I saw the movie of the same name a few years back, and decided to read the book, because the movie inspired me. If you like to read inspiring non-fiction stories, memoirs, that evoke every emotion within you, and deal with overcoming adversity, then, this is the book for you.
The Pursuit of Happyness, by Chris Gardner, is the memoir of Chris Gardner, a man from Milwaukee. His mother was often away, his stepfather treated him brutally, and did not acknowledge him. He did not meet his birth father until he was 28-years old. He escaped the hardships and poverty of his childhood by joining the Navy. He eventually ended up in San Francisco, in a relationship with a woman who leaves him, and he is left to raise their young son.
Gardner is eventually faced with the most important decision of his life…to leave a job, with a small amount of security, in order to join the ranks of a major stock brokerage, under an internship program, where he can be educated to become a stock broker. This internship offers no salary, whatsoever, and only one person out of those chosen interns, will actually be offered a job, when the internship is completed. He showed up for the interview for the internship, in clothes not befitting a stock broker, and in paint-spattered shoes. Through his sincerity and wit, he was chosen to enter the program. He decided to take the chance, and enter the training program.
The book goes on to show the hardships he endured, not only financial, physical, and the fact he was an African-American raising a young son, alone, but also the fact that he was involved within a fast-paced business culture during the day, while living the life of a homeless person, at night. He studied at night, after making sure his son was asleep…and, that he was able to continue raising his son, working for no salary during the day, and studying, is beyond comprehension. He is a true example of a man who lived within the confines of poverty and the human condition, and overcame his obstacles, out of a deep desire to make something of his life, and to raise his son in a different environment, than he was raised in.
There are moments in the book that will make you feel as if you are on an emotional roller coaster ride, one minute laughing, the next minute brought to tears by Gardner’s circumstances.
The story has a wonderful ending, demonstrating how one person’s determination, steadfast goals, emotional strength, and his desire to improve the conditions for himself and his son, come to fruition, due to his fortitude and his never-ending hard work. Chris Gardner proves, that if one truly wants to overcome their human condition, they can, with step-by-step determination and willpower, and with integrity and sincerity. He overcame all the negative odds, and turned his life into a positive statement, and became a millionaire. I highly recommend The Pursuit of Happyness to everyone.
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