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The Pursuit of Happyness

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  18,340 Ratings  ·  657 Reviews

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,
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 24th 2006 by Amistad (first published 2006)
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Arianny He just hanged to his dreams, but not just dreamed about the things that he wanted, he fought for it, he worked for it and sacrificed for it. His set…moreHe just hanged to his dreams, but not just dreamed about the things that he wanted, he fought for it, he worked for it and sacrificed for it. His set up his mind to be different, to make a difference in his family and to everyone who surrounded him. This is just a summary of the way I see he made it through his obstacles. (less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 28, 2007 Melissa rated it it was ok
I liked the story, but the writing left something to be desired, I think... and (don't hate me) there were aspects of Gardner's personality that came out in his book that made him a little bit less of a likeable character for me. Not that I didn't respect what he did or how he helped himself and his son... he just came across such that his personality rubbed me the wrong way a few times... Anyone else who can back me up on that?

I still haven't seen the movie. Maybe I should.
Aug 10, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Loy Machedo
Jan 13, 2012 Loy Machedo rated it really liked it
Chris Gardners ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is surprisingly not your usual feel-good, decent, role-model kind of a book. It is a book that is brutally honest, bad and bloodied in its language and breathtakingly realistic in its approach.

For those of you who have seen the movie with the same name starring Wills Smith, well let me be clear - what you saw was in the cinema or DVD is hardly a fraction of what you will read in this book. What I realized after reading the book was, the storyline in the
May 10, 2007 Amy rated it liked it
I rushed to read this before seeing the movie. Surprisingly, I preferred the movie. While I was deeply moved by Gardner's life and accomplishments, a great writer he is not. I had recently read the Glass Castle (MASTERFULLY TOLD) and this did not measure up. Unfortunately, the childhood accounts are all told not from a child's perspective, but with the adult Chris's notions inserted regularly. We all know a five year old wouldn't be making the observations and conclusions that the narrative voic ...more
Mar 03, 2008 Alison rated it did not like it
I enjoyed this movie and so I checked out the book. The first half tells of his life growing up. It was not a happy life. Some of the scenes are quite graphic and there is lots of foul language. I hoped part two would be less so, but it was even worse. Really, it should be the pursuit of a carnal, sensual and develish happiness...not what I truly define as happiness. (Lots of women, drugs, and behavior that I believe should not be emulated.) If I could recommend any of it, it would only be the l ...more
Sarezh Zyad
Jan 03, 2015 Sarezh Zyad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: saw-it-s-movie
* Don't ever let somebody tell you YOU can't do something - You Got a Dream Protect it - If you Got something Go And Get it *

. I saw The Movie and Makes me hopeful . so surprised . and so Enthusiast
it is all About how much you desire something - and How much you can resist the Hard Time - How much You Won't Give Up !
Then I read it And have same and More Eager Impression To ward every single Goal .
Nice mind - nice courage

-- set A goal
-- Make sure You want IT
-- you will Get what ever the Obst
Anil Swarup
Mar 18, 2014 Anil Swarup rated it it was amazing
An inspiring autobiography of a common man with usual frailties but unusual ambition. However, this is one of the rare incidents when the movie scores over the book. It is also a trifle difficult for an Indian to relate to the earlier part of the book as family ties are not as tenuous as they appear in the west. The book still sweeps you off the ground. Some of the events are touching. The ultimate compliment to the father comes from the son "You are a good Poppa" and the one from Nelson Mandela ...more
Jun 27, 2007 Afton rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This was one of the best books I've read in awhile! I was sad when I finished reading it. It leaves you with that feel good feeling and the notion that you can achieve anything you put your mind to with a little hard work and determination!

** I saw the movie after I read the book. I love Will Smith's performance; however, I felt like the movie only highlighted 1/10 of the novel! It holds true: The book is always better than the movie.
Apr 24, 2012 Marcia rated it did not like it
I was very very disappointed by this book. I loved the movie, and I have seen Chris Gardner on a number of TV appearances, and have been very impressed with his story.
Unfortunately this book was trash both in language and subject matter.
The language was incredibly course and made it very difficult to wade through. In the beginning, it was tolerable because he was telling the story of his childhood, and those were real words that someone spoke to him. So although it was difficult to stomach, I c
Nov 29, 2007 Emily rated it did not like it
Watch the movie, it is a lot more inspirational than the book. The language is crass and offensive in the book and the author is conceited.
Oct 01, 2012 Donna rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars,but I will up it to 5 only because I would actually read this again.

I really enjoyed this book. I did the audio and highly recommend that version. It felt personal and intimate like having lunch with an old friend from way back. It was definitely raw, but it was tempered with honesty and he offered no excuses. I can completely respect that.

I hate foul language, especially when used in books. I think it is usually a weak crutch and is used to shock the reader. I always think, ‘you’re a
Jun 11, 2016 Mitchell rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but beware, the movie this book is not.

Mr. Gardner had a hard upbringing. He was in and out of foster care or living with relatives. When he did live with his biological mother, he had to endure a insanely emotionally and physically abusive step-father. My heart broke for him during those periods of his life.

Later in life, Mr. Gardner became homeless and a single father. This period was also heartbreaking, yet Mr. Gardner kept fighting. I think that's the ultimate message of
Jun 12, 2008 nanto marked it as wishlist-‎a-k-a-buku-buruan
Baru nonton filmnya, belum pernah baca bukunya.
suka banget sama dialog ini:

Christopher Gardner: Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me. All right?
Christopher: All right.
Christopher Gardner: You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it.
(sumber: )

Tabik bapak, nasehat untuk anaknya keyen!

Btw, kenapa lagu "Can't Take that Away" Mariah Carey gak jadi
Aug 30, 2012 Cailean rated it did not like it
Cannot express how deeply disappointed I was in this book! I'd seen the movie soon after it came out, and found it inspirational and even heart-warming. I knew immediately after starting this book that the author's writing style would be difficult to follow. He has a poetic way of writing but tended to jump around a lot in timeline and in perspective. I found I had to skim a lot because of writing style but mostly awful language and graphic details of his childhood and adulthood. All in all, I p ...more
Jan 26, 2008 Cortney rated it it was ok
After enjoying the incredible movie based on this book, I was expecting great things. Alas, I was disappointed. Not by the story itself, but by the ridiculous usage of the f-word. It was over the top and took away from the story. The story itself was inspiring. It was interesting to read the book after seeing the movie and take note of the many differences. Chris’ son was only about nineteen (or so) months old when they became homeless. My baby was twenty-one months old while I was reading this ...more
Georgie Bartlett
Aug 20, 2012 Georgie Bartlett rated it it was ok
I did not get to finish the pursuit of happyness because the book was quite long and very heavy for someone my age. I think that the style of writing quite mature and very heavy. There were about 15-30 pages per chapter and that made it harder to read because there was so much detail in the one chapter and it made it quite boring. There were many paragraphs per page and the writing was quite small. It seemed like a interesting story but it was hard to read it and enjoy because it was way to matu ...more
Apr 06, 2008 Becky rated it liked it
I saw the movie which glorified the author. The book goes into a lot more details of the author's childhood, marriage and life and I was a lot less enamoured. A lot of the author's poor choices are led by his libido. I felt a lot less empathy for him. Yes, it is horrible to be homeless, but he made some devastating choices himself which hurt people.

Nov 05, 2008 Stacey added it
I liked this movie and was at the library one day looking for something to read so I checked the book out. It was terrible! I had to finally put it down because the language and content was horrible. The movie was pretty clean, so I was appalled. I do NOT recommend anyone to read this book.
Apr 16, 2015 Bhavya rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: This is a personal experiment, not actually a review. Its just my experience and thoughts while I read the book. A biography of reading the biography :) Also, massive spoilers.

Reading One:
Finally reading this book and that too the first edition published May 2006 which says on the cover "soon to be a motion picture starring will smith". I remember watching this movie probably in 2007 and having goosebumps all over while doing so. I am hoping reading the book is as much as fascinating
Sahil Surdha
Nov 29, 2016 Sahil Surdha rated it really liked it
When I first watched the movie, I was so overwhelmed by emotions and I definitely think that it clicked something in me. Will Smith is one hell of an actor, and the movie is absolutely the bomb!

So when I saw that there was a book about it, and not any kind of book, an Autobiography, I told myself that I had to read the accounts of this Chris Gardner(p.s he is a stock broker ha! )

The book starts with him telling us about two events that changed his life completely. One was an incident involving a
Aug 09, 2015 Clif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A first: When the movie and the book complement each other

The movie does have it's place, but I can honestly say that, on an emotional level, the the book and the movie are incomplete without each other (usually, the book is almost always better than the movie). Will Smith's tour de force portraying Gardner on a more sympathetic visual level hits me more at home than how the real Chris Gardner portrays his trials merely in written form. Yet, the book, from more than a decade of verbal and emotio
Kristopheroy Fojas
Oct 15, 2012 Kristopheroy Fojas rated it it was amazing
This book I read was "The Pursuit of Happyness" by Chris Gardner. This book is about Chris Gardner which goes through all his struggles and obastables to be successful in life. He was born to a mother who spent time in jail and experienced abuse. He did not know who his father was. Chris's experiecne of not having a father motivated him to be a great father to his son at all times. He joined the Navy as an adult, went into medical training, and got married and has a kid. His wife left him with f ...more
I'm not going to rate this, nor give it a lengthy review as I think it would be far too easy to slip into reviewing Gardner's life choices, rather than the book itself.

But there are two things I do want to mention. The idea of "Conscious Capitalism" is one. It is something I approve of wholeheartedly and to hear about it makes a wonderful change from the endless stream of stories and media depicting the selfishness of money and big business. Particularly given the other book I have been reading
Mar 19, 2010 Bonni rated it did not like it
Generally, most movies inspired by books are disappointing compared to the book from which they are derived. However, the "The Pursuit of Happyness," qualifies as an exception to this unwritten rule. I decided to read the book because I found the movie inspirational. The book, however, was thoroughly disappointing. The movie is taken from about one quarter of the content of the book. After reading the book, I know why that is the case. The rest of the book is depressing and trashy. Even the pote ...more
Ben Hilzer
Dec 31, 2011 Ben Hilzer rated it really liked it
Gardner's book was one of pure honesty. Some people got frustrated with how depressing it is and the amount of profanities he used. Those people are sheltered and don't like the harsh reality. Gardner told his story the way it actually happened, the way the world treated him. It was beautifully real and I loved it. He focused on the idea that you can do whatever you want to do (no matter the circumstances) and to never be afraid to ask for help.
People also got frustrated with how the movie only
Lester Usapdin
Jul 10, 2012 Lester Usapdin rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lester by: National Bookstore SM Megamall
This book is what made me always say "thank you" when someone is helping me to transfer my commuting fee to the jeepney driver, a service crew gives my meal, a customer service agent told me some directions. I remember making a series of review about this book in friendster.

The story of rags to riches (watch the film adaptation starring Will Smith and his real-life son Jaden; just a few changes to suit it in a 117 minute film). The experiences Chris had as a boy: losing an uncle who he considere
Richard Stephenson
Jun 27, 2011 Richard Stephenson rated it liked it
Wow what a journey - a very explicit, detailed, and rough journey. Hardship and Mr. Gardner were no strangers. It takes a bit of effort, but there are some very good lessons to learn from this book.

I give it 3 stars as I thoroughly enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book, but had much difficulty with the first 2/3rds. I appreciate the hardship and utter raw-ness of his life-stories... but some of it just seemed a bit too much for the overall premise of the book (e.g. the gimp returns scene). A little t
I never saw the movie, but I do live in San Francisco, and I've volunteered at Glide, so I always knew at some point I'd have to read this book. From the previews of the movie I thought it would be more about him and Glide and that's not what the book was about at all. But we do learn about Gardner's life from a child on, and then how he became homeless. He wasn't super likeable but I do appreciate the way he took care of and raised his son, especially making sure that they always had fun and ed ...more
Jun 15, 2016 Robyn rated it it was amazing
If ever there was a story that made me appreciate my own childhood, it is this one. Chris Gardner lived through an abusive - on many levels - home life, didn't meet his father until he was an adult and spent the better part of a year homeless with a toddler son in tow. He didn't let all those things stop him though. He kept faith in his own abilities and ambitions to eventually become an international success. Aside from the inspiring nature of the story, this book was a great read. I usually st ...more
Sep 16, 2016 Jenny rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this. I love stories where people pull themselves up and succeed. I was only halfway through the book on CD and had to quit. I needed to know that he came from a terrible background. I get that. I just didn't have the stomach for the explicit detail of being raped and all the profanity (over and over). I impressed at what he had been able to accomplish and the events that he survived. I'm impressed with the personal decisions he made based on these like he'd never abandon a chil ...more
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Christopher Gardner is the owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Conquering grave challenges to become a successful entrepreneur, Gardner is an avid motivational and aspirational speaker, addressing the keys to overcoming obstacles and breaking cycles. Gardner is also a passionate philanthropist whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organ ...more
More about Chris Gardner...

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“The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists, and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted me to believe that I wasn't good enough, would be stilled.” 122 likes
“Others may question your credentials, your papers, your degrees. Others may look for all kinds of ways to diminish your worth. But what is inside you no one can take from you or tarnish. This is your worth, who you really are, your degree that can go with you wherever you go, that you bring with you the moment you come into a room, that can't be manipulated or shaken. Without that sense of self, no amount of paper, no pedigree, and no credentials can make you legit. No matter what, you have to feel legit inside first.” 85 likes
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