Chris Gardner

The man behind The Pursuit of Happyness true story.

Inspirational speaker addressing the keys to overcoming obstacles and breaking cycles.

Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and single parent whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organizations.


Chris Gardner is the author of the 2006 autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller that has been translated into over forty languages. Gardner is also the inspiration for the acclaimed movie The Pursuit of Happyness for which Will Smith, starring as Gardner, received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for his performance. Gardner’s second bestselling book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, was published in May 2009.

In the fall of 2010, Chris Gardner was named the Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness for AARP, which has nearly 40 million members worldwide. As a single parent for 25 years, Gardner has demonstrated his concern for the well-being of children through his work with and on behalf of organizations such as the National Fatherhood Initiative, the National Education Association Foundation and the International Rescue Committee. Gardner is still very committed to Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco; where he and his son received assistance in the early 1980’s.

Always hard working and tenacious, a series of adverse circumstances in the early 1980’s left Chris Gardner homeless in San Francisco and the sole guardian of his toddler son. Unwilling to give up Chris Jr. or his dreams of success, Gardner climbed the financial industry ladder from the very bottom. He worked at Dean Witter Reynolds and Bear Stearns & Co before founding the brokerage firm Gardner Rich in Chicago in 1987.

After 30 years, in 25 of which he ran his own brokerage firm, and with nothing else to accomplish, he decided to exit the brokerage business and focus on his speaking engagements and media projects. With these, Chris specializes helping others achieve their full potential. His message is clear: If Chris Gardner can do it, so can you. He is a passionate philanthropist committed to organizations combating violence against women, homelessness, financial illiteracy, and providing access to medical care and treatment; issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.

“Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. Not even me”

Chris Gardner to his son.

The Pursuit of Happyness

In addition to his work as entrepreneur and author, Chris Gardner has become one of the most dynamic and inspirational professional speakers active today.

Few stories are as inspiring and moving as Chris Gardner’s rise from homelessness to become the owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC, the bestselling author of the autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness, and inspiration for the movie of the same name starring Will Smith in the role of Chris Gardner.

Surmounting acute obstacles throughout his life, Gardner shares with his audiences the keys to self-empowerment, and the message of beating the odds and breaking cycles. In 2009 his presentation has been enhanced to include much of the pragmatic wisdom featured in his second book Start Where You Are.

Start Where You Are

Having conquered seemingly impossible challenges on his way to becoming a profitable entrepreneur, popular speaker and dedicated activist, Gardner's aim in Start Where You Are is to give back by motivating others to claim ownership of their dreams and achieve their full potential - beginning right now and capitalizing on the resources already in place while building towards bigger goals and ambitions.

The book provides a much-needed blueprint for navigating this tumultuous time with positivity, courage, tenacity, discipline and common sense. Distilling his beliefs into 44 profound yet accessible chapters, Gardner offers practical advice for tackling life's problems and seizing its opportunities, all with his trademark humor and "tell it like it is" attitude. He begins by encouraging readers to "Find Your Button," what they love to do, what excites them, and advises that without this passion they are doomed for unfulfillment. Now is the time for dreaming big, transferring your skills and using your experience - which no pink slip can take away from you. But, Gardner cautions, net worth does not equal self worth so "Find Out Your 'Why'" and don't pursue anything for the money alone.

Start Where You Are

The Pursuit of Happyness

In his stirring autobiography Chris Gardner details his journey from homeless single father to self-made millionaire. It is the gripping story of his refusal to give up on his quest for the American dream and his duties to his toddler son, or give into the despair that threatened to devour him from birth.

The Pursuit of Happyness is an inspirational, coming-of-age memoir that bears the message that a hunger for learning, hard work, and never giving up on the people who make you truly "wealthy," can break destructive cycles and propel anyone to unlimited heights - no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their circumstances may be.

The Pursuit of Happyness