The astounding yet true rags-to-riches saga of a homeless father who raised and cared for his son on the mean streets of San Francisco and went on to become a crown prince of Wall Street
At the age of twenty, Milwaukee native Chris Gardner, just out of the Navy, arrived in San Francisco to pursue a promising career in medicine. Considered a prodigy in scientific research, he surprised everyone and himself by setting his sights on the competitive world of high finance. Yet no sooner had he landed an entry-level position at a prestigious firm than Gardner found himself caught in a web of incredibly challenging circumstances that left him as part of the city's working homeless and with a toddler son. Motivated by the promise he made to himself as a fatherless child to never abandon his own children, the two spent almost a year moving among shelters, "HO-tels," soup lines, and even sleeping in the public restroom of a subway station.
Never giving in to despair, Gardner made an astonishing transformation from being part of the city's invisible poor to being a powerful player in its financial district.
More than a memoir of Gardner's financial success, this is the story of a man who breaks his own family's cycle of men abandoning their children. Mythic, triumphant, and unstintingly honest, The Pursuit of Happyness conjures heroes like Horatio Alger and Antwone Fisher, and appeals to the very essence of the American Dream.
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)