Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale — 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 best seller 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.
This was seriously one of the best memoirs I’ve read in my entire life! I’ll claim it now, that it will still be my favorite memoir this year, in December… Will Smith bared his soul to us, and as a fan of his for years, I truly appreciated that. If you’re a fan of audiobooks, or have always wanted to try…this is the book for you! I can’t recommend this enough. He really provided a different kind of experience. We got an inside look at his childhood, dealing with his family, friends, and what it was like growing up in Philly with a father (Daddio) who was abusive to his mother. A man whom he loved, but also feared more than anyone. Quote: “When I grew up, I knew I had a lion, but I hated that sometimes he’d bite me.”
Will goes into great detail about the start of his career as a rapper (where he met his pal— who we all as Dj Jazzy Jeff), the transition to television, and soon movies. The ins and outs of Hollywood, and the life lessons you learn along the way.
I think the parts of this book that I loved the most, was him being openly honest about his flaws, and really taking the time to explain how far hes come. Will Smith is looked at as a famous role model for most. An icon living amongst us, but there are dark secrets even the most popular, most loving people face. By just looking at you, people place their judgements on who you are and what you should be like. It was nice that he owned up to his mistakes, and didn’t brush them aside. We are all constantly learning daily.
For me, I saw a lot of myself in this book. Whether it was from Will’s perspective on hisself, or conversations hes had with his “Mom-Mom” (mother) or his “Gigi” (grandmother) etc. I had moments of “Damn, is this me”? and “I’m so grateful to have already learned this lesson” there were even moments of “This is something I need/want to start doing” and “When will I learn?” It was important for me to see myself this way for many reasons, and I have no problem acknowledging that I too can do better…and I will.
Some Quotes I Loved:
- Hope is the elixir of survival during our darkest times. The ability to envision and imagine a brighter day gives meaning to our suffering and renders it bearable. When we lose hope, we lose out central source of strength and resilience.
- I heard a great saying once: Life is like school, with one difference— in school you get the lesson, and then you take the test. But in life, you get the test, and its your job to take the lesson.
- It’s respectable to lose the universe. It’s a tragedy to lose yourself.
- Never underestimate the power of what you do.
- Purpose and desire can seem similar, but they are very different, sometimes even opposing forces.
- I’d learned a long time ago, I might break a promise to you, but I’ll never break a promise to me.
- I’ve realized that for some reason, God placed the most beautiful things in life on the other side of our worst terrors. If we are not willing to stand in the face of the things that most deeply unnerve us, and then step across the invisible line into the land of dread, then we won’t get to experience the best that life has to offer.
A Few Hard Lessons: (Tips/Yasss)
- The bigger the fantasy you live, the more painful the inevitable collision with reality. If you cultivate the fantasy that your marriage will be forever joyful and effortless, then reality is going to pay you back in equal proportion to your delusion. If you live the fantasy that making money will earn you love, then the universe will slap you awake, in the tune of a thousand angry voices.
- The stories we tell ourselves, which are designed for our protection, are the same stories that create the walls that prevent the very connections we so desperately crave.
- The problem is that most of us trust our memories implicitly. Our memories are the basis for our perception pf reality. We then commit to these conclusions, unlocking the requisite emotions and the corresponding actions and behaviors. We move into the world clinging to our flawed assumptions, unleashing upon ourselves the cosmic consequences pf wrong ideas.
Overall, I really loved and appreciated this book for what it was. There are a lot of negative comments about him being cocky, and overly confident…and he was, so what??? First, if thats his personality, let him be him. That doesn’t erase all the good he’s done, or the many lessons he’s learned. Second, he has every right to celebrate his accomplishments. He’s a Black man in America. Shout it to the world forever and always! Always be proud of your work, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Lastly I’ll say, the biggest takeaway for me in this book, is just to conquer my fears. Take a chance and a risk on life. There’s always something better on the other side, if you’re willing to give it a try!
With Love, LOP 🙂