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A review of Chris Gardner’s book, START WHERE YOU ARE, by Olumide Holloway


Are you bold enough to go back to the basics?

The marketplace rarely turns a blind eye to boldness….

Never be afraid of calling someone you think is bigger than you – as long as you can offer something that is of interest to them.

The lines above are from START WHERE YOU ARE by Chris Gardner. He is also the author of The Pursuit of Happyness, which was made into a movie that featured Will Smith and his son.

START WHERE YOU ARE is one of the most complete books I have read. The book is broken into 6 parts which covers 6 areas that impacts one’s life. It talks about the Universal Lessons for Pursuit, Personal Lessons Drawn from the Past, Marketplace Lessons for Success, Life-Changing Lessons for Mastery, Spiritual Lessons for Connecting to Your Higher Power, and Ordinary Lessons for Happyness.

So, how best can I summarize the valuable insights gained from this book? Well, I guess I will just drop a tip or two from the the 6 different lessons talked about in the book. The tips are as follows:

  • What is the single most important ingredient for a successful pursuit? It all starts with a dream. However, without a plan, a dream is just a dream. So, where do you get a plan? You create one. And to create a plan, you adopt a planning device dubbed the “C-5 complex.” The C-5 or 5Cs are simply what your plan must entail, as well as, your attitude to that plan. Your plan must be Clear, Concise and Compelling, while you must be Committed and Consistent. Committed is about your level of passion, and Consistency is about showing up whether you like it or not.. However, no pursuit comes with a guarantee. Thus, plans may need to be retooled as circumstances change, rough patches are hit and repairs are required.


  • All true learning is experience. Everything else is just information. Hence – in your library of resources, value all experience. For the future and the present are rooted in the past, so as thorny as the past is, it is golden. The answer to whatever you seek to know about yourself now has its roots in the past. And the 3 truths the past teaches you are:(a) you were meant to be here in life, to learn, love and be loved. (b) you are the hero of a meaningful story that is yours alone. (c) Everything and everyone are in your life for a reason. However, not everyone is going to feel your pain, even though it may turn out that lots of other people know exactly what you mean. It’s all part of the process. But note,….only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And if God didn’t give up on us, how can we give up on ourselves?


  • Two questions to ask successful people in your quest for success – “what do you do?” and “how do you do it?” In marketing – everybody is selling something. Supply and demand ain’t rocket science. By the laws of supply and demand, if everybody’s selling something, then everybody is buying something, too. So, sell ’em what they are buying. The other twist of supply and demand – you gotta go where they are. You get up and go to where they’re buying what you’ve got. Marketing 101: know your audience, and the best audience for checking out your wares is you. If you feel that the marketplace just doesn’t get what you’re trying to sell, switch hats and go shopping. You don’t have to buy a thing. But in the process of seeing what’s out there, you might be inspired to see what’s moving where. The marketplace is never static. Neither should you be!


  • Mo’ Money, Mo’ Options, Mo’ Problems: use your time to become financially literate before you invest your money. Also, it’s important to make the distinction between  pursuing money for money’s sake, and pursuing mastery over the role that money plays in your life. Three questions can be helpful to ask, to keep your relationship with money real: (a) Does it control you or do you control it? (b) Do you work hard for the money or do you let your money go to work for you? (c) Does money represent the cavalry that you’ve been waiting on , or is it only one resource in your pursuit of happyness? Seeking to achieve your vision, usually have nothing to do with money, but it will cost you. Thus, money is only a means, not an end. It’s a useful measure for the marketplace, not the be-all to success. For if money becomes the only barometer for wealth and worth, we will never master an appreciation or use all our other valuable assets. As the least significant component of wealth, money is still and has always been a unit measurement. It should never be a measurement of the worth of your life. So end your dependence on money as a measure of your worth and your belief that get-rich-schemes lead to wealth. There are no retired drug dealers!


  • Spiritual Genetics: I am a human being; nothing human can be alien to me. But as long as we hand the search for answers over to someone we think is wiser than we, we’ll remain in the dark. So be a lamp unto yourselves. In other words, embrace your light. Or better still, be your own damn light! Through your spiritual genetics, anywhere and everywhere, you can let your light be a beacon for others.


  • Pursuit without resulting happyness is the epitome of living interruptus. So don’t postpone joy – do something for yourself today that you’ve been putting off. Also, claim ownership of your dreams – accepting responsibility is accepting that your dreams really can come true.

Any last words on this book?

Yes. Learn to take initiative. And when in doubt, ask yourself – if not now, when? if not you, who?


Written by Olumide Holloway (King Olulu)

Twitter @olulu4ever, Instagram @olulutheking, olulu4ever@gmail.com, +2348025070892


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