I just finished reading Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney. Set in New York City, you become a character working in the office of a popular magazine. You see the rise and fall of your life in a big city, and watch as everything glorious and gold crumbles away until all that’s left is the rusty metal underneath.
As a book that’s recommended for people around college age, the story is both inspiring and scary. McInerney has this wonderful way of expressing the thoughts of the protagonist in a way that relates so closely to things you may have thought yourself. Take this for example:
“Tad’s mission in life is to have more fun than anyone else in New York City, and this involves a lot of moving around, since there is always the likelihood that where you aren’t is more fun than where you are.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve thought that before. As someone who loves to be a part of everything, I often find myself in this internal battle McInerney describes through his character Tad. The book is full of thoughts and emotions like this, making it a real intriguing read, as you want to know what else the author dares to say that you can relate to.
In the introduction to the novel, this quote immediately struck me:
“The question is, which is worse: living an illusion, or losing it?”
Scary! Read it again. The spooky nature of these words made me question my current situation and the way I envision my future. Keeping an eye out for reality, yet not being dragged down by fear is a difficult load to balance. In business, if your dream is to become an entrepreneur, be a big-wig in a corporate office, or be in a high leadership position of a community or company, there’s this degree of risk involved. If risks aren’t taken and rules aren’t challenged, it’s almost impossible to heighten your career. However, too much risky business can destroy your career in an instant. Many famous people have that ‘illusion’ feel for their lives, and the fallout is more focused on than their successes.
Overall, I believe the book is a great read for someone in their 20s. It advises to analyze where you are now, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. How can you best balance your values with your career to reap reward? Too much in either direction will fling you off the seesaw.
What are you reading?
Courtney Cerniglia is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in business administration and Spanish.