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The Pursuit of Happyness Hardcover – May 23, 2006

221 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gardner chronicles his long, painful, ultimately rewarding journey from inner-city Milwaukee to the pinnacle of Wall Street. Born in 1954, he grew up like too many young blacks: poor and fatherless, with a mother strong on children and church, yet soft on men. His violent, hateful stepfather refused to accept Gardner as a stepson and thwarted him at every turn. By his own account, Gardner was a good kid who got into trouble occasionally, but stayed on a steady, upward track. After a stint in the navy, he set his sights on a medical career, but a foray into sales led him to the stock and bond market. Gardner's own weakness was women, and when one of them left him with a son, it led to a period of homelessness on the San Francisco streets. Determination and resourcefulness brought father and son not merely to safety but to the top. Gardner is honest and thorough as he solidly depicts growing up black and male in late 20th-century urban America. His story isn't especially fresh, but his voice is likable, resulting in a quality African-American/business memoir deserving a wider audience than its niche-market elements might suggest. Photos. Ad/promo to coincide with the major motion picture starring Will Smith.(On sale May 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Chris Gardner is the chief executive officer of Gardner Rich & Company, a multimillion-dollar brokerage with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. An avid philanthropist and motivational speaker, Gardner is a recipient of the Father of the Year Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative. He has two children and resides in Chicago and New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; First Edition edition (May 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060744863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060744861
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hear Will Smith is in the lead role in the movie based on this book. It is truly an incredible story of one man's rise from homelessness to being a millionaire! Not only that but he is forced to show up for his first important job interview on Wall Street in paint-spattered shoes, having been evicted - and he still manages to talk himself into the job!

This is one of those stories that is so incredible, so "making it against all odds". The author has a strong, passionate voice and he doesn't flinch from telling the truth, including the fact that when he lived in hotels with his young son, they played a game called, "Shhh..." which involved keeping quiet when people knocked on the door or tried to find out if they were there (to evict them). But he didn't let the trauma, the hard times, defeat him. He simply faced up to the fact that he'd have to dig himself out of a hole, hard as it was....and, miraculously, he did.

If you're feeling down, this book ought to inspire you!
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168 of 188 people found the following review helpful By yowzers14 on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved the grace and dignity which Will Smith portrayed in the movie, so I was inspired to read the book. To my dismay, the real Chris Gardner writes with anger, some of which revealed his pettiness, especially surrounding perceived racial issues. I am a minority who has overcome many challenges. While I applaud Gardner's mental strength and perseverance, I was disappointed that the real Gardner was cocky and brassy, lacking humility in situations which were enacted poignantly in the movie. By the way, Gardner reveals way too much information about his sexual life. If you want a good pick-me-up, buy the DVD and skip the book. Thank you.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Big Jim on December 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Bottom line - this guy bares his soul... the good, the bad, and the in-between.

Only someone who has had a dream so strong the'd go through any obstacle to attain it can really understand.

What he did was completely, by the book, exactly what you're supposed to do if you REALLY want something... not just paying lip-service to a dream, but actually going for it with your entire being.

Most people "settle" and then do everything from drink themselves into oblivion, beat their wives, and blame life for what others did *TO* them.

Those few who dare... despite all odds... to do great things and never give up... those are the real heroes.

Those people who see something and want it so badly they can move mountains.

He followed the "magic" formula that gets us all everything - good or bad - that we have in our lives.

1. He knew EXACTLY what he wanted...

2. He knew WHY he wanted it...

3. He BELIEVED he could achieve it...

4. He had FAITH that it was on its way...

5. And he took MASSIVE action on every level towards its achievement.

He could have glossed over areas of the story... he could have cleaned up his actions and made himself a little more saintly... but he spent the time he did on what happened to him becaue it SHOWS that we are all WHERE we are as the SUM total of our thoughts and actions to that point.

He didn't end up on the street because of ONE decision... everthing he had came from everything that came before... the good and the bad.

I respect him and his story more because he told the WHOLE story.

You want to know the secret of his success? It's easy. He believed he could do it... he had no choice but TO DO it...
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dane Sandoval on May 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This memoir is a shining example of the rags-to-riches story and the triumph of embracing a shot at success in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Mr. Gardner's tale is riddled with challenges, despair, and even violence, but it is foremost one of hope and love. It offers up a reminder that the "American dream" still exists, that given the chance, anyone can find it in themselves to reach up and climb to new heights. And this story goes well beyond professional or financial success, even that as impressive as Gardner's, to show that really, the deepest form of motivation is found in our love for another.

Whether you are facing or have overcome your own hurdles, or just need to be reminded that the demons of the past are no match for the human spirit, this book is for you.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had been wanting to read this book since I saw and really enjoyed the movie. To my delight, my boyfriend's ex-wife purchased the book for their 9 year old son (he is an avid reader) while stuck in an airport nearly a month ago (so, that would save me from buying the book -- I would just borrow his when he was finished). She too had watched the movie and thought that the book would be appropriate for a child of that age due to the fact that the movie wasn't bad other than a minor cuss word or two. Unfortunately, she did not scan any of the pages and much to everyone's shock and surprise, and after the child was nearly finished with the book, I picked it up and scanned a few of the pages. The book is FILLED with graphic profanity (e.g., GD m-f'er and MF'er appear on almost every page), drug use, criminal activity, explicit and sexual scenes, a male rape scene, instances of adultery and many many depictions of graphic violence. This book is NOT like the movie. As a matter of fact, the Movie appears to be based on only about the last 50 or so pages of the book. I am not saying that the book is not a good read -- it is -- for an ADULT. I believe that some adults probably took their kids to see the movie and may think that the book is relatively harmless based on the movie. It is not. This is an adult book filled with adult topics and issues. I give it 4 stars because it's a very good book -- but definitely not a book to be read by a child.
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