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.
Mark Victor Hansen, bestselling author of 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' says this about "17 Cents and a 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."