1. How did you come up with the title?
I really wanted something that would capture what it was all about for me. I literally came to this country with just 17 cents in my pocket that's it. I had nothing else but that and a dream and a hope that somehow we'd make it; somehow all those naysayers who told me I'd never amount to anything would be wrong. Looking back it was crazy but sometimes that's all you have; just a dream.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I really hope they walk away from reading it feeling inspired that no matter what they're going through, they can pull through it. It doesn't matter what anyone says they can or can't do, they can rise above it all and make their dreams happen. There were times when my body was aching from sweeps those floors at McDonald's when I wanted to shut down and cry because so many people were making fun of me, the fact that I smelled like French fry grease, the fact I could hardly speak any English, the fact that nobody else believed in me but something kept me going. I hope this book can be that extra bump in someone's spirit to encourage them to keep going.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
99% of it. I had to add dialogue to it so that people understood what was going on and although it was written verbatim of what they said, I hope it captured the essence of what happened. It was a hard journey but it paid off in the end.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
A writer is never finished with his or her book. I'm sure there are things I'll think about 20 years from now that I'll wish I'd added but all and all, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think one of the hardest parts was going back to the painful memories. The times when people wanted to kill us because we were Jewish. The times when we had to escape from the country without anybody knowing what we were doing. Chernobyl was horrific for me as a boy, seeing my grandfather, the one that gave us hope that we could somehow make our life better and move to America pass away from sickness related to the Chernobyl explosion was painful to write about. But I hope that it really helps people think that if they are going through any difficult times, they can pull through it.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yeah, I learned how much discipline it takes. Writing my first book, which was a nonfiction book about sales, was nothing compared to writing my own memoir. To write what happened to you and at the same time write it in such a way that will be interesting the reader is not easy. My hat is off to anyone who does this every day. Everyone says they'd love to write a book but I don't if they realize how much work it takes to get it done.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It was something that's always been in the back of my mind but I'm so busy running my company, managing 500 employees and raising my kids is not easy. But if I can find the time to write, then I think anybody can if they really want to. I wasn't the strongest reader growing up, I wasn't all that great at school either but with enough passion and help from those that support you, anything is possible.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
One of my favorites actually is Donald Trump of all people. I know he's not known for his books, he's more known as the billionaire tycoon but there's something about how he tells it how it is that I really admire.
9. Tell us your latest news.
I'm really excited about the release of my memoir 17 Cents and A Dream. We're getting some amazing feedback from readers and it really feels great to know all the hard work of putting the book together is paying off. When I hear that people were touched by my story or that they laughed or cried reading it, it really warms my heart.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want them to know whatever you might be going through, no matter what anyone might say to you, you have to keep moving forward with your dreams, you have to keep pushing, even if all you have literally is 17 cents and dream.
About the Book
Daniel Milstein, founder, president, and CEO of Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group, described his recipe for business success in his international bestseller ABC of Sales: Lessons from a Superstar (Gold Star Publishing, 2011). Now, on a more personal level, Milstein–who has been recognized as the number one mortgage originator in the U.S.–describes his personal path to success in a new memoir, 17 Cents and a Dream: My Incredible Journey from the USSR 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, and cruel mistreatment while working long hours mopping floors and cleaning toilets.
“The never-ending sense of hunger in the pit of my stomach,” he writes, “became a part of me and manifested into the drive to do more, to be more, so my family could eat without worry.”
That hunger, plus the work ethic instilled in him by his grandfather, fueled Milstein’s determination; after graduating from college, he worked for various financial institutions and was consistently promoted because of his strong work ethic.
But perhaps most inspiring is Milstein’s courage and sheer willpower 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 multimillion-dollar company, Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group.
17 Cents and a Dream: My Incredible Journey from the USSR to Living the American Dream is both a dramatic autobiography of a true American success story, and a manual for anyone who dreams of becoming successful in today’s competitive world of finance and sales.
Prices/Formats: $0.99 ebook
Publisher: Gold Star Books
Release Date: January 5, 2013
Buy Links: Kindle
About the Author
DANIEL MILSTEIN is founder, president and CEO of Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group. He has been recognized as the #1 loan officer in the United States; has achieved more than $3 billion in personal mortgage originations; and is one of the top 40 finance professionals in the nation, ranked by National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Milstein led the company to the Inc 500 list and one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Gold Star has over 500 employees in 43 offices across the U.S. and has been named a Top Workplace in Michigan for three years by the Detroit Free Press. Milstein holds an honorary doctorate and BBA in business management from Cleary University, Ann Arbor, from which he graduated with honors. He is the author of The ABC of Sales: Lessons from a Superstar, which in March 2012 sold 10,000 copies and became the #1 sales book on Amazon.com and the thirty-first top seller of all ebook sales.
Links to Connect with Daniel:
Tribute Books Blog Tours
Put our promotional experience to work for your book.