“It Takes Moxie”: The Climb from Humble Beginnings to Achieving the American Dream

Jamei June January 17, 2013 0

    Most of the time titles make it hard for the audience to get an accurate idea of what they will be taking away after reading a book. Not being able to judge a book by its cover is proven incorrect when reading the title of Maureen Francisco’s “It Takes Moxie: Off the Boat or Out of School To Make Your Way In America.”  This headline directly and sincerely states exactly how the audience will be influenced and enlightened.  Using stories from successful immigrants, including herself, Francisco encourages her readers to obtain “moxie,” the quality that everyone needs to find success in America. She brings her own life success story, while revealing her disadvantages and hardships.   Immigrating from the Philippines at 5 with the new language and culture being a huge barriers, she shares how her abiding ambitions and persistence created her destiny. Francisco achieved her dreams of not only becoming a TV reporter but a reality TV star in Fox’s “Solitary 3.0.” Struggling financially through college and  as an up-and-coming reporter, Francisco shares how she became empowered by making mindful money choices. A whole chapter, “The Value of Money,” is dedicated to finances. Francisco explains obtaining the American dream comes at a cost, and much of her adventure was paid with credit cards. In turn, she had to work hard, save and play later in order to overcome debt.

Much of the book has immigrant influence and guidance for someone just “getting off the boat.” Sections of the book such as “Don’t Skip Those English Classes” and “Don’t Lose Your Native Tongue” strike a balance between advising to invest in perfecting English skills, while holding pride in their first language and utilizing it to be competitive in the workforce.   “I see that the economy in this country is declining, yet there are certain people who are still achieving their American Dream: immigrants, children of immigrants, or people who come from humble beginnings,” says Maureen. “They all have something in common: positive attitude.”     Reviewer Kate Hebert, a professional who advises doctors,  noted: “It is a great read to learn the road to success in a foreign environment.”   Being “foreign” can have a broader definition. For example, switching careers from being an engineer at Boeing to managing the National Basketball Association (NBA) would mean —  regardless of your race or ethnicity — a professional would be alien to the new business. Francisco’s book explains easier transitions and how to network if someone has a similar dream. She includes a story of a particular man who did just that. Richard Cho was an engineer for Boeing but knew it was not his true calling. He loved sports and that he was destined to be involved in the sports industry, even though it meant going back to school for law. Cho made a life changing decision to quit his job, move to California, sleep on the ground in his brother’s apartment and slowly work his way up after getting work experience with the Sonics. He ended up making history as the first sports franchise Asian American general manager.   What drove him? Cho says, “Life is too short not to do something you love.”   The book also features interviews with Dr. Connie Mariano, the White House doctor, Amy Chua, author of the New York Times Best Seller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and Seattle-based Julie Pham, editor of Vietnamese newspaper, Nguio Viet Tay Bac.   “Through the lives of others, I want to share the challenges and triumphs that they faced and that we’re all faced with…obstacles and adversities in life.” Francisco says. “It Takes Moxie” is a great read for anyone who is going through a challenge, career-related or not. Anything that takes courage, determination, and most of all, “moxie.”

Meet author Maureen Francisco at her official “It Takes Moxie” book launch party on Saturday, January 19,  sponsored by Ascend, a national nonprofit professional organization that nurtures pan-Asian American leadership. Details: www.ascendleadership.org/events.

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