Kirkus Reviews QR Code
I CAN'T READ by William  Manzanares IV


A Guide to Success Through Failure

by William Manzanares IV

Pub Date: June 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5445-1415-4
Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

A business owner who has trouble reading shares insights and strategies.

In this debut self-help book, Manzanares focuses less on the mechanics of dealing with a learning disability—in his case, a lifelong difficulty with reading that was never formally diagnosed—and more on strategies for surmounting the extra challenges that are part of living with a disability. The book addresses both parents of children with learning disabilities and readers (or listeners; the book is also available in audio) who have such conditions. Through his own anecdotes and insights gained from his wide reading on related topics, Manzanares encourages readers to be realistic about their difficulties without letting those difficulties limit their objectives. Manzanares draws connections between the skills (“my superpowers”) that allowed him to make it through school— memorization, asking for help—and what has made him successful as an adult, reminding readers frequently that coping techniques are legitimate ways of overcoming a problem, rather than cheating: “When speaking with your child or loved one about their challenge or reading disability, help them see it as a means of amplifying another ability they might have.” The book’s frank, reassuring tone, with Manzanares willing to share his failures as well as his successes (“If I had to do it over again? Honestly, I’m not sure” he writes of sharing his disability with his employees), makes for an engaging narrative and solidifies Manzanares’ status as a reliable, generous mentor. Although the guide doesn’t focus on explaining dyslexia or teaching the reader about specific tools, the recommendations of technologies (audiobooks, Grammarly, dictation software) and resources Manzanares finds most helpful are among the guide’s strengths. Readers from marginalized communities may also appreciate the perspective that Manzanares, a member of the Puyallup Tribe, brings to the topic.

A well-written, motivating book about managing disabilities and finding workarounds.