Engineering a Life

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Inspiring memoir that demonstrates how possible it is to achieve your dreams, despite financial or other setbacks.
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Krishan Bedi is someone I admire. He came, as a young man, to the Southern U.S. during the early 1960s with the purpose of obtaining a degree in engineering. He had little money, didn't speak English very well, and had no experience with American culture or the American educational system.

In short, he took a huge risk to leave everything and everyone familiar behind and live an adventure. Because that's what it was. He had a very courageous, impulsive and fun-loving spirit, which, I'm sure, helped him to face and overcome the numerous challenges that presented themselves. Sudden disaster, foolish decisions, and working menial jobs to earn enough to survive kept his life quite interesting in the early years.

But even finding a measure of success doesn't mean that circumstances stay at an even keel the rest of one's life. He faced hardship and unanticipated difficulties, but he kept going, kept trying, kept looking for the next step, for a better path. You will laugh at some of the hilarious situations he finds himself in, you will gasp at some of the unwise decisions he makes, you will share in his grief as he goes through loss and disaster, and you will cheer when he comes through it.

The book is called Engineering a Life: A Memoir by Krishan K. Bedi. I highly recommend this one. First, as a book to motivate and inspire you. Second, to see life through the eyes of another.

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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After reading the description of this book, I just knew I was going to like it.  Unfortunately, that proved not to be true.  This ended up being yet another one of those contemporary memoirs that seems more fitting to be read by an author's family and friends, not by the general public. One, it did not paint a very vivid portrait of life in the 1960's South, as the description promised.    Two, I often could not tell if Mr. Bedi was telling a story in a dead serious way, or was it suppose to be a humorous story?  There was so often no elaboration to clarify his feelings about past events.  (On the other hand, he elaborated so much about jobs that he had that I skimmed at times.)

For example, when it came to getting grades in college classes in the U.S., he often came across as feeling entitled to a good grade, because he needed a good grade and did the work as best he could, or because he was friends with someone. Was he looking back at that and thinking he was right in feeling that way, or thinking he was an arrogant young man, or was that how things were when he went to school in India?  When he said he was going to shoot a college professor in the leg for messing up his grade, was he being serious or joking?  When he hit a car and ran and hit a bus and ran, did he think that was funny or smart or stupid, or is that what drivers normally did in India?  I had absolutely no idea.  

I also didn't think all the events in his life added up to a particularly interesting memoir.  That's not to say Mr. Bedi's life is not worthy of a published memoir; but to say more attention needs to be given these days to what a general public reader will or will not find interesting, if the book is being released to the general public.  Moreover, how the memories are described is actually far more important than what the memories happen to be.  This is not a memorable memoir, in my opinion.  That's just one opinion, though. Most books find an audience.  I just don't think the audience for this one is going to consist of a lot of general public readers.
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