I recently recommended this book on the Personal Development forum. I consider it one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. It’s amazing how, despite being denied education for so long, Tara (now Dr. Westover) not only survived but thrives.

Why I would recommend this book:
  • It can help people denied access to education/training in any capacity, it says “you are not alone” and “it’s not too late for you”
  • It shows education for what it is, a privilege. It’s easy to forget that we are so privileged to have it (take it for granted). And, therefore, that being denied fair access to this privilege does not make you "bad," "stupid," or "beyond help."
  • It’s not a self-help book, the type full of disjointed anecdotes about the Steve Jobses and Warren Buffets of the world.
  • It's written in an accessible and highly readable way (with audiobook also available).


My concerns about recommending this book:
  • Tara’s story, while very inspirational, sets the bar very high for someone that wants to follow her example too literally. In other words, it’s not likely that we will ALL end up with PhDs from Cambridge. I don’t think this was the author’s intention at all, but (again, taken too literally) it can be read as an educational version of a “rags to riches” story.


Overall I think this book should be recommended to anyone who has low self-esteem due to lacking education, or expresses ideas such as: “I'm too far behind to catch up,” "I'm too stupid to ..." or “life is over for me (at age X) because of Y.”

I would be interested to hear the thoughts of others, especially those who have read the book already :)