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If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny
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If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,763 ratings  ·  253 reviews
Comedian Zach Anner opens his frank and devilishly funny book, If at Birth You Don't Succeed, with an admission: he botched his own birth. Two months early, underweight and under-prepared for life, he entered the world with cerebral palsy and an uncertain future. So how did this hairless mole-rat of a boy blossom into a viral internet sensation who's hosted two travel show ...more
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.
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I found this to be a decent memoir about an entertainer who is living with physical disabilities. The writing was good and flowed naturally, however I just didn't find this read to be super engaging. I am not sure why since I cannot think of one thing in particular that was bad about this autobiography.

If anything the writing quality is probably higher than most... I think at times it just tried a teensy bit too hard to be funny. But the main reason I feel a little meh about this book is most l
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Splendid. Do yourself a favour and read this book.
Zach Anner is out of any doubt a talented comedian and an excellent writer, this book is about an intelligent and sagacious man who has the nuts to live life… for real.
May 11, 2016 rated it liked it
I wish that I had liked this memoir by Zach (with a H) Anner more than I did.

If you are not familiar with him, Mr. Anner lives with cerebral palsy, and back in 2011 won his own travel show on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011. I recall the reality show that Mr. Anner was on that got him his own show, and I honestly don't remember much else besides saying that's cool when I heard who won. Since his show has been cancelled it seems that Mr. Anner has been hosting a web series with Rainn Wilson (Dw
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Firstly, whether or not you end up reading Zach Anner’s book, it’s definitely worth a trip over to YouTube to check out some of his videos. (Might I recommend this one, this one, and this one?) The guy is goofy and slyly funny. It’s always a happy day when one of his videos shows up in my inbox. He’s the kind of guy who decides to create a video series where all he does is give people virtual high-fives. Often he’ll make a joke that is funny at first, and then a second later, it gets even funnie ...more
Sarah Sherwood
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Maybe not everyone
Recommended to Sarah by: Zach Anner
I received this book from a Goodreads Giveaway! Yay! I first heard about the book on Facebook when Zach announced it.

I am not sure what I expected. I suppose I expected to read a bunch of words written by Zach Anner. That's exactly what I got.

Zach Anner spends time recounting important events in his life. He writes about his time with Oprah and OWN. He tells stories from grade school, middle school, high school, and college. He made me laugh out loud a few times. I got teary eyed a time or two
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Zach Anner has wrriten a tender, laugh-out-loud funny, coming of age tale of a man determined to be defined by more than his disability. Anner details the ups and downs of the first three decades of his life, from his birth as the less-than-perfect specimen to his rise (quite accidentally) as a reality show host at the University of Texas at Austin and subsequent successes as winner of the Oprah Winfrey Network's "Search for the Next TV Star" and his YouTube channel. He writes with wit, warmth a ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Zach's musings on his life with cerebral palsy (the sexiest of the palsies hehe) ... and, more importantly, as a person. I am very particular about humor in books but Zach had me laughing from the opening line! His one liners were hilarious. His stories were equal parts entertaining and touching, while his positive and unique outlook on life was uplifting. Overall, I found this book entertaining, amusing, awe inspiring, and heartwarming and would highly recommend it! Also, please, please, please ...more
Ashley Bratina
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. As someone who also has Cerebral Palsy, I found this book not only highly relatable throughout, but also very humourous, (I was laughing to the point of tears in many spots) positive and thought provoking. Zach is not only a gifted comedian, but also a great writer with an contagiously uplifting spirit. I'm definitely recommending this to all my family and friends.
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: america, europe
Not as funny as Workout Wednesdays but an interesting book. I liked the reflections on not wanting his girlfriend to have to be his caretaker but that he was so used to being taken care of that he didn't even see the ways in which it happened at first.
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Comedian Zach Anner opens his frank and devilishly funny book,  If at Birth You Don't Succeed, with an admission: he botched his own birth. Two months early, underweight and under-prepared for life, he entered the world with cerebral palsy and an uncertain future. So how did this hairless mole-rat of a boy blossom into a viral internet sensation who's hosted two travel shows, impressed Oprah, driven the Mars Rover, and inspired a John Mayer song? (It wasn't "Your Body is a Wonderland.")"

I have
Carrie Kellenberger
If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny is the only book I preordered for 2016. If I could've attended one of the author's book launches in the US, I would've gone just to meet this man in person. That is how incredible I think Zach Anner is.

(Shout out to the author - Zach, if you are reading this, you have fans in Asia. Come do a travel show in Taiwan! )

I have been following Zach Anner's adventures online and have been waiting with anticipation for his memoir to
Amy Ibarra
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amy by: Coworkers
Shelves: favorites
Zach (with an H) Anner brought his story to life with one of the most comedic, heart-warming recounts that I've ever read. There were scenarios that literally made me laugh out loud whereas others captivated my entire undivided attention, face-in-book and all (including the ending!). I heard of this book from a few coworkers who mentioned it to me, and also mentioned that Zach was coming to my school (aside from the fact that I wasn't able to make it and get a signed :/ ). Although th ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zach Anner is amazing. Not because he is disabled but because he makes others realize that a disability is nothing to cry over. I have never felt more understood in my life. Everyone with a physical disability needs to read this book!
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, dnf
The very first few pages of this book made me smile and chuckle. As I continued, I gradually became bored. I feel terrible for not trying harder to continue this book, but I was bored. No more non-fiction for me. I don't think I can finish memoirs, unless each page has a short paragraph. About 95% of a chapter is a memory and the final paragraph is the lesson. I enjoyed the lessons more than the memories itself.
Alyssa (redheadreads)
Cute, a little crass, but overall very average.
Lee Ann
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Part comedy, part inspirational biography, Zach Anner's If at Birth You Don't Succeed offers lots of good laughs and lots of reflective moments.

It's hard not to like Anner -- who you might know as "that guy who does the hilarious yet oddly inspirational Workout Wednesday videos". In his memoir he comes off as genuine, hard-working, and optimistic, even when everything that can go wrong does go wrong. In other words, reading this book is sort of like reading the script for a very long Workout Wed
Katie Followell
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Truthfully, I didn't really love Zach Anner's memoir. I had a hard time getting through it for no good reason.

In my personal challenge of reading more books this year, I have tried to read more memoirs because I feel it is a good way of learning about other people's lives. I don't know a lot about cerebral palsy, and the celebrity reviews on the back made this sound like it was going to be a cutting-edge humor, laugh out loud journey in the life of a man who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Not only
Ryan Moore
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. CP is as he says the sexiest of all the palsies. He had a show on tv for a bit called Rolling with Zach on which he traveled the world. Life with CP isn't always easy, but we deal with life's bumps just like you. Probably with a lot more good humor. If they're laughing with you they're not laughing at you. Most of my CP friends are quick to make jokes a ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I learned about Zach Anner through Kristina Kuzmic, an Internet personality that I follow. I laughed out loud at parts of this memoir (the apparently not-disabled boy at Disney, for example) and I smiled at much more. I appreciated, Zach's positive outlook and his humanity. I also valued his humility, readily admitting to mistakes he's made in the past. There was a lot to look up to here.

This book wasn't completely riveting but I am definitely glad I read it. I'm not generally into crass humor l
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was hilarious! Recommended to me by an OT/PT/SLP therapist group on Facebook, I wasn't sure what I was picking up. But I recognized the voice of the audiobook narrator as the author himself - and a young man I'd seen on YouTube once. Zach tells an out of order but quite compelling story of his life (so far), including having to drop out of high school, winning a travel show from Oprah, finally getting a girlfriend, and just generally making sense of life with cerebral palsy, the sexies ...more
Kayla Brown
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not anticipate loving this book as much as I did. If any of my crip friends haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it (as well as everyone else).

Zach Anner is just so good. I laughed, then cried, then laughed harder. Disability is strangely isolating, and hearing him pour his soul out there like that made me feel less alone.

Zach, I was right there on the bathroom floor with you in spirit. Because, well, I’ve been there too.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a Rooster Teeth fan, I only knew that the author made me laugh. After reading this autobiography, which at times has the delivery of comedy skits, I now know that Zach Anner can really make me think as well as make me heartily belly laugh. The book also pointed me to other projects he has worked on in the past so I could check those out.
Chris Petruccio
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was a fan of Zach Anner when I started reading this book, so forgive me if I come off a little biased. I discovered Zach right around the time he was promoting the "Rolling with Zach" debut in a Youtube video about doing a voice over. In it, a goofy guy in a wheel chair was making the life of a sound booth engineer a living hell as the talent made everything as difficult as possible. It was hysterical.

This simple video ended up becoming the start of a fandom of one the most interesting interne
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won this book from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. I love reading books about people with disabilities, and memoirs are especially interesting. Zach Anner has cerebral palsy, “the sexiest of the palsies” according to…well, Zach himself. But he goes on to prove it in the book, which kicks off recounting his experience on Oprah’s reality show competition. From there, the book progresses through Zach’s web shows to present day, with jumps back in time to various instances in his early life. The ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So on one hand, I'm not sure if I would've enjoyed this book as much if I read the print version. On the other hand, I had to take breaks during listening (it's 10 hours long), and sometimes the leaps in chronology and topics were confusing. Still, this was very funny, and having it narrated by the author himself was wonderful. I loved the musical interludes too.

As someone who's privileged by having an invisible, mental disabilities (anxiety and depression) - it was interesting to read about som
Mary Finucane
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed this audio book at the library because the title made me laugh, and am on chapter 6 (3rd cd) is hysterical.
The beginning (as I find with every audio book) is partly getting acquainted with the reader's voice/style of storytelling. As this memoir is read by the author --which is always the best version--and he is a comedian, the story telling is laugh-out-loud funny. Content and delivery leave little time to recover from one story to the next.

I lurved this book! Instead of using
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Encore! Encore!

Zach Anner delivers his candid and irreverent views on coming of age, finding love, and crapping your pants.

I appreciated Zach's hilarious delivery of a very personal narrative. The book chronicles Zach's incredible 30 year life. His stories inspired me like good vinyl on repeat and I will refer back to them frequently. Being as open as he was is compelling, but I often felt the urge to applaud at regular intervals. I love being around people who hunt positivity and while I don'
Montzalee Wittmann
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny by Zach Anner is a funny, emotional, witty, inspiring book filled with unflinchingly honest wisdom. He covers his life's endeavors, internet sensations, Oprah TV series, his friendships, his family, his daily life, school, random thoughts, and more. I did a lot of soul searching and I did a lot of laughing while reading this book. Warning, have a empty bladder, giggles can happen at unexpected times! Loved this book! Fabulous ...more
Jenny Jaeckel
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zach Anner's memoir, a young man's chronicle of adventure and misadventure in comedy and romance, is a work of guts, heart and humor unlike anything I've read before. As alluded to in the title, Zach has cerebral palsy ("the sexiest of the palsies"), the life-lens through which all his adventures occur, and the view through which the reader sees the nature of both his struggles and his awesomeness. Whatever your personal challenges in life, you will see yourself reflected in Zach's story, you wi ...more
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Zach Anner is an award-winning comedian, show host, and public speaker. In 2011, he won his own travel show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Rollin' With Zach. He also hosted the shows Have A Little Faith for Rainn Wilson's media company SoulPancake, and Riding Shotgun and Workout Wednesdays on his own YouTube channel, which has over 8 million hits. Zach lives in Buffalo, NY and Austin, TX, and spend ...more
“Laughing at somebody is just another way of dismissing them, but laughing with somebody is a bridge to understanding.” 6 likes
“I maintained my steady post-breakfast diet of air, which is more substantial in LA because of the smog. All” 2 likes
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