In The $2 American Dream: How One Tunisian Immigrant Succeeded as an Entrepreneur and You Can Too, Riadh Hamdi shares his life story of coming to the United States with only two dollars in his pocket and new only one word in English, “job.” Despite those limitations, he set out to create an amazing new life for himself. In a time when Americans are forgetting we are a nation of immigrants, Riadh Hamdi reminds us that the American Dream not only works but is alive and well for those who have the courage to pursue it.
Far more than an autobiography, The $2 American Dream is also a positive, uplifting book about having courage and perseverance while also learning to put life’s adversities in perspective. Hamdi shares his personal story of how he found the courage to start life over in the United States, how he relied upon the kindness of strangers, how he did not let naysayers stop him, how he embraced opportunity-from his first job cleaning bathrooms to becoming a restaurant manager, a security guard, a fitness instructor, and finally, a business owner-and how he was wise enough to learn lessons from those around him to help him become a better person.
One of the things I loved most about this book was that Hamdi is not afraid to disclose his flaws. Several times he shows how his thinking was wrong and how someone else-his wife, his daughters, a coworker-showed him a better way that helped him to achieve more success or more happiness. Sometimes he also had to learn those lessons the hard way, through failure, frustration, and hard work. For example, Hamdi quickly discovered that being an entrepreneur required having many skills and learning how to manage your time well. When he opened his first juice bar, he thought he could sit back and let his employees do the work, but he soon learned that wasn’t the case and he became enmeshed in his business’s operations. The success he achieved led him to opening more juice bars until he owned seven, but then he realized he also needed to take more time for his family, so he sold two of them. Through trial and error, he found balance between work and play, serving customers and serving his family, and he experienced the satisfaction of a job well-done and having personal time.
Another wonderful thing about the book is the lyrical way that Hamdi writes-a way that makes his message sink into the reader’s head. For example:
“Every day, you have to get up to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Every day, you have to get up to make your voice heard. Every day, you have to get up to create smiles on other people’s faces. The reason I am in this world is not to chase money. It is to do good with the money I earn.
“I’m not here to take a job; I’m here to give a job. I am here not only to consume, but to produce. I’m here not only to take, but to share. I am not here to keep, but to help. I am not here to be the hero, but to create a hero. I am not here to give up, but to fight. And I am here not only to be understood, but to understand. Contributing to others is what inspired me to start my business and to keep it operating.”
The $2 American Dream is also full of the stories of others Hamdi has known who have succeeded, including his wife, who has been successful with a health product company through network marketing, his daughters, who though still in school have learned to be successful at gymnastics and in making the world a better place, and the stories of successful people like motivational speakers Les Brown and Tony Robbins. All of these stories will inspire readers to strive to achieve more goals, acquire more wisdom, share their talents, and ultimately, experience more joy and happiness in their lives.
The book is divided into twenty chapters, which cover such topics as determination, walking your talk, creating a positive mindset, being humble, and dreaming all day and not only at night. Each chapter includes powerful exercise questions that ask readers to reflect upon what they just read and then determine how they can apply what they’ve learned to their lives so they can also achieve their own personal versions of the American Dream.
I can’t say enough good about this book or about Riadh Hamdi. His words are full of sincerity and a strong desire to make the world a better place for all of us. He has learned to be a model citizen-a good father, husband, employee, and boss-who gives back to his community because he is grateful for all he has received in America, and also because he had the determination to build the life of his dreams for himself. Too often, we forget how lucky we Americans are.
Riadh breathes new life into our country at a time when we most need it, reminding us of why our immigrant ancestors came here and that their goals and dreams are still there for us to achieve, enjoy, and celebrate today.