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Will

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One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had. Will Smith’s transformation from a fearful child in a tense West Philadelphia home to one of the biggest rap stars of his era and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, with a string of box office successes that will likely never be broken, is an epic tale of inner transformation and outer triumph, and Will tells it astonishingly well. But it's only half the story. Will Smith thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn't see it that way: they felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn't signed up for. It turned out Will Smith's education wasn't nearly over. This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. Written with the help of Mark Manson, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one person mastered his own emotions, written in a way that can help everyone else do the same. Few of us will know the pressure of performing on the world's biggest stages for the highest of stakes, but we can all understand that the fuel that works for one stage of our journey might have to be changed if we want to make it all the way home. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself. “It’s easy to maneuver the material world once you have conquered your own mind. I believe that. Once you've learned the terrain of your own mind, every experience, every emotion, every circumstance, whether positive or negative, simply propels you forward, to greater growth and greater experience. That is true will. To move forward in spite of anything. And to move forward in a way that brings others with you, rather than leave them behind.” —Will Smith


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One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had. Will Smith’s transformation from a fearful child in a tense West Philadelphia home to one of the biggest rap stars of his era and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, with a string of box office successes that will likely never be broken, is an epic tale of inner transformation and outer triumph, and Will tells it astonishingly well. But it's only half the story. Will Smith thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn't see it that way: they felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn't signed up for. It turned out Will Smith's education wasn't nearly over. This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. Written with the help of Mark Manson, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one person mastered his own emotions, written in a way that can help everyone else do the same. Few of us will know the pressure of performing on the world's biggest stages for the highest of stakes, but we can all understand that the fuel that works for one stage of our journey might have to be changed if we want to make it all the way home. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself. “It’s easy to maneuver the material world once you have conquered your own mind. I believe that. Once you've learned the terrain of your own mind, every experience, every emotion, every circumstance, whether positive or negative, simply propels you forward, to greater growth and greater experience. That is true will. To move forward in spite of anything. And to move forward in a way that brings others with you, rather than leave them behind.” —Will Smith

30 review for Will

  1. 5 out of 5

    Silas

    Dear Will, Jada was right, it wasn’t funny. All the best, Silas.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Monica **can't read fast enough**

    I was able to binge listen to the Will Smith memoir and I enjoyed every minute! I pre-ordered the physical book but I also got access to the audio book from Penguin Random House Audio and I am so glad! If you can, I HIGHLY recommend listening to this one. Will narrating it himself makes it wonderful but the addition of music and other audio clips makes this one of the most entertaining audio books that I have experienced. Will reading his own story plays directly into his strengths as a storytel I was able to binge listen to the Will Smith memoir and I enjoyed every minute! I pre-ordered the physical book but I also got access to the audio book from Penguin Random House Audio and I am so glad! If you can, I HIGHLY recommend listening to this one. Will narrating it himself makes it wonderful but the addition of music and other audio clips makes this one of the most entertaining audio books that I have experienced. Will reading his own story plays directly into his strengths as a storyteller and entertainer that added emotion and impact to his anecdotes. Is Will Smith a bit self aggrandizing and sometimes comes off a bit boastful? Yes, but witnessing a Black man recognizing and being proud of the amazing things that he has been able to do just does not bother me at all. Smith is self assured and a little boastful in that he knows that many of the things he accomplished were groundbreaking, but he always acknowledges that he in no way got to where is alone or even solely on his own merits. His personal growth and challenges have been interesting to hear from his perspective. I'll have a bit of an audio book hangover now that it's done. I will at some point either listen to it again or read the physical book because there are several things that I wanted to tab and didn't. ***I received an ALC from the publisher.*** Where you can find me: •(♥).•*Monica Is Reading*•.(♥)• Twitter: @monicaisreading Instagram: @readermonica Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase

  3. 4 out of 5

    Swaroop

    [Circle Of Life, "The Lion King" (c) Walt Disney Pictures.) "YOU and NOW are a unique occurrence, of which you are the most reliable measure of all the possibilities." *** > Memoir is a literary genre, and it is a recollection and narration of the writer`s personal life and memories. Hence, the contents and statements made are nonfiction and considered to be truthful. > A personal thought - A critic, a reviewer or even a reader can comment or criticize the format or the way in which the memories [Circle Of Life, "The Lion King" (c) Walt Disney Pictures.) "YOU and NOW are a unique occurrence, of which you are the most reliable measure of all the possibilities." *** > Memoir is a literary genre, and it is a recollection and narration of the writer`s personal life and memories. Hence, the contents and statements made are nonfiction and considered to be truthful. > A personal thought - A critic, a reviewer or even a reader can comment or criticize the format or the way in which the memories have been conveyed or presented, but they should never question the life of the person or their life events. > When someone picks up to read a book like Will, it is, usually, very clear that this book is a memoir/autobiography. A memoir will always be about self. Even if the book is written by an austere and selfless monk from the Himalayas, the contents will still be about self, and thus they would be sound selfish, self-centred and egotistical. So, what should we call a person who after reading a memoir like Will calls the writer a boastful person, a bragger and an as*h**e!? > A memoir is not a self-help book. *** “I was raised to believe that I am inherently equipped to handle any problems that may arise in my life, racism included.” And it dawned on me, If I don’t want to be with me, why the f**k would anybody else wanna be with me? Overall, Will is an honest and engaging memoir. So real and raw. And then, the memoir is a wee bit of everything - inspiring, frustrating, uplifting, heartbreaking, fun, heartwarming, eye-opening, interesting, entertaining, hopeful, emotional, and much much more! There is something everyone can get out of this book. It would have been more fun to have an understanding and liking of rap music, as much of the content in this part of Smith`s life was just going over the head - no understanding of hip-hop or the artists! However, the writing is very engaging, so being a fan of rap music is not a prerequisite to reading this book. It was heartening to see Will Smith mentioning books as being of big help and guidance in his life. He mentions reading a ton of books, including the following: -Paulo Coelho`s The Alchemist; -Joseph Campbell`s The Hero with a Thousand Faces; -Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart.; -The Autobiography of Malcolm X; -Bhagavad Gītā As It Is; -The Road Less Traveled; -Don Quixote; -The Untethered Soul; -Teachings of the Buddha; -The Odyssey; -Moby-Dick; -How to Win Friends and Influence People; -The 5 Love Languages; -As a Man Thinketh; -Oneness; -Zen in the Art of Archery; -Plato’s Republic; -The Way of the Superior Man; -Iron John; -Aspire; -I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; -The Power Path; -Man’s Search for Meaning; -Chödrön’s How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind. Books on death: -On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross; -The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche; -Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom; -The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. *From the notes: “There is no wall. There are only bricks. Your job is to lay this brick perfectly. Then move on to the next brick. Then lay that brick perfectly. Then the next one. Don’t be worrying about no wall. Your only concern is one brick.” ========== “Because if two people are in charge, everybody dies! So, if you`re in charge, let me know because I will defer to your leadership!” ========== Internal power and confidence are born of insight and proficiency. When you understand something, or you’re good at something, you feel strong, and it makes you feel like you have something to offer. ========== Hope sustains life. Hope is the elixir of survival during our darkest times. ========== “Jus’ remember, Lover Boy,” she said, “be nice to everybody you pass on your way up, coz you just might have to pass them again on your way down.” ========== Living is the journey from not knowing to knowing. From not understanding to understanding. From confusion to clarity. ========== By universal design you are born into a perplexing situation, bewildered, and you have one job as a human: figure this shit out. ========== The whole point of venturing into uncertainty is to bring light to the darkness of our ignorance. ========== Life is like school, with one key difference—in school you get the lesson, and then you take the test. But in life, you get the test, and it’s your job to take the lesson. ========== The universe only teaches through experience. ========== It’s better to die than to walk around scared. ========== Heartbreak should be considered a disease—it induces a debilitating state akin to mental illness. ========== Nothing and no one is immune to the entropy of the universe. ========== It’s respectable to lose to the universe. It’s a tragedy to lose to yourself. ========== The universe is not logical, it’s magical. ========== The capacity to adjust and improvise is arguably the single most critical human ability. ========== It’s amazing how skewed your vision can become when you see the present through the lens of your past. ========== What someone desires is a portal into the essential truth of their personality. If you want to understand why someone did something, you need only answer the question, What did he want? ========== When you know what you want, it clarifies what you don’t want. And even painful decisions, though not easy, become simple. ========== The problem is, all of your dreams are on the other side of pain and difficulty. ========== But the heart and soul of our union was then, and is still today, intense, luminescent conversation. ========== Purpose and desire can seem similar, but they are very different, sometimes even opposing forces. ========== As Viktor Frankl wrote, “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” ========== There is an energy that’s at work while you’re asleep—the energy that fires the sun, that moves the ocean, that beats your heart. ========== Act when the universe is open, and rest when she’s closed. ========== To love and to be loved is the highest human reward and ecstasy. ========== Allowing the best within you to serve and unleash the best within others is the most intense of human pleasures. ========== I’ve realized that for some reason, God placed the most beautiful things in life on the other side of our worst terrors. ========== It really is true that your whole life flashes before your eyes when you think you’re going to die. ========== Loving, giving, helping, serving, protecting, nourishing, empowering, and forgiving are the secrets of “the Smile.” In the end, it will not matter one single bit how well they loved you—you will only gain “the Smile” based on how well you loved them. ========== Not very sure why, but this memoir kept reminding me of Circle of Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GibiN... 🎶🎵From the day we arrive on the planet And, blinking, step into the sun There's more to see than can ever be seen More to do than can ever be done There's far too much to take in here More to find than can ever be found But the sun rolling high Through the sapphire sky Keeps great and small on the endless round It's the circle of life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love 'Til we find our place On the path unwinding In the circle The circle of life.🎶🎵

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Will Smith portrayed ‘himself’ as a funny - animated - immodest - all-consuming ‘Will-Wonderful’, guy. His stories were at times fascinating: …..A basketball figure-skater-little nine-year-old Will image cracked me up!! 🏀⛸….. ……stories about his father, mother, brother, kids on the playground— ‘growing years’ were ‘each’ fascinating: real, brutal, thought-provoking….and ‘understanding’. His self-preservation strategies were heartrending. …….Will’s cowboy boot wearing phase as a kid was endearing Will Smith portrayed ‘himself’ as a funny - animated - immodest - all-consuming ‘Will-Wonderful’, guy. His stories were at times fascinating: …..A basketball figure-skater-little nine-year-old Will image cracked me up!! 🏀⛸….. ……stories about his father, mother, brother, kids on the playground— ‘growing years’ were ‘each’ fascinating: real, brutal, thought-provoking….and ‘understanding’. His self-preservation strategies were heartrending. …….Will’s cowboy boot wearing phase as a kid was endearing.👢 ……Learning about the depths of Will’s imagination [silliness encouraged by his mama combined with his mothers emphasis on Will’s seriousness for education] - was impelling….. But…. my goodness Will’s overly *me, me, me*…..*Will, Will, Will* ….was ‘on-the-edge’….hair-raising….straight-shooting….swaggering-egotistical-down right cocky-boastful…self-admiring…self-importance - semi-flaunting …..exhausting at times too. The intensity of Will’s ‘narrative-persuasive voice’ was two-fold/and two-fold: …..”annoying & lovable …. And …..lovable & annoying”. Will’s exaggerated tone was - at times - excessive and overpowering…. ….especially his ‘coup de grace’ resistance to play Muhamed Ali…… hyperbolized …. embellished monumental elaborate grandiloquence declaration. Note: Will Smith gave an unforgettable performance—his portrayal of the boxer Muhammad Ali received widespread commercial success. Will Smith has been called the most powerful actor in Hollywood more than once… Clearly Will Smith is a dedicated actor in comedy, and drama. His onscreen popularity persona is likable…. He’s also a professional rapper… Talented and successful… ….but Will’s ‘need’ to please -‘to be’ loved … to overly entertain us … in ‘this’ memoir is a combination of sweet and sour. 3.6-3.8 rating ….

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    LOVED IT — If you told me back in January that Will Smith’s memoir would end up being one of my favorite reads of this year, I would’ve been skeptical. I mean I like Will, I’ve been a fan most of my life — I owned the Big Willie Style cd in elementary school, watched Fresh Prince reruns growing up, liked Men in Black, laughed a lot at Hitch, and loved Seven Pounds … you get the idea. I just didn’t expect to be so blown away by his story, parts of which resonated deeply with me, despite having di LOVED IT — If you told me back in January that Will Smith’s memoir would end up being one of my favorite reads of this year, I would’ve been skeptical. I mean I like Will, I’ve been a fan most of my life — I owned the Big Willie Style cd in elementary school, watched Fresh Prince reruns growing up, liked Men in Black, laughed a lot at Hitch, and loved Seven Pounds … you get the idea. I just didn’t expect to be so blown away by his story, parts of which resonated deeply with me, despite having different lives. I listened to the audiobook of Will, which Will narrates. He does a great job and is a true performer, bringing different voices and music clips at fitting moments. You can hear his authentic emotion throughout the book. There are lots of funny moments but also many heartfelt and serious ones. I learned a lot I didn’t know too — Jada grew up in Baltimore and was close friends with Tupac. Will is a big reader and loved The Alchemist, which is still my personal, forever favorite book! While most of our lives are much different than Will’s, there’s a takeaway for everyone in his story. An excellent surprise of a book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Artemy

    I have been working on a translation of this book for the past two months, so I really don't feel like I can give it a fair rating one way or another. I will say it's an impressively written and constructed memoir, even if you're not too interested in Will Smith as a person. He covers topics like the early years of hip-hop, DJ-ing and MC-ing, music production, TV, Hollywood movies and the inner workings thereof — Will Smith had his hand in all of those and his perspective on most things is uniqu I have been working on a translation of this book for the past two months, so I really don't feel like I can give it a fair rating one way or another. I will say it's an impressively written and constructed memoir, even if you're not too interested in Will Smith as a person. He covers topics like the early years of hip-hop, DJ-ing and MC-ing, music production, TV, Hollywood movies and the inner workings thereof — Will Smith had his hand in all of those and his perspective on most things is unique and often quite fascinating. He also delves deep into psychology and psyche, philosophy, his childhood and upbringing in West Philadelphia, and his relationships with parents, family and friends, including many other famous ones. Will Smith fans should definitely check it out, but even if you aren't one of them, the man lived a fascinating life and he tells his story well. Plus, if you're at all interested in any of the topics I mentioned, you'll find heaps of cool insider information here. I enjoyed working on this book very much, and can't wait to see it out in print soon!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    Click here to hear my thoughts on this book over on my Booktube channel, abookolive. Will is the memoir/autobiography (or something in between) of actor, musician, and all-around global superstar Will Smith. It’s highly focused on the lessons he learned from all the periods of his life he discusses, zooming in on particular times in his life and leaning away from certain touchy subjects (like scientology and his separation). The book is full of Smith’s effervescence and co-writer Mark Manson (aut Click here to hear my thoughts on this book over on my Booktube channel, abookolive. Will is the memoir/autobiography (or something in between) of actor, musician, and all-around global superstar Will Smith. It’s highly focused on the lessons he learned from all the periods of his life he discusses, zooming in on particular times in his life and leaning away from certain touchy subjects (like scientology and his separation). The book is full of Smith’s effervescence and co-writer Mark Manson (author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life) helped to make this a fun, rewarding read. It’s the perfect book for Will Smith fans (like myself), especially leading into New Year’s Resolution season!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Biggest ego in Hollywood turns in a surprisingly inept memoir that is filled with his verbal vomit (he admits that from childhood he can't shut up). There are a few good stories, but for the most part it is him bragging non-stop about his fame and riches. It's almost shocking how many dozens or hundreds of times he repeats how famous he is. He should be embarrassed. Some fans are going to praise him for spilling his guts on his internal struggles of self-acceptance, his sex life with his wife Jad Biggest ego in Hollywood turns in a surprisingly inept memoir that is filled with his verbal vomit (he admits that from childhood he can't shut up). There are a few good stories, but for the most part it is him bragging non-stop about his fame and riches. It's almost shocking how many dozens or hundreds of times he repeats how famous he is. He should be embarrassed. Some fans are going to praise him for spilling his guts on his internal struggles of self-acceptance, his sex life with his wife Jada (who comes across as crazy in this book) or his dealing with an abusive father (who he really slams though Will owes his entire career to his dad allowing him to skip college). But Smith avoids a number of major subjects as well as giving almost no details about how is movies were made. While he's rambling on about growing up in Philly (not that exciting) or being a father to kids that are rather odd, he manages to prove that he still has a big wall up about who he really is. This guy must be the most insecure human on the planet based on how often he strokes his ego. Some may call it a "humble brag" but this has more self-praising statements than any memoir I've ever read (and I've read over 750). Probably more than all the others I've read together. The fake humility that he tries to use to make us feel sorry for him come across as another acting job. It's also offensive to see his regular use of the N-word. Totally inappropriate in this era and leads to the question--why is he allowed to get away with it? If it's simply because of his color then he's being racist to go along with some of his sexist comments. He doesn't say much about the women he must have bedded but he seems to subtly demean the women he committed himself to. It needed a strong co-writer and good editor to channel all the hyper tangents Smith goes off on. A third (or more) is wasted energy. The book even has factual errors in it, funny for a guy who claims to be a perfectionist. Add the quasi-spiritual turn he makes near the end (where again he brags) and the whole thing becomes an eye-rolling mess. He goes to South America for a regular routine of mind-altering substances, yet with a straight face says he doesn't do drugs. There nothing to admire about the guy in this autobiography other than his audacity to think he's so great--if he read his own book he'd discover how truly imperfect he is.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Simons

    It’s Will. He delivers a good performance. What he is narrating is a very specific story that is geared toward a self-help rhetoric; unfortunately a fairly redundant one. You cannot make yourself happy by making money, you have to nurture yourself. So, the real reason to consume this is for the performance and the entertainment value while navigating to that point. He goes into his fear of being a coward, but doesn’t really link it to gender roles or anything much beyond the fact that his dad wa It’s Will. He delivers a good performance. What he is narrating is a very specific story that is geared toward a self-help rhetoric; unfortunately a fairly redundant one. You cannot make yourself happy by making money, you have to nurture yourself. So, the real reason to consume this is for the performance and the entertainment value while navigating to that point. He goes into his fear of being a coward, but doesn’t really link it to gender roles or anything much beyond the fact that his dad was just like that. He tells you that his father was physically abusive and at one point, even while getting side tracked running to get some smokes, his dad told him that every single thing he does a mission. You either succeed, or you’re dead. Yes, his dad was in the army. And yes, Will’s success coming from a trauma response makes a heck of a lot of sense. Though, we also learn other key people literally in one room mostly was the reason he made it, an orchestration of Quincy Jones. And then… with these things established, he simply launches into his career and highlights and his macro level trajectory to massive success. The vulnerability never really comes back. And I’m not very convinced it was ever really present. To be honest, this book is calculating. There is a performative vulnerability at key sections fostering trust between the reader and Will. And, to be clear, that’s a fine way to construct this kind of a story. But, he often displays a lack of critical self awareness and skates over accountability in favour of easy contrition. I promise you that if you take all the possessions of your partner, pour lighter fluid on them, and then light them all when she arrives home to witness this act, you are not a well person. And frankly, saying she didn’t deserve that and moving on, and you were both young yada yada, is one thing. But he tries to isolate that event. Except… between the lines or in passing—presumably he thinks some of these things aren’t a big deal?—there is even more concerning behaviour. All of which mostly just made me think that he was a person that confronted his trauma far too late for those around him. Ultimately, he navigates to an almost comical ending for me. He ends up going on the spiritual awakening journey and doing pseudo-mystical, drug induced trips, hires a life coach therapist because he doesn’t know who he is (as if that’s a singular experience at mid life). He also comes to the realization that memory isn’t a video, but a personal rendering that is not accurate. Or that, and I am not kidding here, other peoples’ feelings actually matter and should be considered. If you’re 20 maybe some of these epiphanies will be profound to you, but his own journey ultimately conforms to an archetypical journey, which only adds to the sterility and artificial aspects within the structure of the book. That’s why it was comical to me. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad he’s doing some work on himself and is in a good place now, at 50 years old, but make no mistake, this is, and feels like, a performance that is most likely simply another tick off the bucket list—rather than a wholehearted reckoning and self-examination of an individual.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This may be one of the most honest and inspiring memoirs I've ever read. This may be one of the most honest and inspiring memoirs I've ever read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nima Morgan

    So, I am confused ...is he the "biggest", most famous, richest movie star in the US or the World or the universe? Found this book to be interesting and yet exhausting...just wonder if it would have been slightly more enjoyable if he stopped mentioning how wonderful and famous he is. So, I am confused ...is he the "biggest", most famous, richest movie star in the US or the World or the universe? Found this book to be interesting and yet exhausting...just wonder if it would have been slightly more enjoyable if he stopped mentioning how wonderful and famous he is.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meags

    5 Stars Not to get all fangirl-y on everyone, but this was by and large the best celebrity memoir I’ve EVER had the pleasure of reading. Honest and unwavering, Will Smith—rapper, actor, son, husband, father, global-God-damn-superstar—leaves no stone unturned in his telling of his extraordinary life’s journey. That boisterous, larger-than-life persona the world knows and loves, is deliberately unmasked within, as Will shares stories both fortuitously joyful and ambitiously unyielding, but always b 5 Stars Not to get all fangirl-y on everyone, but this was by and large the best celebrity memoir I’ve EVER had the pleasure of reading. Honest and unwavering, Will Smith—rapper, actor, son, husband, father, global-God-damn-superstar—leaves no stone unturned in his telling of his extraordinary life’s journey. That boisterous, larger-than-life persona the world knows and loves, is deliberately unmasked within, as Will shares stories both fortuitously joyful and ambitiously unyielding, but always brutally honest and deeply personal. He doesn’t always paint himself in the best light, but God damn was I impressed and humbled by his raw honesty throughout. What made this a truly unique and ground-breaking celebrity memoir experience is how Will managed to combine so many themes and tones into one smooth flowing and non-stop entertaining read. He shares ALL the anecdotes of his Hollywood and music industry fame that fans will be eager for, but he also goes deeper, recounting many profound (sometimes shocking) stories of his childhood, family life (across four generations), with tales of love and loss, and an ambitious streak that just won’t quit. Some stories made me laugh and some made me cry, but what I loved most is how, after an experience was shared, particularly if it was an emotional or traumatic experience, Will would then go on to analyse the moment and his behaviour in said moment, turning even the worst experiences of his life into self-teachable moments. In that way, this could even be classified as a damn enjoyable personal-development book. It became exceedingly clear early on, that this is a man who has been through a lot and has worked his ass off to grow and learn and generally BE BETTER, for his family, his fans, and especially for himself. I admire that. And most importantly, Will spends a great deal of the book acknowledging and praising every single person in his life that has helped shape him and support him, as well as those who have challenged him and been unafraid to tell him brutal truths at times, even when he wasn’t ready to hear them (but NEEDED to hear them). No man is an island, and that couldn’t be more clear here. I’ve been a lifetime fan of Will Smith, but I’d like to imagine that my positive bias has nothing to do with the actual quality of this memoir. Had I not been a fan before, I would be now. Side note: Jada was right—it wasn’t funny. (Readers will understand). ***************************************** Audio Edition: I personally switched between bouts of reading and listening to Will’s self-narration, and I cannot stress enough how wonderful the audiobook is. It was AN EXPERIENCE. Hearing Will tell his own story can't be matched by simply reading the words yourself. And as an added temptation, the sound and music production of the audiobook was off the charts, with Will regularly rapping/singing within. 🙌🙌🙌

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheba Family

    Wow I’m really not a fan. There are some fun stories in this book, and I suspect big Will Smith fans may be highly entertained by his stories…However I felt this book lacked depth and honesty. I don’t believe the author himself has done enough self reflective work. It seems he has perhaps begun some self work towards the end of this book - this actor certainly knows how to say the right things- but I felt that he has yet to apply that knowledge to examine his life. Perhaps this memoir would have Wow I’m really not a fan. There are some fun stories in this book, and I suspect big Will Smith fans may be highly entertained by his stories…However I felt this book lacked depth and honesty. I don’t believe the author himself has done enough self reflective work. It seems he has perhaps begun some self work towards the end of this book - this actor certainly knows how to say the right things- but I felt that he has yet to apply that knowledge to examine his life. Perhaps this memoir would have been better written in 10 or 20 years from now after the self work kicked in. I do admire his passion and hard work, but that could have and should have been summarized in 100 pages. Despite it being technically well written - thank you Mark Mason- I was truly bored at times due to lack of insight as well as an abundance of superfluous information. For example, he lists off the exact number of soundtrack or movie sales, calls himself the biggest (movie/rap) star in the world repeatedly, then claims it is not about him and he’s not flexing. Lmao. His arrogance, lack of self-awareness/self-education is a terrible combination for a memoir. He read his first book in his 20s; it is not at all surprising that The Alchemist is one of his favorite books. The way he treats women irks me, but one may not notice the gravity unless one is good at noticing what he is NOT saying. All his love interests overlap, he always has a back up ready to go before his last relationship ends, yet claims utter devotion to most of these women. How are you so devoted yet keeping a backup? He just seems controlling while imposing a double standard. For example, he mentions going out of his way for Jada’s bday to ‘fix’ their problems, but there no real dialogue on what is actually wrong (aside from implying it’s her fault as she is not a happy person on her own). How clueless to think bday events can fix marital issues. Her reaction about his display of ego was spot on! Sometimes, his only self reflection after doing something insane (such as setting someone’s possessions on fire) is simply “I regret that, she didn’t deserve to be treated that way”. That’s it Willard?! Perhaps a little dramatic, but I regret reading this book as I will never be able to fully enjoy one of his movies or shows the same way again. The extra star is for Mark Mason’s writing and Will’s performance as an actor.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Queen

    I've always liked WILL SMITH. But to now know his life from the beginning of his journey until now really opens up my soul! I LOVE HIM NOW! He was raw and uncut about his journey and experiences. I especially loved the part about his marriage when he said (paraphrasing) that your person you choose to spend life with is just as imperfect as you are. You can easily love them when they are doing right, making you smile or laugh. But the true test comes from the times that things are not going right I've always liked WILL SMITH. But to now know his life from the beginning of his journey until now really opens up my soul! I LOVE HIM NOW! He was raw and uncut about his journey and experiences. I especially loved the part about his marriage when he said (paraphrasing) that your person you choose to spend life with is just as imperfect as you are. You can easily love them when they are doing right, making you smile or laugh. But the true test comes from the times that things are not going right and things are not so perfect. Can you love them then? Can you love their ugly? This book made me reflect a lot on my own life. It made me open areas that I thought I had vaulted. Time for me to get back to work! I don't want to give away too much buy if you had a parent that was hard on you, gave you a complex, made you fear them, etc. This read is for you. If you are married, this book is for you. If you have ever hit rock bottom. This book is for you.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kameel

    WOW.... Will was so open and vulnerable during this book....I was so engrossed and I didn't want to stop listening....This audiobook was definitely worth the 16 hours it took to complete. Bravo Will Bravo!!! WOW.... Will was so open and vulnerable during this book....I was so engrossed and I didn't want to stop listening....This audiobook was definitely worth the 16 hours it took to complete. Bravo Will Bravo!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellery Adams

    One of my favorite things about Will Smith’s entertaining, honest, and moving memoir was reading about his friends. He rose to fame with a group of friends, and they’re still with him today. Will drew people into his orbit like the sun. And like a star that burns too long, there were times when he imploded. His success as an actor, musician, and writer is undeniable, but his struggles to be a good husband, father, son, and friend are what most readers will remember about this book. I highly reco One of my favorite things about Will Smith’s entertaining, honest, and moving memoir was reading about his friends. He rose to fame with a group of friends, and they’re still with him today. Will drew people into his orbit like the sun. And like a star that burns too long, there were times when he imploded. His success as an actor, musician, and writer is undeniable, but his struggles to be a good husband, father, son, and friend are what most readers will remember about this book. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version. Will had me laughing, bobbing my head to his jams, and wiping my eyes a few times too. His grandmother’s quotes alone make this a worthy read. “Jus’ remember, Lover Boy,” she said, “be nice to everybody you pass on your way up, coz you just might have to pass them again on your way down.” ― Will Smith’s grandmother (Gigi)

  17. 5 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    I highly enjoyed this read! I grew up loving Fresh Prince of Bel Aire and was sad the day it ended. I remember watching the last episode and feeling like it was a huge lost. I love the movies he made and excited to watch the recent release of King Richard. This book made me laugh but also made me see that even the biggest celebrities go through troubles in their life. Highly recommend this book A+

  18. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    I love memoirs, but I especially love them when they are about people I am familiar with which is exactly why I got excited to see Will by Will Smith as a Book of the Month add on last month. This might be the first time I have ever gotten to one of my picks so fast, and that is really because I love Will so much. I feel like I got to know so much about him in this book, and there was a ton of information that I didn't know going into it. Parts of it broke my heart, and I love that he touched on I love memoirs, but I especially love them when they are about people I am familiar with which is exactly why I got excited to see Will by Will Smith as a Book of the Month add on last month. This might be the first time I have ever gotten to one of my picks so fast, and that is really because I love Will so much. I feel like I got to know so much about him in this book, and there was a ton of information that I didn't know going into it. Parts of it broke my heart, and I love that he touched on so many of the things that made him into the person he is today. He tells the reader about how he got into the different arts, and how he ultimately ended up becoming a movie star. He didn't go too in-depth with any particular movie, but he did talk a lot about when he was growing up as well as The Fresh Prince since that is where he got his start. I loved the random facts he provides throughout, and there are so many new tidbits that I now know about both his life and The Fresh Prince. I mainly bought the book for the pictures that are included, but I had to listen to the audiobook since Will narrates it. I love listening to his voice as it is, and he did an excellent job narrating his story. It is a very immersive experience having both the book and the audiobook and I highly recommend both! He talks a lot about family, and I had tears in my eyes many times, but he also had me laughing my butt off on multiple occasions as well. He also talks about his arrogance and attitude, which for anyone that has met him in person seems like an important thing to note. He is no Tom Cruise (read this and you'll see what I'm referring to!), but I think he is an incredible person and Will made me love him even more. The only thing that was rather weird was hearing about his different personas through his meetings with Michaela and some ceremonies that he did. I will let you read that for yourselves but be prepared for some... interesting things too.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andi

    When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with Will Smith. I wanted to marry him and I wanted to be the light of his life. I had seen him in Men in Black and 4th grade me wanted to watch every movie he was in after that. Over the years, I felt that I outgrew Will Smith because his choices in films no longer aligned with my tastes ; I felt his demeanor changed ; he wasn't really box office material anymore, ... list goes on. I always still had a place in my heart for him since I grew up with When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with Will Smith. I wanted to marry him and I wanted to be the light of his life. I had seen him in Men in Black and 4th grade me wanted to watch every movie he was in after that. Over the years, I felt that I outgrew Will Smith because his choices in films no longer aligned with my tastes ; I felt his demeanor changed ; he wasn't really box office material anymore, ... list goes on. I always still had a place in my heart for him since I grew up with him in my adolescent / teen years. So I was excited when I found out that he had a memoir coming out. Though what had me a bit on the fence that while this was a memoir... I didn't think that he would actually make it an autobiography. So. Finishing it. I see that this memoir was more like an airing of his failures and his need for repentance. The biggest reveal Will gives on his life is more or less on his time frame from childhood to Fresh Prince of Bel Air. ... Everything regarding his cinema years is a blur and is just brought up here and there. You see, Will was more or less writing this book as a self help book to everyone too. So that you can learn from his mistakes , failures , and make yourself a better person. To which I ask: how? you're on a different level of wealth and view of the world. We all cannot life the same failures and correlate / empathize with what you're going through. I also come to find out that Will is a very controlling individual, or he was up until the last five years. Some of that can be blamed on his teenage years, but as he got older, and he began to rise in stardom, there comes a time when the things you say and do need to be evaluated as if you are an adult. His treatment of his wives (even current) and girlfriends are so poor that I can't believe this was going on up until he was almost 50 years old. That is a LONG time of his life he spent being a poor individual. Even worse that he was forcing his fame / fortune lifestyle / dreams on other people. I don't know if I should feel pity, remorse, or just be happy that he was able to air / express his demons. The last couple chapters show that he got spiritually uplifted and that this is something that one does with a lot of money. I don't see people around here offering him the type of therapy he went through (it was a liquid induced LSD). I just know that after feeling so much better about himself he went to the Grand Canyon and bungee jumped out of a helicopter. So. In summary: - This is a self help book that isn't really self help. It is a memoir but it is more of a airing of his failures. This is not an autobiography since he spends some time bragging and doesn't really cover his time in Hollywood. Maybe someone years from now will give a solid biography. But for now, this is what you get. A half-baked one.

  20. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    I thought Will Smith was supposed to be likable? I’ve always been indifferent, liking Fresh Prince, but not many of his films. I’m just gonna say it: This is one of the worst celebrity memoirs I’ve ever read. It’s an incessant boasting of fame and riches. He uttered some iteration of his being “the biggest movie star in the world” so often, I wish I’d kept count. Humble, he is not. Very little of this felt sincere. Massively disappointing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    "Will" is intended by the author to be a memoir/self help book, but it's ACTUALLY a psychological thriller, where the charming narrator who won you over in the beginning with his goofy rapping and self-deprecating humor slowly reveals himself to be a psychopath. You have to listen to this on audio, because Will performs his story with flair, rapping and playing the piano throughout, oozing his trademark Fresh Prince Charisma. However, without a sitcom script to recite, Smith veers into delusion "Will" is intended by the author to be a memoir/self help book, but it's ACTUALLY a psychological thriller, where the charming narrator who won you over in the beginning with his goofy rapping and self-deprecating humor slowly reveals himself to be a psychopath. You have to listen to this on audio, because Will performs his story with flair, rapping and playing the piano throughout, oozing his trademark Fresh Prince Charisma. However, without a sitcom script to recite, Smith veers into delusional tangents, self-indulgent life advice that no one could ever possibly benefit from (like: To all my young male readers-- don't force your wife to live on a giant family ranch if she says she doesn't want to live there), and a disturbing lack of empathy. "Will" is infinitely quotable. Here are a few of my passages and lines: "Every single harem equation in my mind kept adding up to a hellscape. If I can't figure out how to nurture and nourish one...woman, what the fuck made me think I could care for twenty-five? I don't want a harem..." "We were teed up, and Big Willy was bringing the thunder." "I was shaking with anticipation. I could see her, just like Sue Ellen, coming to breakfast on a stallion." ""I am a master Monopoly player. This is not a joke; I'm not saying it to be facetious; this is not hyperbole. I have studied. I have worked with professional instructors--I fully intended to play international Monopoly Tournaments. When the dice hits, I don't have to count squares; I know that States is six squares from New York--I just pick the piece up and move it." "My vocal delivery on "Summertime" shocked the hip hop world." "At the time, my fade was legendary. To cut my hair... was not only a challenge but a catapult to a young barber in Hollywood." Will Smith on shooting the Fresh Prince while being ill to set an example to his wife: "Women (or Europeans) always describe this trait negatively, but on a primal level it's hard not to respect a warrior." ----------------------------------- Will Smith on His Fantasy Life "For me the border between fantasy and reality has always been thin and transparent...the problem is, one man's fantasy is another man's lie." "...as child, what the other kids didn't understand was that I didn't lie about my perceptions, my perceptions lied to me." "Sometimes I'll tell a story, and a friend will look over at Jada and ask "Okay, so what really happened?" "My imagination is my gift. And when it merges with my work ethic, I can make money rain from the heavens" ----------------------------------- The Scorched Earth Tracker (I only noted 5, but I definitely forgot to write down a few): "...But some suckaz didn't--they would try to keep going, and then two words: SCORCHED. EARTH. By my junior year, I had developed a reputation around West Philly." "...he didn't bother nobody, but if you fucked with him...two words: SCORCHED. EARTH" "...I was invincible. Two Words: SCORCHED. EARTH." "Two Words: SCORCHED. EARTH. I was amazed." "...factoring in my global promotional sledgehammer, TWO WORDS: SCORCHED. EARTH. ---------------------------------------- Somehow a five star read, and a one star read at the same time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    If I didn’t love Will Smith before (of course I did), I absolutely adore him now. This was a very open and honest book. I feel like I know (and love) Will and his family now. I wish him only continued success.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Will smith is my dad so it’s my favorite book, and In quote of my friend Zane “WILL SMITH”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    To be honest, I have yet to finish Chapter 3. I knew before I finished Chapter 2 that I was going to rate this book 5 stars so I figured, why wait. The Introduction was enough to have me considering ordering copies to send to friends and family. I am listening to it on Audible narrarated in Will's own voice which gives it an honesty and raw emotion that only he could give. Not just because he is a phenomenal performer but because it is his story and wow.....it's a powerful one! Ok, I am going to To be honest, I have yet to finish Chapter 3. I knew before I finished Chapter 2 that I was going to rate this book 5 stars so I figured, why wait. The Introduction was enough to have me considering ordering copies to send to friends and family. I am listening to it on Audible narrarated in Will's own voice which gives it an honesty and raw emotion that only he could give. Not just because he is a phenomenal performer but because it is his story and wow.....it's a powerful one! Ok, I am going to finish now as I know I won't be able to put this one down until I do! Update: I'm now on Chapter 6. Listening to this book gives extra special treats. Will sings, plays piano, and many other audible nuances only obtained by listening to the audio-book. Also, his grandmother is a Saint. I would have loved to have met her.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Oyinda

    Top tier god shit This was such an amazing read and the way this book went is why i love books like Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones. Following a celeb's life from humble beginnings to stardom and seeing them as humans with all their failings and highs and lows and now this one is a real person baring himself and the character development? Chef's kiss. So much to take away from this book. My first 5-star read of '22 Top tier god shit This was such an amazing read and the way this book went is why i love books like Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones. Following a celeb's life from humble beginnings to stardom and seeing them as humans with all their failings and highs and lows and now this one is a real person baring himself and the character development? Chef's kiss. So much to take away from this book. My first 5-star read of '22

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This was fan-f*cking-tastic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Monica (crazy_4_books)

    (I got a free e-book, all opinions are my own). This book was not what I would have wanted from a Will Smith biography. I wanted Will the movie star and the highlights of his movie career since "Bad Boys". I didn't care about his days as a rapper because I don't like rap/hip hop. I didn't care about his TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" since I've never watched it. And certainly didn't care about his annoying devotion to Jada (a person I can't stand neither as a public figure nor as an actre (I got a free e-book, all opinions are my own). This book was not what I would have wanted from a Will Smith biography. I wanted Will the movie star and the highlights of his movie career since "Bad Boys". I didn't care about his days as a rapper because I don't like rap/hip hop. I didn't care about his TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" since I've never watched it. And certainly didn't care about his annoying devotion to Jada (a person I can't stand neither as a public figure nor as an actress), or his father issues (it's not clear what his real feelings are, maybe he doesn't even know 🙄), or his preachy sections about Scientology. When he mentions his movies, it's very surface level and he focuses on only a few, being one of those "After Earth", one of his worst films, but hey he worked with his son in that one and this book is "all about family" (Vin Diesel quote 😁). I would have loved a film career spotlight kind of a book. Also, while Will was wasting time shooting "After Earth", certain celebrity was skyrocketing playing "Iron Man" and Will mentions this with some sort of jealousy 🤔. I read it on e-book and I skimmed a lot. For those interested, I'd suggest trying the audio book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Niall

    I wonder how many books Oprah has actually read This tome is a prime example of celebrity brain rot. Despite being a carefully calibrated work of PR, Smith's gnawing need for approval spills forth as does his complete lack of interest in film as an artistic medium. He cites his box office numbers repetitively to the point of embarrassment. I like Smith's presence in films often but he's very rarely actually been involved in much that is substantial that isn't disposable Oscar bait, he cares much I wonder how many books Oprah has actually read This tome is a prime example of celebrity brain rot. Despite being a carefully calibrated work of PR, Smith's gnawing need for approval spills forth as does his complete lack of interest in film as an artistic medium. He cites his box office numbers repetitively to the point of embarrassment. I like Smith's presence in films often but he's very rarely actually been involved in much that is substantial that isn't disposable Oscar bait, he cares much more about his brand than he does more abstract notions of cinema. The only film he spends any time discussing is Ali, one of the best decisions in the book as it is easily the high watermark of his career, he is otherwise more concerned with opening chapters with a chart of his films to hit #1 at the box office, never choosing to address the fact that stuff like MIB 2 is soulless commercial junk. He also comes off as an asshole pretty frequently and I cannot imagine attempting to tolerate him.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    Listen, I like Will Smith. His movies are entertaining. This book was just too much. Bro needs to edit. 400+ pages or 16+ hours of the audiobook (which I listened to). The first half of his book was more interesting than the last half. It was seriously a chore to get through after a while and I just wanted him to stop talking. Sometimes, he just rambled about the most inane things, especially near the end. I was not a fan of some of the impressions he did of famous people at all. For the record, Listen, I like Will Smith. His movies are entertaining. This book was just too much. Bro needs to edit. 400+ pages or 16+ hours of the audiobook (which I listened to). The first half of his book was more interesting than the last half. It was seriously a chore to get through after a while and I just wanted him to stop talking. Sometimes, he just rambled about the most inane things, especially near the end. I was not a fan of some of the impressions he did of famous people at all. For the record, he talked about a prank that he pulled on Jada when she met his grandma Gigi. I am on her side. It was not funny. It was immature.

  30. 4 out of 5

    TL

    Narration and content: 4 stars 🌟 -- I enjoyed listening to this off the Overdrive app. I wasn't sure at first if I would find his story interesting (I was a fan growing up but never looked up his backstory, not sure why really), but I was pleasantly surprised. It's easy to get lost in Will's Narration; he sweeps you along, taking you by the hand through his life, the good ,the bad.. the mistakes he made. Some of the stuff he said has me cringing for his past self. The snippets of the songs and int Narration and content: 4 stars 🌟 -- I enjoyed listening to this off the Overdrive app. I wasn't sure at first if I would find his story interesting (I was a fan growing up but never looked up his backstory, not sure why really), but I was pleasantly surprised. It's easy to get lost in Will's Narration; he sweeps you along, taking you by the hand through his life, the good ,the bad.. the mistakes he made. Some of the stuff he said has me cringing for his past self. The snippets of the songs and interviews were a nice touch:) I do wish he had talked about his experience on Aladdin in there and his thoughts on playing the genie after Robin Williams, but minor quibble. Would highly recommend the audiobook, a fuller experience in my opinion with him reading it 😀.

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