Life Lessons From Chris Gardner

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: All this week, we're doing inconvenient segments taking a look at real solutions to some of the world's biggest problems from "An Inconvenient Book," now available in paperback.

There is a chapter in my book on the cycle of poverty. And it is one of the biggest problems that our country is facing. I talk about it, but a guy who really knows about it and really knows how to overcome it is my next guest, Chris Gardner.

He's a motivational speaker. He's a businessman, author of a great new book, "Start Where You Are." How are you, sir? And I might add, a good friend.

How are you?


Video: Watch Beck's interview

BECK: Good to see you. So before we get to your book, I just want to say — OK. Did you see the wedding segment?


BECK: OK. Here is the groom. And then, there was this one that also came out. Is that just like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes?

GARDNER: Glenn, put them away.

BECK: Why is this disturbing?

GARDNER: Put those away.

BECK: All right. OK. "Start Where You Are" — what is the meaning of that?

GARDNER: A couple of things, very quickly, if I can. Number one, we talk about in the book life lessons that I have learned, lessons that I got from other people that inspired me, such as find your button. What is the one thing that turns you on to the point that the sun can't up soon enough because you want to go and do your thing?

BECK: What happens if you suck? What happens if that's just something that —

GARDNER: Well, I guess that's something that — step two.


GARDNER: Plan B sucks. There is no plan B. When you're doing something you're truly passionate about, there is no plan B.

Number three - well, some folks will talk about - you've got to have something to fall back on. We all have something to fall back on already. It's called a butt, OK? When you have fallen back on your butt, one of the things you have to ask yourself sometimes, Glenn, is how did I get here?

This is the part of the book that a lot of folks might not feel comfortable with. The truth of the matter is, sometimes we have to say, "I drove here," meaning I have some responsibility in the circumstances and conditions that are now my life.

BECK: You know, you — I know you're worried about the country just as much as I am.

GARDNER: I am. Absolutely.

BECK: And the things that we're doing, because we're not doing that. We're not asking, "Hey, guys how did we get here?" We're just trying to save. All we're trying to do is just swoop in, protect everything instead of saying, "Wait, wait, wait, wait. What caused all of this? And done a real self-examination. Agree or disagree?

GARDNER: I totally agree, because that gets us right into step number four. You're on your butt. You've accepted that you have something to do with where you are. The next step is - you and I talked about this many times. The cavalry isn't coming. There is no backup.

BECK: Hang on. Hang on. I've got a break. I want to you hear the rest of this. In case you don't know who Chris Gardner is, he is the guy that was in "Pursuit of Happyness." Will Smith played him in "Pursuit of Happyness."

For more in breaking the poverty cycle, read chapter 20, "Poverty Prozac." Why are we promoting my book? We need to promote his book. "Start Where You Are," Chris Gardner. Read this book. There is nobody to tell you a better way to get out than a guy who was at the very bottom and never gave up.

Trivia time. Guess why Chris Gardner spelled "happyness" with a Y in the title of his first bestseller-turned-blockbuster-movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness." Send your answer with your name, mailing address and phone number right now to First person to get the answer right wins a copy of Chris' new book, "Start Where You Are," and the paperback edition of — geez, we can't stop with my book — "An Inconvenient Book." Out now.

More with Chris Gardner, next.


BECK: Before we went into the break, we had to play a trivia game. Can you guess why Chris Gardner spelled happiness with a Y in the title of his first bestseller-turned-blockbuster-movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness."

Brad Mills from Foley, Alabama got the answer right. What is the right answer?

GARDNER: The right answer is the Y is there to talk about you and your happiness. It is going to be a different definition for everyone that you talk to. That's why we left the Y.

BECK: Let me — you know, I think — do you think the world is about to change? I think we're headed for a paradigm change where we're facing almost a change as big as maybe the industrial revolution. Things are going to change, and we've just got to let go and embrace the change. Learn from the mistakes of the past and let go and adapt to the change.

GARDNER: I think a lot of us have, and especially, I will tell you who has had to, is working folks. A lot of folks have had to learn, no disrespect to anybody, but the company that you work for really doesn't care about you, all right? They've got their interests first, and you are a cog that can be replaced.

And a lot of us have had to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that — you know what? It's changed forever. And if this is going to be the way of the new world, perhaps I need to be a lot more involved in what I'm doing with my time and my life.

BECK: How do you do it? If you're sitting there — I mean, I have friends who have lost absolutely everything. And now, question — gee, I don't even know what I know anymore. To me, that's a good step, but I can't convince them that that is good.

GARDNER: That is a very good step because this is also — Glenn, could be a time for a lot of us to be asking ourselves the big questions. What's important to me? What will I not compromise on? Do my children know me?

You know what? I had a guy say to me — one of the biggest money managers in the world say to me not too long ago, "I wonder if my wife loves me." She signed up for the house in Greenwich, summers in the Hamptons, the private flights to Aspen, and now he's got to tell her she's got to take the train to the city.

I'm like, "Dude, the first thing you've got to do is get a new wife."

BECK: You're going to be - where is it?

GARDNER: Barnes and Noble, 82nd and Broadway. We're kicking this thing off tonight.

BECK: OK. Tonight —

GARDNER: Yes, sir — 7 o'clock, as soon as I leave here.

BECK: Yes. If you're anywhere in the New York area, you've got to meet Chris. He's a great guy. And there is a few people you can look into somebody's eyes and you know them immediately.

He will be signing copies of his new book, "Start Where You Are," at 7 p.m. tonight, Barnes and Noble, Manhattan, 82nd and Broadway — if you're in the New York area.

GARDNER: Hey, brother —

BECK: Best of luck.

GARDNER: Thank you, sir.

BECK: Thank you, sir.

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