Can't Is Not an Option by Nikki Haley
My American Story

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Her memoir, “Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story,” is inspiring....
-Washington Times


A rising star in the Republican Party shares her 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.


About Nikki Haley

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Nikki Haley was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly in 2004 and reelected in 2006 and 2008. She was elected governor in 2010. She and her husband, Michael, an officer in the South Carolina National Guard, have two young children.
Published April 3, 2012 by Sentinel. 255 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Can't Is Not an Option
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2


Below average
Jan 01 2012

There’s scarcely a moment that approaches originality in these pages. Every note seems scripted, including her protestations that it’s Washington that keeps her from doing her job: Obama bad, Reagan good, etc.

Read Full Review of Can't Is Not an Option: My A... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
Dec 19 2012

Haley's book details her impressive progress, but unfortunately reflects today's political practice of hurling criticism at one's opponents early and often.

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Washington Times

Reviewed by Lauren Weiner on Apr 02 2012

Her memoir, “Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story,” is inspiring....

Read Full Review of Can't Is Not an Option: My A... | See more reviews from Washington Times

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