Yes, I have been wanting to read this ever since I saw the film based on this true story back in 2006. The film is based on just the weeks where Gardner finds himself in lone care of his toddler son and homeless. The book is a full biography, from growing up fatherless in a poor, black neighbourhood with a wicked stepfather to joining the navy and finding the first flush of independence.
Even though the film just concentrates on those last few chapters, it is far more harrowing and one that I have never been able to watch again. It paints Gardner to be more heroic than much of the autobiography does. He makes poor choices and has been left with his child to look after when he can barely manage himself in his one room dwelling. Having lost everything after their split, it seems terribly selfish of the mother who clearly wasn’t the best idea for a partner. I have empathy as a brutal first sixteen years packed with abuse and poverty can no doubt give you a different stance on life.
What can I show you that is similar to what you already own, that’s going to meet your current objectives?
However, what makes this the legendary story is what he does then. Having vowed to always be part of his children’s lives when he barely had one parent around, he puts his son first and sets out to not just put a secure roof over their heads, but become wealthy enough to never worry about money again. Along the way, giving a leg up to those who fall on hard times like he had. He found himself to be a good sales person, learns what he needs to know from those around him and starts making money.
I made my way into the world through sales too and learnt early on that I my earning capability was whatever I wanted it to be. I always say, it’s the clever people that ask all the questions. What he hears from his second boss in the finance industry is that the firm was built with PSDs: People that are Poor, Smart and with Desire (to become wealthy). Wow.
Welcome Home Son – Nelson Mandela
No one had uttered those words to Gardner until he is middle-aged, super-successful and in South Africa, hearing it from the great leader.
I have to look past some questionable morals, but after all these years, this is an inspiring read.