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The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

Date: Aug 15 2007

Themes: Family, Pop Culture, Work


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Some would say that in the world of huge corporations, the American dream of becoming wealthy through pure hard work is dead. But the fact is, anyone clever and charismatic, no matter how poor they are now, can become rich with enough effort. It takes patience and energy, but even someone didn’t go to college or didn’t finish high school can learn a profession and become successful at it.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Kevin:  So I just rented that film The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith and his kid. What did you think?

Amanda:  What a tear jerker.

Kevin:  It’s good.

Amanda:  So good. Single dad, working his ass off to become a stock broker even though he has no formal education. Raise his child. The coolest part about it, which not a lot of people know, is Will Smith’s son played his son.

Kevin:  That’s true and I thought he did a really good job. He’s young. He’s cute.

Amanda:  Yeah, I think it’s nice because if you have a child after, you don’t really have that natural chemistry of father and son. You try and portray it, but they didn’t even have to. That was a non-factor. They didn’t have to worry about that.

Kevin:  Absolutely. And I loved the whole rags to riches story, and pulling himself up by his bootstraps. I thought it was really well done.

Amanda:  And the fact that he did study that particular person, spent time with him and made a movie about his life. And, actually, that guy just sold his company and is doing well still to this day.



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Kevin just saw The Pursuit of Happiness, and he asks Amanda what she thought of it. She says it was a really emotional movie. It’s about a father who is raising a child by himself and works very hard to become a stock broker despite being uneducated.

As it turns out, the actors who play the father and son are father and son in real life. Amanda thinks this helped make the movie good because the actors didn’t merely have to pretend to love each other. Another thing she says helped make it a good movie was that Will Smith, the actor who played the father, spent a lot of time with the man story is based on.

Do you know any examples of real life rags to riches stories?



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Saudi Arabia

What a great movie..the best i’ve ever seen in years, yes.. u’ll be needing 2 boxes of keelenex ..(a real tear jerker)

08:00 AM Aug 15 2007 |



It’s really tear jerker.
To do this practicaly is very hard.

08:00 AM Aug 15 2007 |



well, I heard lot of stories related rags to riches, i tell you practically seen story by me. Yeah this story related to my uncles(my mother's brother) who were so poor as didn't afford their basic requirements, and at that time i was child normally 6 or 7 years old. The matter is that how they become rich. They had land(each brother 4 cannals), they started to made plot on their lands and then sold it, and bought new land from their earnings, and today they have millionare.

So to this procedure they became rags to riches.

what you say it's their hard work or luck?



07:51 AM Aug 15 2007 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

My cousin really is an example of rags to rich story;Althoug I still think he found a treasure …!

06:23 AM Aug 15 2007 |


Viet Nam

it’s good, but it’s difficult to understand some new words because i try to study a new word

04:15 AM Aug 15 2007 |



i've heard many that kind of stories, people go through from rags to riches by working hard and even not well educated.i think my boss maybe can also in count, but he did good educated but he got everything by his own, from nobody to someboday really a long way to go and pretty hard and he did it. i like this kind of stories but i dont think i would be one of them in the future even though i want but i'm not that kind of person with strong determination, i just want to do my good and enjoy everyday.

01:30 AM Aug 15 2007 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

According to Forbes, contrary to the popular belief, people who are rich inherited their wealth. Not many rich people were poor. There are always exceptions; However, it does not mean that we can be too optimistic! American dream exists only in the movies. We can of course improve our lives condition by studying and working hard, that will not make us millionaires though.

12:58 AM Aug 15 2007 |

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