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Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be Hardcover – May 12, 2009

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Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be + The Pursuit of Happyness + The Pursuit of Happyness (Widescreen Edition)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006153711X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061537110
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Gardner offers practical advice and pragmatic suggestions for tackling life’s problems. . . In 44 ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ chapters. . .Gardner provides a blueprint for navigating tumultuous times.” (Ebony)

“This smart and well-written guide includes excellent suggestions for both everyday life and work, with the last sentence summing up Gardner’s message: “Accepting responsibility is accepting that your dreams really can come true.” The result is hopeful and uplifting. (Library Journal)

“Start Where You Are represents the next phase in Gardner’s career, offering hope and sound advice in this tough economic climate. . . .Transformative and inspirational.” (BookPage)

“A book that teaches you how to transform the impossible into the possible.” (Sidney Poitier)

“Start Where You Are is a must-have, must-read guide to pursuing happiness in changing times. It’s not just about surviving as an individual or business in the current economic environment, but about thriving -- personally, collectively, and globally.” (Quincy Jones)

“With . . . Start Where You Are, he is encouraging us all to start where we are and dare to make our lives bigger and stronger, more satisfactory, and better. Chris Gardner is a knock out!” (Maya Angelou)

From the Back Cover

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!

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Customer Reviews

Very insightful and full of information and advice.
Here, in this book, he is sharing his experience and gives us 44 lessons in life, which can lead us to great success despite of where we are right now!
Aistis Zidanavicius
Normally I leave review only when it is bad, probably like most regular people, because I get lazy and forget to write one, when it is a good one.
Natalia Pavlova

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By jbell on June 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Not long ago, I made the difficult choice to open up my own practice as a therapist. After years of working in human resources and relying on a steady paycheck, I was nervous to go into business for myself - having never done anything like this! When I told a friend about my worries, that I lacked the know-how to make a success of my dream, she recommended "Start Where You Are". I had been moved by the movie of Gardner's life and recalled that many of my clients, who were struggling with a variety of issues, had been inspired by his journey from homelessness and single parenthood to success. Still, I didn't expect that his new book, in which he explores the lessons that allowed him to succeed, would have so much relevance for me. But from the moment I opened it up and read the very first lesson ("Without a Plan, A Dream is Just a Dream"), I was hooked! It is chockfull of stories from his own life and from famous individuals as well as "everyday" people he meets. They are a constant reminder that no matter how tough a situation may seem, someone else has overcome that obstacle and prevailed. The lessons also reinforce the idea that we all already have the resources we need to be successful, if only we take the time to recognize them and put them to use. That has been transformational for me in my new role as a business person.

As a therapist, I have already recommended this book for its eyeopening and practical insights. In particular, the chapter called "The Thorny and Golden Past" has been helpful for many of my clients who are reluctant to talk about the past or who don't recognize what joy can come from self-discovery and from the freedom of dealing with it. The discussion about Spiritual Genetics is fascinating, as is the lesson on "Breaking Generational Cycles".
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Puckett Jr. on June 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Chris Gardner's story is well-known from his first book, The Pursuit of Happyness. In "Start Where You Are" he, and co-author Mim Rivas, collect additional stories that are tied together in a very enjoyable book. The stories are divided into six sections, Start Where You Are, The Thorny and Golden Past, Hitting the Anvil, Your Empowerment Zone, Spiritual Genetics, and The Good Old Everyday.

As an investment advisor, I particularly enjoyed Mo' Money, Mo' Options, Mo' Problems. His observations about people's attitudes toward money, his three questions, and the transition to the next chapter, "Money is the Least Significant Component of Wealth", are worth the price of the book.

I give the book five stars because there are so many inspiring stories in this book. If you read one a day, at the beach, it will take you through most of the summer! If you're like me, you'll be rereading a few after just a couple of days. I couldn't put it down. For those that like me, are human, this book provides a positive message that is not only inspirational but also enjoyable. Happy Reading!

Paul Puckett - Author
Investiphobia: You Can Invest Without Fear!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Intrepid Reader on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Unlike most self-help books, this one actually offers some solid advice. Like most self-help books, it gives the impression that following this advice will duplicate the author's success rather than somewhat increase your focus or improve your work habits. I like how the author makes his points with storytelling and includes some life lessons from people who are decidedly unsuccessful in some arenas of life. Many people expect their role models to be paragons of virtue to be worthy of advice, and are missing out because of it. If you are a self-help aficionado, this book is one of the better ones I have encountered.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Regis Schilken on September 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Pursuit of Happyness: Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be is an inspirational feel-good guide for anyone searching for a better life.

1) This includes those who feel down and out as if life has manipulated the gaming table against them.
2) It is for people who want to become all they can be, but don't have the confidence to "make it so."
3) Finally, it is written for those who have done well with their lives, but hunger for something much greater, something more satisfying than muddling through with a nice paycheck.

If you are one of these folks and many of us are, Start Where You Are will inspire you, just as you might inspire a baby, to take your first steps toward a life fulfilling goal. In the books opening pages, Gardner's encouraging message is this. First, set aside any and all negative feelings because you and he will begin your life changing journey by starting where you are right now.

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 can tap.

You also need some kind of road map to follow. Although Gardner suggests that even Lewis and Clark had a map, actually drawing your own map either in your mind or on paper, is essential. You need a specific plan to reach your goal.
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