Christopher Gardner

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

The amazing story of Gardner’s life was published as an autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, on May 23, 2006, and is the inspiration for the movie of the same title starring Will Smith as Gardner.

A series of circumstances in the early 1980’s left Gardner homeless in San Francisco and the sole guardian of his toddler son. Unwilling to give up Chris Jr. or his dream of financial independence, Gardner started at the bottom. Without connections or a college degree, he earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program. Often spending his nights in a church shelter or the bathroom at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland, Gardner was the sole trainee offered a job at Dean Witter Reynolds in 1981. He spent 1983-1987 at Bear Stearns & Co., where he became a top earner, and then in 1987, he founded the brokerage firm Gardner Rich & Co in Chicago.