Book: Like Brothers by Mark and Jay Duplass

Reviewer: Paige Richards

Age/Genre: Adult Non-Fiction, Humor

Preferred Reading Environment: Relaxing outside on a sunny day, preferably when in need of some inspiration

I have always been a fan of the Duplass brothers, filmmakers and actors known for their movies like The Puffy Chair to television shows like The League, and The Mindy Project. I have always appreciated their quirky, independent spirit that goes into each of their projects. As soon as I heard they were writing a book I kept the release date top of my radar. There was no way I was going to miss this.

Like Brothers is an autobiography written by two very creative, very dedicated brothers. The book is formatted in a way that I have never experienced, each chapter labeled with either a word or roman numeral. The chapters labeled with roman numerals are chapters about how these two became filmmakers, their journey through their creative process and some tips. The other chapters (chapters one, two, three, etc) are fun stories, sweet brother moments, honest stories about their struggles and overall just extremely heartwarming, funny and relatable. Like a less exciting choose-your-own-adventure, you can read through or skip every other chapter. I chose to read straight through, which I recommend for everyone, and enjoy this amazing ride.

This book is for everyone (a statement made by their own mother in the forward). They may be filmmakers, musicians, actors themselves, but this book really holds on to and talks about the type of drive and spirit a person needs to make anything they are passionate about in their lives. For example, an excerpt from “Unsolicited Advice Part 1, Housing:”

Let’s say you are an artist who likes to make weird art that probably won’t make money. If this is you, we love you. Or you’re an inventor of odd ideas, or a start-up that is not guaranteed to work. If this is you, we need you. You’re awesome. But your road could be hard. And you need to be able to live cheaply until you “hit” (or maybe live cheaply forever). So you need a smart plan. You need to guarantee that you have as much time as possible to make your real work instead of dying a slow creative death in a crappy day job in order to pay your outlandish living expenses. To this end, here are a few tips:…

(pg #51)

(Sorry, I won’t be giving away all their tips). This spoke volumes to me, personally. As a creative I am constantly questioning if I’m in the right space, if I should be hustling with other people I graduated with in LA or NY. Can I make something significant in my hometown? Should I change my name, run away from my student loans and live with 15 people in a single bedroom in Hollywood? This chapter is one of the best examples of how this book can speak to everyone – because the answer is no. You don’t need to follow some template, you can create art, businesses, lives exactly where you are. The brothers not only preach it, they did it. They lived cheaply, worked smarter not harder and they stuck extremely true to themselves. This doesn’t have to be directed to the creative worker either, every person I know has a passion they want to pursue, a job they don’t want to stay at, a life they want to build.  This book, and for me, this chapter, made me believe that we can build whatever the hell we want, and their tips are very helpful in pursuing that belief.

At one point in my past I was not a person to dive into an autobiography, until I read Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? It made me realize I was missing out on a whole genre of books! I dove in and read Amy Poehler’s and Tina Fey’s, and to my joy they were also AMAZING! Unfortunately, I learned quickly that it’s not common for autobiographies to blow me out of the water. Like Brothers was right on par with this group of “out of the water” books. Reading this book is so true to their voice that it feels like you’re sitting in the same room, sipping a cocktail and listening to a good friend’s life stories.

Now, I have recommended this book to almost every person who will talk to me about it! (Thank you to Bathtub Book Club for letting me have this outlet to rave about it even more). I keep hearing “Oh, I dunno, you like the Duplass brothers more than I do,” or “I’m not a filmmaker so it doesn’t seem applicable.” I reiterate here, the most important take-away from this book, is that it is for every single person who has an ounce of creative spirit. Which, I believe, is everyone alive. These brothers write with such a passion for their craft, and truly believe that you should go out and create whenever! No fancy tools needed – find your passion, find the thing you believe in your soul you can do and do not let a single thing stop you from doing it. I finished the book with renewed spring in my step and a belief that, if they could film their first sundance premiering short for $3.00, I could go out and shoot something incredible on a cell phone if I wanted to. They believe in failing, they believe in trying, they believe in doing things exactly how you want to do them. Their book makes you feel like they even believe in you.

If you enjoy autobiographies and have any other suggestions on some “out of the water” books in this genre, let me know! I would love to find more that leave me feeling that same high as Mark, Jay, Mindy, Tina & Amy.

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