barrett was considering such colleges as Pepperdine and Stanford suggests his background was pretty cozy. He's probably the product of private schools and, therefore, was already affluent.

Books like "Direct Your Own Life," of which there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, promise much but deliver little.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By calmly on July 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What's the chances of even an established actor letting alone an unknown being in a movie that grosses $400 million?

How many students can have their college-education sponsored by a major corporation like Chris and his friend Luke were? How many web sites get found as Chris and Luke's were and get so much media attention?

How many people have been launched by YouTube videos, however well self-promoted?

What is going on in the U.S. Patent Office when it will give anyone a patent for labels to tell the footwear intended for one's left foot and the footwear intended for one's right foot?

Seen the ads on television by the guy who says he got rich placing small classified ads in newspapers across the country for simple items and will sell you information on how to do it? I suppose that is like Chris selling his guidebook about getting free concert tickets via eBay? How many people do well enough that way? I don't know but someone has to pay for a concert ticket and if she spent on a guidebook will she have enough money for the ticket?

It certainly is good to have a dream but most jobs aren't for dreamers, they are for people willing to make significant compromises to pay the bills. No doubt one doesn't want to pick a field that is no fun but you may not have much realistic choice, at least for a long while.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, will you need this book? Will you be reading this review? My guess is that you are out directing your own life already.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pajamazon VINE VOICE on July 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Directing Your Own Life is a guidebook for doing what you love and getting paid for it, with the information presented through the idea of movie metaphors. Your plan is your "life script" which may need "editing" from time to time, but that's okay because you're the "director." Don't take the "critics" too seriously but be open to their suggestions if they are helpful. Overall, it's a good book filled with solid ideas, none of which are not presented in other similar books, however. The hook here is that the two young authors have succeeded via these methods and they are well-known. Efren Ramirez played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite among other work and Chris Barrett got his college education paid for by advertising for First USA and was profiled in many magazines and TV shows.

I think this is a great book for young and old alike, though older people may find the advice a little simplistic. It's a lot easier to reach your dream unencumbered by kids or a mortgage, for instance. Still, it encourages people to think outside the box while maintaining a realistic outlook; for example, separating your dream from what may be a fantasy, realizing that reaching your goal will take time, and focusing on your activity and not the rewards an ultimate career might bring.

Bottom line: Time spent reading this book will not be wasted. A good half of Hollywood should read this book and leave for elsewhere!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kristin J. Johnson VINE VOICE on July 30, 2008
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I read SEDUCED BY SECRETS at the same time I read this. Of the two, DIRECT YOUR OWN LIFE is a faster read, but it also gets you thinking as much as, if not more than, SEDUCED BY SECRETS. DIRECT YOUR OWN LIFE reassured me that I'm not wasting my time reviewing books...I'm sharing my talents with other Amazon users. (At least I hope so!)

Two young entrepreneurs provide wisdom that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can appreciate---in fact, Gates is one of the people they profile in their tough-love-cheerleading road map to success. This is not a book, however, that will tell you how to make a million like Buffett or Gates, because you won't be able to make money if you don't have the passion for business or money managing or computers. After all, Efren Ramirez of "Napoleon Dynamite" could have appeared in a major Hollywood film instead of inspiring T-shirts and catchphrase-repetition in a smaller independent film. Coauthor Chris Barrett could have decided he could drop out of college and become a Gates, but then he wouldn't have become the first college student sponsored by a major corporation. You have to be you and not a clone of someone else.

No question, Barrett and Ramirez are not clones of every business book/career guide author out there. I especially enjoyed the way they structured the book as the plan for a movie---chapter topics include writing the script and assembling your cast and crew. The movie metaphor is strong and tangible---we all jokingly say, "If I were making a movie of my life..." Although to a certain extent our lives are collaborative efforts, we are the directors and authors of our own lives. This book pulls no punches about the need to plan and put that plan into action, but it provides an uplifting encouraging message. I also liked the personal stories from both authors at the end of each chapter. Adults and teens alike can benefit from this book.
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