On a winter’s day, Chris Gardner set off with his nine-year-old granddaughter Brooke to find the harmonica of her dreams. The search sends them North “beyond the wall” into a foreboding Chicago neighborhood and, soon, on a harrowing adventure that will change both of their lives—and ours.
Chris is still mourning the loss of his girlfriend to brain cancer. Her question haunts him: “Now that we know how short life can be, what will you do with the time you have left?” After five years, he feels an urgency—what he calls, “Atomic Time” in which every second counts—to find an answer, but is stuck. Even while giving Brooke permission to aspire to one day become President of the United States, he knows it’s time to reclaim his own permission to dream.
Lost, Chris and his granddaughter board a bus, reminding him of earlier rides through dark times when dreams of a better life kept him alive. As the two wind through a changing cityscape, Chris reflects on past lessons that offer powerful guidance for dreaming your way to monumental success.
At its heart, this book lays out a blueprint for building a dream-come-true life—even during uncertainty. Gardner delivers the secrets to achieving a prosperous career—from a method for identifying your ultimate dream to a playbook for becoming world class at it. His tools include the “new 3 R’s”—or the Rep, the Rap and the Rolodex—which reveal how to earn a stellar reputation, develop a rap for marketing yourself, and amass a Rolodex of rewarding relationships. No matter how much wealth you achieve, Chris notes, true success comes from enriching the lives of others—so all can still have access to the American Dream.
Toward the end, Brooke observes that in Atomic Time it’s never too late for anyone to reinvent themselves and change their fortune. Chris, hearing her, realizes what his next pursuit will be—to go back to high school and give permission to dream to the next generation of problem solvers and change makers.
A true fable, Permission to Dream is a timeless and timely manifesto for turning dreams into action—beginning right now.
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.
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.
Ever since the story of his transformation from homeless, single and struggling father to millionaire became known the world over, Chris Gardner --whose life story both inspired the movie The Pursuit of Happyness and became a #1 New York Times bestseller by the same name--has been inundated with two questions: “How Did You Do It” and “How Can I Do it Too?” Gardner's power-packed, transformational reply is the basis of this long-anticipated book.
Taking stock of his own credos, including “The Cavalry Ain't Coming,” “Find Your Button,” and “Seek the Furthest Star”-- Gardner's 44 life lessons are earthy, soulful, and always accessible. With an array of stories from the author's own life, as well as from those he has known or admired, both famous and not, Start Where You Are has arrived just in time to embolden and encourage all of us, even in our era of great global change, reminding us of the infinite resources we already have in our collective pursuit of happyness, and spurring us on in only one direction - forward!