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Chris Gardner


Biography of an investor, speaker, and writer, whose story formed the basis of the legendary film


The life of this African American turned out to be such a vivid example of perseverance and faith in himself that the film company Columbia Pictures shot the film "The Pursuit of Happiness" about him. Will Smith played the role of Chris Gardner. By the way, the investor himself also appeared at the end of the film in the episodic role of a passer-by.

Childhood and adolescence of the future millionaire

Chris was born on February 9, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, to a poor family. The boy lived with his mother, her husband, and his half-brothers and sisters. He saw his own father only twice in his entire life.


Gardner's childhood was difficult: his drinking stepfather often beat him. From an early age, he had to earn money in order to get at least some money: he washed the floors and looked after the elderly. According to the investor himself, all his childhood and youth were spent in an atmosphere of cruelty, alcoholism, domestic violence, fear, and poverty.

The only thing that inspired him was his mother's love. They loved to read together. In addition, the boy often visited public libraries. But it sent the woman to prison for the attempted murder of her husband, and they sent all the children to foster families. The maternal command "You can do or be anyone" helped Gardner in difficult situations, and it was thanks to this that he achieved success later.


Chris understood he wanted a different life for himself and his future family and did everything possible to break out of the vicious circle of poverty. Therefore, after graduating from high school at 18, he went to serve in the US Navy.

A failed career as a doctor

In the army, Chris received first aid skills and made useful contacts. After his dismissal, he became a clinical research assistant at the hospital and planned to study to be a doctor. In 1976, after two years of research experience, it promoted Gardner to laboratory director and medical author. He worked as a security guard and was engaged in painting.

But someone did not destine the plans to come true - in 1981 he had a son, Christopher. The medical worker's salary was not enough to support the family, and the boy's mother left them. Gardner took a job as a sales representative for a medical device company.


Without a home and money

One day, Chris saw a well-dressed man driving a Ferrari and asked him what he needed to do to make the same big money. It was a stockbroker who, at Gardner's request, arranged for him to meet with the heads of brokerage companies who were providing training in the work in the stock market.

Gardner went to study at Dean Witter Reynolds but received so little that he could not afford the rent. It was the most difficult period in his life: it left the future financier and his son without a roof over their heads. They slept wherever they could: in parks, in a church shelter, at Gardner's desk when the rest of the staff went home, and even in a train station toilet. Still, Chris saved some money to send the child to kindergarten and work even more.

The successful investor

The future millionaire worked selflessly, coming to work before everyone else and leaving the last: his goal was to make at least 200 calls to clients a day. Effort and persistence paid off: in 1982, Gardner successfully passed the exam for the right to work as a broker.

Chris' business went uphill - he earned good money, then went to work for a large investment company Bear Stearns. Revenues continued to rise, and in 1985 he made his first million dollars. And one of his first major acquisitions was a luxurious Ferrari, which was previously owned by basketball player Michael Jordan.

In 1987, Gardner founded his own brokerage company, Gardner Rich & Co, which provided brokerage and investment advisory services. In 2006, he sold his shares for several million dollars and founded another company, Christopher Gardner International Holdings. But today Chris remains the CEO of Gardner Rich & Co.


The personality of a millionaire

Chris got married in 1977, but the marriage fell apart a few years later. The main reason for the gap was the reluctance of the future investor to pursue a medical career. The mother of Christopher's son, for whom Gardner was ready to turn mountains, was another woman. The relationship with her was not formalized.

The exact size of Chris's financial condition is unknown. His primary income comes from work at Gardner Rich & Co and the sale of his own books. The autobiography " The Pursuit of Happiness " has become a real bestseller and a motivation for budding financiers. Gardner has several more published works, but the one based on which it made the film world-famous. By the way, the investor Joseph Marc Blumenthal often cites Chris Garner’s quote: "Do not stop in front of difficulties. Don't talk in vain. It is unnecessary to go by leaps and bounds, you can advance in small steps. The key thing is to go forward. Move on.


Chris is a sought-after speaker and has lectured in over 50 countries around the world. He motivates people to follow their dreams and explains how to succeed in business.

But becoming rich and famous, the financier did not forget his roots and tough childhood. Chris deals with the problems of domestic violence, financial illiteracy, and helps the homeless. He sponsors charities, including those that have helped him survive during his most hard times. In particular, Gardner donated $50 million to build housing and create jobs for the poor.

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