Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story

Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story

by Nikki Haley

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From the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, an inspirational memoir of family, hope, and the power of the American Dream.


Decades before their daughter surprised the nation by becoming governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley's parents had a dream. Ajit and Raj Randhawa were well-educated, well-off Sikhs in the Punjab region of India. But despite their high social status, the Randhawas wanted more for their family-the opportunities that only America could offer.

So they left behind all they had known and settled in Bamberg, South Carolina (population: 2,500). As the first Indian family in a small Southern town in the early 1970s, the Randhawas faced ignorance, prejudice, and sometimes blatant hostility. Nikki remembers stopping at a roadside produce stand with her father, who always wore his traditional Sikh turban. Within minutes, two police cars pulled to make sure they weren't thieves.

But the Randhawas taught their children that they should never think of themselves as victims. They stressed that if you work hard and stay true to yourself, you can overcome any obstacle. The key is believing that can't is not an option.

The family struggled to make ends meet while starting a clothing business in their living room, eventually growing it into a multimillion- dollar success. At age twelve, Nikki started to do the bookkeeping and taxes after school. After graduating from college and entering the business world, she watched business owners like her parents battle government bureaucracy and overregulation.

Her frustration inspired her to get into politics and run for the state legislature. That first campaign, against an entrenched incumbent, led to racial and religious slurs and threats-but Haley, like her parents, refused to back down. She won on a promise to fight for reform, lean budgets, and government accountability, which is exactly what she did-much to the dismay of South Carolina's old guard politicians.

Soon she had a reputation as a conservative leader who could get things done. In the same state where her family was once ridiculed, she inspired a diverse grassroots following. In November 2010 she was elected South Carolina's first female governor and first nonwhite governor, and only the second Indian American governor in the country.

Haley's story, as told firsthand in this inspiring memoir, is a testament to the power of determination, faith, and family. And it's proof that the American Dream is still strong and true in the twenty- first century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101568866
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2012
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 55,309
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nikki Haley served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2019. She was previously elected Governor of South Carolina in 2010 and served through 2017. She and her husband, Michael, have two children.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Bamberg 1

Chapter 2 Business School 21

Chapter 3 Nikki Who? 39

Chapter 4 The Good Old Boys' Club 59

Chapter 5 Are They Ready? 77

Chapter 6 The Sanford Implosion 87

Chapter 7 Underdog 99

Chapter 8 Turning Points 119

Chapter 9 The Palin Effect 135

Chapter 10 Blood Sport 145

Chapter 11 Mandate 165

Chapter 12 Transition 183

Chapter 13 The First 250 Days 199

Chapter 14 Going Through the Burn 225

Acknowledgments 239

Notes 241

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Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is not a "great day in South Carolina" despite the mandate handed down by Haley that all state agencies answer their calls with this phrase. Saying it doesn't make it so govenor! Don't waste your time on this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely encouraging and hopeful read. Down to earth and inspiring. Absolutely hopeful and encouraging read. Inspiring and down to earth. Genuine.
HistReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I gave this book 4.5 stars primarily because it was a story which kept me reading to the end, in just a few short hours I was able to follow Governor Haley's interesting life. I knocked off only half a star because it was boilerplate in the respect that a politician spends most of their memoir recounting their political triumphs. Not to take those away from them, but I am more interesting in their life story, especially a story like hers. She learned to deal with adversity and it made her a stronger person; she was neither white nor black and found her way through childhood better for it. Gov. Haley also learned the struggles of small business owners and those shackled by goverment regulations.In short, her personal story was inspiring; the book's format was standard fare.
NikkiHaley2020 More than 1 year ago
This powerful, inspiring book only reinstates what Americans already know. Nikki Haley is the most admirable Woman in the world. She is the pinnacle of Beauty, Intelligence and Success, and is who all women aspire to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book What A Beauitful Lady
Belle44 More than 1 year ago
This is the thoroughly engrossing story of Gov. Haley's life to date. It not only gives insight into her personal and political life, but gives a glimpse of the workings, good and bad, of the political scene in South Carolina. I highly recommend to to all, but especially South Carolina residents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Theedg More than 1 year ago
Nikki is great. Her story is the American dream. Fast read.
readingsince3RS More than 1 year ago
I read the first Chapter, told my wife she MUST read it. She is and will not let me have it until she finishes. She is a computer geek and reads paper pages more slowly than I....working my way through my "stand-by" collection. Should have ordered two copies and gifted hers when she finised. I break bindings fold pages, notate and lovingly abuse all my books so that no one will ever want them to sell. This book will be unreadable after I highlite, underline, circle and notate....
skyeVT More than 1 year ago
This was good reading. She has a backbone of steel !!
wygrandmareader More than 1 year ago
Very interesting story by a very incredible family. Well written and fascinating.
shbb More than 1 year ago
I am enjoying reading this book. It is an enlightening book about politics in the South, someone who is a minority and a newcomer to politics. Her story and attitude are truly amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very poorly written and unbelievable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"cant is not an option" is a very inspiring memoir. gov haley at age 12 kept the books in her parents store and went on to bussiness school and went on to become one of south carolinas leading governors as well as one of the youngest one to serve in office so far. she is an amazing lady and I was impressed with her leadership skills in dealing with tough situations in not wanting to back down and always wanting to take the high road has alot of principles for every day life.