reviews press release

by Kaplan Publishing

“Life isn’t lived within the confines of a career; rather, living a successful life means embracing the limitless world of opportunities, and allowing yourself to explore any endeavor.” 

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DIRECT YOUR OWN LIFE – (How To Be A Star In Any Field You Choose)

“Life isn’t lived within the confines of a career; rather, living a successful life means embracing the limitless world of opportunities, and allowing yourself to explore any endeavor.”  -- Co-authors Efren Ramirez and Chris Barrett, Direct Your Own Life

New York, New York (May 19, 2008) – So you think you know where you’re going, right?

Perhaps you’ve just suffered through high school and finally got that diploma; endured the SAT at least twice, and then navigated the minefields of a four-year university program, and received your B.A. or BFA, and you’re ready to join the work-a-day world. 

Now you feel you can exhale and armed with your high school diploma or college degree, a list of potential job leads (including the ones given to you by your father’s golf buddies), you’re ready to launch that career and maybe score a slot on The Apprentice.  Right?  Not necessarily. 

But living the “unexamined” life and just doing what one is expected to do just because is one way to lead a life that is unfulfilling at worst.

Efren Ramirez and Chris Barrett understand that in order to achieve our fullest potentials, we first must determine what is most important to us and then once that is defined, take the time to write the script for your life – determine your dream; assemble your “production team,” meaning those individuals who can assist and support you in achieving your vision, and ultimately debut your dream.

Efren Ramirez and Chris Barrett believe that with determination, focus, and truckloads of faith you, too, can achieve your dream, and live the life you are destined to live.  In Direct Your Own Life (Kaplan Publishing, June 10, 2008), Efren Ramirez and Chris Barrett manage to unlock the secrets to doing just that.  And they speak from experience:  Efren took a gamble that paid off when he turned down a lucrative position with a major Hollywood studio for the small, no-money-upfront role of Pedro in the hit film Napoleon Dynamite; his co-writer and friend, Chris Barrett, used his love and innate business sensibility to become the world’ first corporate-sponsored college student by working as a national spokesperson for FIRST USA. 

The co-authors take readers through the phases of discovering and achieving life goals with film-termed chapters such as “Develop Your Life Script,”  “Assemble Your Cast and Crew,” and “Ready, Set, Shoot!”  

Some tips and advice-giving sections include:

• When you write the script for your dream, start from the end and work your way   backward;

• Separate your dreams from your fantasies;

• Turn obstacles into opportunities;

• Squash your dreams of becoming an overnight success;

• Confidence breeds confidence;

Ramirez and Barrett deliver helpful and practical advice, and provide real-life
anecdotes from their own lives as well as the lives of others who have starring roles in
their chosen professions. Other life stories include:  Actor Ken Davitian, filmmakers Ari Gold and Cameron Fay, “Napoleon Dynamite” producer Sean Covel, entrepreneur Jay Galvin and life lessons from musical artist Garrett Dutton from G. Love and Special Sauce, and the top-viewed YouTube Star Judson Laipply, among others. 

The “Director’s Notes” can be used as daily affirmations to remind you that:

• The only person who can kill your dreams by saying no is you.

• Money is important, but it’s never the goal in itself.

• You can reach your own goal by helping someone else reach theirs.

Efren Ramirez, a writer, producer and director, played “Pedro” in the smash-hit Napoleon Dynamite.  He is co-founder of the production company Powerhouse Pictures Entertainment, LLC.
Chris Barrett earned fame by getting a corporate sponsorship for his college education, and has appeared in several documentaries. He now directs documentaries, and is co-founder of Powerhouse Pictures Entertainment, LLC.


""Wise and funny, with life lessons for all of us."" —Phil Rosenthal, Creator and Executive Producer, ""Everybody Loves Raymond""

“A clear roadmap on how to go about achieving goals and getting what you want out of life…Required reading for everyone, young and old alike.” —Jason Rae, youngest member ever elected to the Democratic National Committee

“This is the blueprint for success and personal satisfaction I wish I had when I began my career.” —Mark Achbar, Director, The Corporation

“Efren and Chris attack everything they do with a spirit and a level of enthusiasm that we all aspire to have in our work and our lives.” —Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix

“Confronting your movie on the big screen of life can be daunting…but Efren and Chris have created this masterful guide to get you that standing ovation.” —Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC, Cinematographer, 24

Direct Your Own Life is a fast and fun read. It’s inspirational and upbeat.”
—Senh Duong, Founder of Rotten Tomatoes

“There’s more good advice in here than in a dozen books from the so-called ‘experts.’ At the rate these two are going, they’ll be running Hollywood in no time.” —Patrick Creadon, award-winning documentary filmmaker, Wordplay and I.O.U.S.A.

“The secret to success is hidden in these pages!” —Chantal Claret, Lead Singer, Morningwood

“An entertaining guide for any film-lover who wants to produce a better life for him- or herself!” —Gill Holland, The Group Entertainment, Producer

Direct Your Own Life will encourage young entrepreneurs not to wait in line for someone else to call their number.” —Pascal Maeder, Founder, Atopia

“The messages in this book are brilliant; I couldn’t have put them better myself…so I didn’t. This book is essential to anyone with a dream lodged somewhere in the back of his or her mind. Use it and live it!” —Brian Ach, Celebrity Photographer

Direct Your Own Life/Launch Release                                                                                 
“This book is the super model of all life manuals!” —Susan Holmes, Fashion Designer, TV Personality, and Former Supermodel

For more information about DIRECT YOUR OWN LIFEand its authors, you’re invited to visit:

June 2008, Kaplan Publishing, Paperback Original, $14.95
6x9, 256 pages, 978-1-4277-9766-7

Kaplan Publishing is one of the nation's top publishers of academic and professional development resources. We publish titles on topics such as test preparation, college and graduate school admissions, academic and career development in the legal, medical, education, and general business fields. Kaplan Publishing is the leading provider of test prep materials for a variety of standard tests, including GRE, GMAT, LSAT, SAT, PSAT, MCAT, TOEFL, and more. Our mission is to help individuals achieve their educational and career goals. We build futures one success story at a time. Kaplan Publishing is a unit of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).