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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The instant Sunday Times bestseller.

The instant number one New York Times best seller

The Instant number one Audible best seller.

Narrated by Will Smith.

One of the most dynamic and globally recognised 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 pop 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 multimillion-copy best seller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one exceptional man 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.

©2021 Will Smith and Mark Manson (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"It's the best memoir I've ever read." (Oprah)

"If you read one book this year, make it this one." (Jay Shetty)

"Incredible." (Idris Elba)

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A love letter to himself

As an actor Will Smith is very entertaining & I have always enjoyed his movies however this book absolutely feels like a love letter from Will Smith to himself. He comes across as massively out of touch with "normal" people & the self adulation becomes a little tiresome at various stages.
Will Smith has forged a career on being relatable & unchanged by fame, this book demonstrates that he is indeed a great actor because there is very little relatable about him. Whilst it may be true, constantly referring to one's self as the "biggest movie star in the world" becomes grating. You want to think he means it ironically but you don't.
There definitely are some little likable gems about family & relationships but they are too thinly spread.
I am a huge believer in therapy & self awareness but this book leaves me feeling like maybe there is such a thing as too much therapy & self awareness is probably most valuable when used in context of our awareness of others.

Humility is not a requirement in life, people do not owe us that but it probably makes the privileged more likable, if you're looking for Humility here you won't find it.

162 people found this helpful

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Self indulgent psycho babble!

I really enjoyed the first half of this book but once we were then subjected to Will Smith the Life Coach and guru I lost interest.

I’m happy that your millions of dollars means you can go and commune with mother ocean in the Caribbean or partake in mind altering drug sessions wrapped up as South American Amazon’medicine’ to find yourself but Talk about third world problems. Get over yourself! Honestly I like WS a lot less now I know he’s a bit of a wanker.

73 people found this helpful

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Started well, but so much self indulgence in munda

Poor - self indulgence in mundane stories. Really disappointed. Were other reviews genuine? I doubt it! Avoid.

66 people found this helpful

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It Started off well then it turned too ....

I used to be a fan of him till I heard this audiobook.

If you judge success by how much money it's made then...McDonald's would be the best restaurant in the world.

but clearly it isn't .

60 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

Summary 390 pages on why I'm better than everyone at everything, ever, 3 pages on tripping balls and becoming enlightened because my wife left me because I'm a narcissist, 10 pages on why I used to be an asshole but I'm not anymore and a few more pages about me jumping out of a helicopter talking about how it doesn't match if I lose $4mil, basically being really unlikable again

I didn't hate it I guess, I listened to the end but the vast majority of this book is talking about how fantastic he is. He is supposed to be this "normal guy from Philly" that's his whole thing, this book makes it pretty clear he hasn't been that for a long time and never really saw himself as that to begin with. How many times can you listen to someone call themselves "the greatest movie star in the world"? It gets rather irritating, he's massively out of touch, talking about his 50 staff members to look after his estate, commuting between countries every week, losing $4mil in a day is no big deal, not traveling without security for 10 years, having a huge entourage, booking out entire floors of the best hotels in the world, the whole book is a little bit of blowing smoke up his own ass, down to the last bit.

I also seriously disliked how he forced one partner to choose between smoking weed and the relationship, and how controlling he was of Jada in so many ways, while he comes to this enlightenment through tripping balls, which is supposed to be the redemption story and point of the whole book, it just doesn't seem to me like he really gets what the actual issues with his past behaviours were, and how toxic he really was. Does he get why Jada was so upset about the 40th weekend? The "joke" with his Grandmother when she meets Jada is horrendous, not even a tiny bit funny, massively disrespectful to both women,if I was Jada, that betrayal of trust for his own amusement would have been the end of the relationship for me. Your partner should have your back, protect you from embarrassment, not thrust you into it, it's bullying. Humiliating 2 people like that us just gross.

I've enjoyed most of his movies and honestly this book is a bit disappointing

57 people found this helpful

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Incredible and honest

Granted I am only half way through listening to this but already it deserves full marks and 5 starts right across the board

The words seem true and honest and show a side to will that isn’t just the Uber confident musician or actor that we have known.

The book is so well read with high production quality.

I listen to lots of biographies and auto biographies when I’m driving or running - everything from Tyson to Jordan Belford and this is right up there at the top of the list

Highly recommend

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Best memoir I have read so far

The way this audiobook was narrated I don't even know if we ever need a Biopic. This entire memoir was just dope.
Dude has lived an amazing life and his story was so beautifully told. I would definitely recommend this book.

P.S. I am rooting for you Will, you are enough

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Wonderful

I loved the book and it was great to hear that it was Will that read it. I loved to hear the honesty, humor and vulnerability and of course the music. Thank you Will!

15 people found this helpful

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A wonderfully open walk through story fantastic !

Loved it from start to finish would recommend without a doubt the best book .

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Brilliant!!

An amazing insight into one of my generations legends. A very frank and enjoyable listen. Book of the year so far. loved it.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 01-12-21

Fun and entertaining. Until it isn't

If you are going to consume this book, then getting the audio book is absolutely the only way. Will Smith is an excellent narrator, and along with the music and the added effects, he really brings his story to life.

One of the first things Will Smith tells us about himself is how he tells a story. How, when he shares an experience with the family, they will turn to someone who is part of the story to provide the real, unembellished version. His tells us that his imagination adds details that don't necessarily change the gist of the incident, but makes it more fun and entertaining... and this can be a bit distracting at times. There are a couple of stories where I felt that the people's reactions and dialogue implausible.

The whole book was great, until it wasn't. His recounting of his childhood, early fame, movie career is not only interesting, but so nostalgic. My life seems to be punctuated with Will Smith's artistic creations. From his early music to his last movie, I have enjoyed it all. But then he goes into a self-indulgent spiral. It's like a family member who has started going for counseling and can't stop talking about their new perception of their life, their childhood, every relationship. It goes on and on and on, like he is convincing himself that he is on good path. The book suffers for it. I found myself getting impatient with the book, just wanting it to be over. The last few chapters were for him, and not for his fans.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-21

The best memoir ever

Love you Will. I hope you have a beautiful ending, as beautiful as the person you are.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-04-22

The real Willard stands up

Captivating, brilliantly written, importantly clarifies Will the human being. It's freedom at its best.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lochi
  • 04-04-22

I was a believer in this books content until his actions at the Academy awards

Half was into this book, I was so impressed with the way Will Smith was able, supposedly, to overcome so many of life’s challenges, without losing his cool, and how much he has evolved from each new “growth hump” that he faced along his life’s journey. This was of course until his Academy Awards incident, whereby all of his teachings and fundamental ideals within its contents, go against what he preaches in this book. Regardless of the story of what actually happened that night, his actions were the complete antithesis of the very core of what he writes about. I found it so difficult to finish the second half because of this… I just don’t believe what his saying.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aziz
  • 01-04-22

False content and marketing of the book

What I’ve learned from WS and what I’ve seen in the Oscar’s is completely contradictory hence this book should be changed to fiction and not a biography…

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kallan Resnick
  • 15-06-22

Loved every minute of this memoir.

I wasn't going to listen to this. Celebrity books about themselves have a habit of being annoying marketing fluff. But Will is raw and honest to the core. I loved listening and learning. And I'm glad I did the audio book because Will adds in mini performances throughout.

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  • Louis D. van Niekerk
  • 02-06-22

Better than the written word

Beyond the fact that it is honest, authentic, vulnerable, funny and binding; it is also an entertaining production with Will’s narrative, voices, wrap and other sound effects really bringing the story to like fe.

Very Brave book, Will Smith. A suitable title could have been “Will Naked”

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-22

Scorched Earth

A mixture of feelings and truth about Will’s life story. How he progresses in life and through all the obstacles grow into the man that he is.

Really enjoyable book that I’ll highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-05-22

Layered

Life scandal made it difficult to finish but glad I persevered. Authentic, complex, humorous...We are a all a work in progress!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-05-22

Nice book

the story was great. Will is a great story teller. really had me tuned In