4 out of 4 stars
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For most, five years is a relatively short period of time. For Ace Bowers, five years is a quantum leap as he relates in his memoir The Mindset: My Journey from Janitor to Silicon Valley Millionaire in Five Years.
Ace begins his account relating the struggles of his childhood, growing up in a dysfunctional home rife with alcoholism and abuse. His parents used alcohol as a way to cope with their past pain, difficult relationships, and financial failures thus injecting these harmful elements into their own children's lives. Ace finds himself full of anxiety as a child, feeling that he is somehow less than his classmates and friends and desperately wanting a "normal childhood". After high school, Ace's first attempts at attaining success meet with failure and he becomes discouraged and aimless. His aunt Cindi invites him to share an apartment with his cousin Brittany in Oregon as a room-mate to get him out of his parents' home so he can start fresh. His attempts at finding work come to nothing until he spots a help-wanted sign in the window of a small motel. Thus begins his minimum-wage career as a janitor.
Ace's journey to a multi-millionaire from a mop bucket is fascinating. He meets his future wife, who becomes a catalyst for his personal development and growth. Ace encounters a curve-ball in his life that demands he makes a choice: will he continue the dysfunction of his childhood or will he seek something better?
As an analogy for his life, Ace uses baseball strategy to describe the many small steps he took as running the bases until he finally was able to run home and achieve success. That he was able to achieve his success in five years is a testament to his dedication and courage, as well as an unforeseen turn of events.
I enjoyed reading Ace's free-flowing memoir. The events eddy and swirl backward and forward around the fixed point of Ace's current perspective, like the cloudy water around his image reflected in the mop bucket. He relates his thoughts and feelings effectively, drawing you the reader in as though you were deep in conversation and discussing his life. The book is an easy, engaging, and inspiring read. But maybe too easy. I appreciated the depth of Ace's thoughts and feelings but would have appreciated more of the actual "how" and reality of the grit and struggle that it takes to work two jobs and do side-work on the weekend. What were the difficulties of those five years? What was it like to deal with the almost impossible demands of a difficult boss? What financial decisions were made? How do you juggle almost constant work and relationships? The details can be almost as inspiring as the story, as they can give people facing difficult financial and personal circumstances tangible ideas for dealing with their problems. In this vein, maybe the baseball metaphor could have been used more strongly to convey analogies that would help readers to develop "The Mindset" and underscore Ace's discoveries and conclusions.
Overall, I would rate the memoir 4 out of 4 stars as it is such an inspiring story and engaging read. The ultimate lessons and conclusions shared by the author will undoubtedly dare the reader to reflect on their own life decisions and values. This is a book I would recommend for teens and upwards, regardless of status or circumstance. Take the leap with Ace Bowers and discover The Mindset: My Journey from Janitor to Silicon Valley Millionaire in Five Years.
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