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Book Review: If at Birth You Don’t Succeed by Zach Anner

Part comedy, part inspirational biography, Zach Anner’s ‘If at Birth You Don’t Succeed’ offers a raw but funny insight to the challenges and lessons of life with cerebral palsy, as well as a man’s attempts at defining himself outside of his disability.

The book follows the first 30 years of Zach’s often bumpy (sometimes literally, thanks to his wheelchair) road to success – not only in his career, but more so his personal life. 

His musings recount the many milestones he has reached, as well as all the failures and wrong turns along the way – some of which bear more significance than the triumphs. From becoming a viral internet sensation who’s hosted two travel shows, impressing Oprah, to driving the Mars Rover, and inspiring a John Mayer song (it wasn’t Your Body is a Wonderland), Zach’s life is truly a testament to resilience, the importance of friendship, and making the most of every mistake. 

Zach’s witty sense of humour and his ability to extract not only hilarious, but often touching, thought-provoking, and heart-felt details from the challenges he faces makes this one of the best memoirs I have read. His stories are both entertaining and stimulating, and they had me laughing at parts and getting teary-eyed at others. While the book captures life with cerebral palsy, it’s much more than that – it’s about the coming of age of someone who is trying to find himself amidst friends, challenges, internet-fame, and love. 

With laugh-out-loud funny one-liners and elaborate life lessons blending in seamlessly, ‘If at Birth You Don’t Succeed’ is a must-read for anyone looking for a hilarious, approachable, but very honest look at life with cerebral palsy. 

Book review by our resident bibliophile, Fruzsina Gal.


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