17 Cents & A Dream

17 Cents & A Dream

by Daniel Milstein


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17 Cents & A Dream by Daniel Milstein

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983552741
Publisher: Gold Star Publishing
Publication date: 03/25/2013
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.42(d)

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17 Cents & A Dream 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Tara Fairfield for Readers' Favorite Daniel Milstein shares the incredible story of his harrowing escape from Russia with his family while just a teenager. With only a suitcase and some change in his pocket he transformed his life from poverty to success. Most of us cannot comprehend the oppression he endured, yet his courage and determination will inspire many. In this book he relates his trials as a young immigrant who believed in the American dream. Facing torment, bullying and discrimination only strengthened his desire for success, and succeed he did! From a one room apartment with only bananas for dinner to building his own successful company, Daniel never forgets the lessons he learned growing up under the mantle of oppression. "17 Cents and a Dream" is a rags to riches story which will encourage and inspire you! If you ever thought the obstacles in your life could not be overcome, this book will remind you of the power of determination and hard work. Daniel channeled his hardships and disappointments into something positive. He focused on building something, instead of succumbing to despair. Even in the face of fear and humiliation, he persevered, refusing to accept defeat. His journey reminds us all not to settle and not to give up on our dreams. In a society focused on entitlement, Daniel demonstrates the values our country was founded on: hard work, independence, determination; the true American Dream! Don't miss this amazing story!
charles-weinblatt More than 1 year ago
“Inspirational and motivating; Mr. Milstein escapes hardships and prejudice to accomplish a contemporary rags-to-riches story.” In his memoir, 17 Cents and a Dream: My Incredible Journey from the USSR to Living the American Dream, Daniel Milstein proffers this memoir about being a Jew in the Soviet Union of the 1980s to transforming himself into an American business icon. Mr. Milstein enters America with a grand total of 17 cents in his pocket. Through intense personal effort, diligence, and motivation, he becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams. Daniel Milstein was born into a close-knit Jewish family in Kiev in 1975. Less than 35 years earlier, Nazi Germany and their Einsatzgruppen murdered more than 40,000 innocent Jewish men, women and children in a trench near Kiev, called Babi Yar. As an adolescent, Daniel experiences the tragedy of the Chernobyl disaster. His beloved grandfather, a renowned physician, perishes from treating radioactive patients near the disaster site. Daniel’s family is very close, supported by parents and grandparents who suffered anti-Semitic pogroms and who had the courage to flee to America in the hope of a better life. This inspirational story reflects the difficulty of life for a Jewish family in the Soviet Union. In discarding their former lives and immigrating to The United States, the family faces significant personal risk. As the family was moving, the Soviet Union collapsed. They barely survive the intrigue associated with anyone who left the Soviet state, especially those escaping to America. Arriving in Detroit and making the short pilgrimage to Ann Arbor, the family starts over in a strange land with a different language and diverse customs. Daniel has to learn to speak English while he simultaneously becomes the victim of high school bullying. His family barely scrapes by on by food stamps and bolstered by their will to succeed. Daniel eventually obtains employment at McDonald’s, where he cleans toilets and takes orders for minimum wage. We feel Daniel’s hunger as his family is barely able to afford grocery items such as bananas. Yet Daniel never loses his sense of purpose or his motivation to succeed. Eventually, Daniel graduates from Cleary University in Ann Arbor and is hired by a Michigan bank. From there his career swiftly moves to ever more responsible positions. In 2000 Mr. Milstein creates Gold Star Financial. In 2010, Gold Star closes at $385 million. In 2011, Milstein self publishes The ABC of Sales: Lessons from a Superstar. Eventually, the author becomes far more than his adolescent dreams: an icon in the United States financial sector. Decades later, with his beloved daughter in tow, Daniel returns to the same McDonald’s franchise in Michigan that offered him employment as an adolescent. Daniel purchases a meal for himself and his daughter from the same man who owned the franchise so many years earlier. Ironically, when he pays for the food, Daniel receives change of exactly 17 cents, the same amount in his pocket when he and his family arrived from Russia. Life has come full circle. This inspirational story reveals how the power of determination and the conviction of hard work and the success that can follow. The perspective of a Jewish teenager from the Soviet Union is unique and vibrant. Extremely well developed, well-written, and evocative 17 Cents and a Dream is delivered with vivid and animated metaphors and expressive imagery. An early and solid depth of character development and passion pushes the reader to continue as its narrator becomes a captivating and powerful personality, far beyond his years in terms of insight, maturity, and motivation. The reader can clearly feel the author’s compassion for family—especially his daughter. Through the years, this enthusiasm for life and will to succeed turn the protagonist into a real life Horatio Alger. Reviewer Charles S. Weinblatt is the author of Jacob's Courage: A Holocaust Love Story (Mazo Publishers 2007).