You Can Do Anything
by Boris Cherniak
Book Reviewed: By Ms. Jennifer McAuliffe
Part memoir, part pep talk, Boris Chernaiks "You Can Do Anything" charts an incredible story from a three-time immigrant child wearing hand-me-down socks from the poor box to international renown performing for Royalty in the Middle East.
The incredible Boris has led an incredible life. Born in communist Moscow, a boy who once lined up for toilet paper, learned from indulgent parents to look at the brighter side of life. Immigrating from Russia (at the risk of being rejected and becoming social pariahs) his family bounced around Israel, Greece, and landing in Quebec, before calling Ontario home. Picking up languages along the way, this bright spark charmed people around the globe before he even began his rise as an entertainer.
He candidly discusses his many failures on the road to success, citing that failure is proof the attempt was bold. Though with what seems like endless energy, he always had a career or two to fall back on. Using every skill in his arsenal, he tackled entertainment as a computer analyst, psychologist, and with a dose of good old immigrant work ethic. At no point does he seem in it for the money. He just loves to work. Some of his efforts have been successful, some, such as his foray into Comedy Club ownership were successful for a time. Not every risk is rewarded in this honest account of the mercurial career in show business.
It's a breezy read, conversational in tone. Perfect for reading on an airplane, since travel factors so predominantly in this book. As a hypnotist, he has interests in psychology and mantras, believing in the power of positive thinking. The incredible Boris has certainly made lemonade out of all the lemons life has given him.
Surviving an accident that rolled over his Chevy Astro on black ice, his main concern was being late for a gig at a nearby high school. His guilt at letting people down is echoing as he wrote it 20 years later. But he has no qualms with putting his career on ice for years while his wife, who he adores, was fighting cancer. The unbridled passion that he injects into everything he attempts, from learning a language as a tween to running a comedy club in Toronto.
A loving family man, he describes his wife and family in glowing terms, equally happy to be on the road as at home. He explains the roles of agents and managers, how to be professional on the job and what goes into a publicity press packet. He warns against drugs and hard drinking. Some chapter's detail how to motivate yourself, and the joy of hard work. Others detail the glamour (and occasional drug addictions) of the famous and fame adjacent. All of it is focused on the positives of life, from poverty to wealth, being an unknown hypnotist to Ted talk speaker.
Readers will enjoy the anecdotes about famous comedians (Mitch Hedberg and Howie Mandel) as well as the origin story for a very interesting life. Most of all, Cherniak is unapologetic about his roots and what he believes he is capable of. The incredible Boris leaves the reader feeling inspired to get up early and make some phone calls.
Stand Up Comic, Writer and Twitter Sensation Ms. Jennifer McAuliffe recently won the "Starving Artist Stand Up Comedy contest" in Southern Ontario Canada.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferJokes