Title : 17 Cents and a Dream
Author : Daniel Milstein
'17 Cents and a Dream' is an inspiring tale of an individual who fled the then USSR to chase a dream whose seeds were sown by his grandfather. It was a dream to be in the land where dreams do come true - to be an American and make it big there. The saga begins from the year 1986 when the world witnessed its one of the most deadliest nuclear disasters at Chernobyl. At that time, ten years old Daniel was oblivious to what was in store for him and his family in a home in Kiev, Ukraine, just 78 miles from the nuclear plant. The poisonous radiations that spread in the environment killed more than 100,000 people including Daniel's beloved grandfather. The personal loss left him with a resolve that he would do all that his grandfather ever dreamt for his grandchild. Struggling against meager financial means, anti-Semitic fervour and Government oppression, secretly fleeing from the city seemed like the only option for the Daniel's family. 'With a lot of effort and drive and a little miracle, they escaped their dire situation in USSR, armed only with the hope of finding a better life in America'.
The struggle of this Ukrainian family which began with learning a 26 letters alphabet based language from a 33 letters one, did not end with this. Daniel fought with persistent hunger, bullying classmates and colleagues while working relentlessly under the shadow of golden arch at McDonald's. Mopping floors and cleaning toilets for two shifts in a day could do nothing to dampen his spirits. "To this day I see how important it is to be proud of the work you do, no matter if it’s scrubbing toilets or making multimillion dollar sales. I gave my all to everything I did." He grabbed the very first opportunity that came his way to rise higher and never looked back thereafter. His perseverance, ability to work harder than anybody else, determination and fire to achieve, made him a successful founder, president and CEO of Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group. He led his company to be among the Inc 500 list and to be one of the fastest growing companies in the United States.
'17 Cents and a Dream' is indeed a motivational manual for everybody and makes one introspect on one's own personal life and impediments. Daniel's story should make everyone question oneself - am I making the best use of my situation and how determined I am in surmounting the hurdles that come my way.
Thought it is a memoir yet it falls short on addressing the personal front. It is strange how the author has just skipped talking about the mother of his daughter completely. The personal touch that is supposed to be a mandatory aspect of any autobiography or a memoir is sorely missed in the narrative. After having read the book it felt like I just finished reading a long resume of an inspiring person who made it really big on the basis of his sheer determination and hard work. True to the title of the book, the author does talk about his American Dream only. But this half baked serving would surely leave many readers disappointed. Moreover being in the financial sector and precisely the arena where a lot has happened over these years, he does not talk about how the rough road impacted his line of business over this period.
Also, some un-addressed typographical errors have entered the narrative at a few places.