Even before “the pursuit of happiness” became one of the most famous phrases in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, mankind worldwide had been on a quest to chase down this elusive goal. In his 2006 autobiographical “The Pursuit of Happiness,” millionaire stock broker and entrepreneur Chris Gardner outlines his own humble attempt at achieving a fulfilling life. From his difficult childhood to his even more difficult adulthood, “The Pursuit of Happiness” is the story of how Chris Gardner made it against all odds.
Struggle, adversity, failure, hope, and of course, success - this book has it all. Co-written by Quincy Troupe, this story gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a man who was always convinced of his capacity for greatness, but had much more difficulty in achieving it than believing it.
The book begins by telling the story of the entrepreneur’s childhood. From his destructive relationship with his abusive stepfather to the effects of frequently being moved from one foster home or relative to another, Gardner gives the reader an honest account of the experiences that shaped who he would go on to become.
“The Pursuit of Happiness” then goes on to detail Chris Gardner’s “slow walk to Wall Street,” as he calls it. From doing jail time and living in a shelter for single mothers, to creating his own brokerage firm and conducting multimillion-dollar deals, “The Pursuit of Happiness” unravels the complex series of events that comprise the incredible success story of Chris Gardner.
In 2006, a major motion picture was released by Columbia and Sony Pictures under the same name. In it, Will Smith plays the lead role, and brings the story of the stock broker’s trials and triumphs to the big screen. While the film itself has received mixed reviews, there is no denying that Gardner is now at the top of his game.
Today, he is engaged in talks to sell his Chicago-based stock brokerage firm for a “very nice” amount of money, but that doesn’t mean he has given up his quest for the pursuit of happiness. He continues to spend much of his time devoted to what could be the biggest deal of his career – setting up an investment venture in South Africa. After falling in love with the country in the late 1990s, and being personally welcomed by Nelson Mandela, Gardner is trying to help South Africans in their own pursuit of happiness by creating jobs and injecting millions of dollars in foreign currency into the nation.
“The Pursuit of Happiness” is a story about faith, courage, determination, and accomplishment. With a best-selling book and a major motion picture under his belt, what is next for Chris Gardner? He may not know quite yet, but he does know one thing for sure: there is no looking back. “Those were the darkest days of my life,” he says. “I’m ready to let it go.”