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17 Cents & a Dream: My Incredible Journey…

17 Cents & a Dream: My Incredible Journey from the USSR to Living the…

by Daniel Milstein

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Interesting story of a Russian immigrant ( )
  winecat | Nov 16, 2013 |
I received a copy of 17 Cents and a Dream through the First Reads program.

This is a simple yet uplifting book. Milstein surprisingly skips a lot of autobiographical details, which is odd for a memoir, and focuses primarily on his message of inspiration. If you're looking for a straight memoir, you'll be disappointed.

It's sappy at times, but even as someone who tends to cringe at that, I still enjoyed it. It's hard not to root for Milstein. It's worth a read, but don't expect it to blow you away. ( )
  JAshleyOdell | Jul 26, 2013 |
The book was easy-to-read and the story was generally interesting. I found the writing to be, at some times, halting and several sentences had grammatical errors, but, in general, the book was good. ( )
  eheinlen | Mar 11, 2013 |
Having worked hard to overcome the challenges of coming from abroad and facing the seemingly unsurmountable challenges of a radically different culture, I find it easy to appreciate the hunger for success, and the incredible drive it takes to achieve it in spite of all the difficulties you find at each step of the way. "Everything was different; the food, the clothing, and even the 33 letters of the alphabet I was used to." But as hinted by the title, 17 Cents and a Dream, this book presents much more than the author's advice as the No. 1 mortgage loan officer in the world to "work smart and aim high"; and much more than a self-serving description of his struggle to the top.

At its core, this book frames Daniel Milstein's life as a link in a three-generation chain, coming full circle with the past. It is about the preparation for his life journey, which Daniel Milstein received from his hero, his grandfather who died from radiation poisoning after the Chernobyl accident in the USSR, Dr. Joseph Khiterer. This preparation set a dream before the author's eyes, and braced him with sheer grit to reach for it. At the same time it is about dedicating his journey to his daughter Julie, whom he lovingly describes as a girl with chocolate eyes, and with a scent of candy, soap, and innocence that warms his heart.

On the day he left the USSR as a youth, Daniel Milstein had in his pocket the sum of seventeen cents that a friend had given him for postage to mail a letter back. By holding to that 'fortune' he was taking a risk. If caught, he could have faced serious repercussions. When it was his turn to undergo the inspection, the seventeen cents jingled just slightly as the officer patted him down. The officer paused--but then let Daniel and his family board the plane.

By the end of the narration, the author finds himself placing an order at the MacDonald's cash register, a place all too familiar to him for having mopped the floors there so many years ago. It is there that he is faced with a familiar face: Roger, his boss at that establishment, who stayed stuck in that position while Daniel climbed on to success. It is when Roger hands the change, that the amount becomes symbolic of the journey.
Seventeen Cents.

This is an uplifting book that offers inspiration. Some minor editing is needed (such as the use of 'me' and myself' instead of 'I' in a couple of places.) ( )
  Uvi_Poznansky | Jan 21, 2013 |
Showing 4 of 4
quite a read short but interesting arags to riches story with a few twists taht make you go "wasnt I there once"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0983552746, Paperback)

Mark Victor Hansen, bestselling author of Chicken Soup for the Soul says this about 17 Cents and a Dream: "Through pure determination, fortitude and attitude, Daniel pulled out of impossibly difficult situations. His story is true, his story is a personal inspiration to me and I hope it will inspire you too to maximize your potential and go for the greatest of dreams."

On a cold December night in 1991, a young boy with seventeen cents in his pocket first set foot in the United States. Twenty years later that young man found himself the founder and CEO of a billion-dollar corporation. Daniel Milstein's harrowing story about how his mother, father and brother escaped the oppressive government of the U.S.S.R and immigrated to the United States and carved out a life for themselves has been described as the quintessential immigrant story of the era.

Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Daniel and his family experienced undue hardship, religious persecution and life-and-death situations all in the shadows of the greatest nuclear accident that ever occurred; the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown which killed more than 100,000 people including his grandfather. Now, as an Inc 500 CEO, Daniel has just finished a new book detailing his story; 17 Cents and a Dream: My Incredible Journey from the U.S.S.R. to Living the American Dream.  

 17 Cents and a Dream begins with a candid, gripping account of the Milstein family's tough life in Kiev, Ukraine under the oppressive government of the former Soviet Union. He recalls how he and his family were affected by the 1986 explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant: Daniel was ten years old, and the disaster took place only 78 miles from their home, killing 100,000 people and spreading poisonous radiation throughout the environment.

A few years later the family, struggling against poverty, government oppression, and anti-Semitism, made a secret plan to flee to America. After a narrow escape, the family arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan with no understanding of English and few belongings. Young Daniel had only seventeen cents in his pocket, given to him by a friend to cover the expense of a postage stamp so that Daniel could send him a letter.

In the ensuing years, Daniel endured extreme poverty, endless hunger, relentless bullying from his new classmates all while working long hours mopping floors and cleaning restrooms at a McDonald's. "None of this came easy.... In school after working my morning shift at McDonald's, I was painfully aware that I smelled like a quarter pounder with cheese.... I was always tired, but I was also proud that I was able to take care of my family and to make something of myself, to honor the wishes of my grandfather."

Milstein's work ethic and relentless determination fueled his success. After graduating from college, he worked for various financial institutions and was consistently promoted. Milstein's courage and sheer willpower continued to drive him as he began to build upon his success in the world of finance, working harder and longer than anyone else, until eventually opening and growing his own billion-dollar company, Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:20 -0400)

The author's real-life rags to riches story of coming to the US with only pennies in his pocket and becoming a wildly successful businessman.

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