HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual…
Loading...

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Sidney Poitier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,520418,435 (3.62)30
"I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I've suddenly come up with the answers to all life's questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I've done at measuring up to the values I myself have set." --Sidney Poitier In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure--as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor. Poitier credits his parents and his childhood on tiny Cat Island in the Bahamas for equipping him with the unflinching sense of right and wrong and of self-worth that he has never surrendered and that have dramatically shaped his world. "In the kind of place where I grew up," recalls Poitier, "what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and momma's voice and the voice of your dad and the craziness of your brothers and sisters...and that's it." Without television, radio, and material distractions to obscure what matters most, he could enjoy the simple things, endure the long commitments, and find true meaning in his life. Poitier was uncompromising as he pursued a personal and public life that would honor his upbringing and the invaluable legacy of his parents. Just a few years after his introduction to indoor plumbing and the automobile, Poitier broke racial barrier after racial barrier to launch a pioneering acting career. Committed to the notion that what one does for a living articulates to who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition. Here is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifice and commitment, price and humility, rage and forgiveness, and paying the price for artistic integrity. What emerges is a picture of a man in the face of limits--his own and the world's. A triumph of the spirit, The Measure of a Man captures the essential Poitier.… (more)
Member:TheaterCNU
Title:The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
Authors:Sidney Poitier
Info:HarperSanFrancisco (2001), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:general, novel

Work details

The Measure of a Man : A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier (2000)

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
A man with Sidney Poitier's chops is entitled to take himself seriously. With the subtitle "A Spiritual Biography", the reader is advised to expect nothing less. For the most part, Mr. Poitier managed to balance his seriousness with enough self-deprecation and light-heartedness to keep this from being a "preachy" sort of book. Occasionally, though, in spite of his marvelous voice and diction (and those fleeting Island cadences!), I did find myself drifting away as one may do in church, losing the thread of his discourse on some too familiar sermon topics, such as the overindulgence of a generation of children which led to the sex-drugs-rocknroll culture, and so on. When talking about his experiences as a child growing up in the Bahamas, or as a young black man determined to make his way with honor in the world of theater and movie-making at a difficult time, Poitier is mesmerizing. Hearing him reminiscence about what it took to make films like "The Defiant Ones" and "A Patch of Blue" makes me very grateful for his moral presence in the world, as much as for his artistic contributions. His narration ranges from an easy conversational style to something more dramatic, almost Shakespearean at times. Recommended if you admire his work. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jun 11, 2020 |
Reminiscing about his life. Quick read. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Nov 24, 2018 |
Review This novel, published when Poitier was 73, is a philosophical reflection of his life, his accomplishments, and what makes for a life well lived in his opinion. It is also about race, integrity, grit and perseverance.

Poitier was born on Cat Island, a tiny island in the Bahamas. He was not aware of the color of his skin or what significance this would have on his life while on Cat Island. Indeed, there was not even a piece of glass that would have showed him his reflection in his childhood home. He lived a life of simplicity on the Island, with routines that could be counted on. It wasn't until age 10, when his family moved to Nassau that he saw his first automobile. In Nassau, Poitier was swept up with a grew of kids that stole and he narrowly escaped going to jail. His parents sent him to the US to live with one of his brothers and his family. He began working as a dishwasher, but ended up auditioning for a role in a play. He was told that since he didn't read, he should work as a dishwasher or something. He had never seen anything shameful in his work up until that point. After that, a Jewish man began to teach him to read every night after work. He worked hard and took acting classes drawn with a passion to acting from the start.

Poitier discusses the roles he was offered and refused because he did not feel the characters' actions portrayed integrity. He discusses his feelings about being black and outsider in America. He talks about his close friends, with whom he was often asked to sign an paper not to socialize with, because of their progressive views. Of course, he always refused. He speaks about how his value system, sense of self and integrity formed at an early age in a life of simplicity and how this grounded him. He let his ideals and strength of character guide him, even if this meant refusing a role and going hungry.

He talks about the movies he was part of, the actors he becomes friendly with, and his rise to fame, and the breaking of so many race barriers along the way. He speaks about his family, and his relationships with his two wives and children.

He is a gifted actor, writer and speaker. To hear him reflect upon his life within which he overcame such adversity is inspirational. One point that came through loud and clear in all of this was that now that are lives are more complicated and enriched in media, we have lost the simplicity that leads to quiet and profound reflection.

I'm not a big consumer of celebrity memoirs, but was challenged to read this as part of Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder Challenge. Sidney Poitier is a brilliant actor whose movies I've very much enjoyed and I was so pleased to get to know the man behind the actor in this memoir. I listened to the audio version, narrated by the author which has won numerous awards, as he is such a gifted speaker. If you decide you are interested in this book and are wanting to learn more about this charismatic, talented man I would highly recommend listening to the audio version. ( )
  marieatbookchatter | Apr 20, 2018 |
Accidently deleted this so adding this again. This will be filed under the category of Unputdownable. Started at around 3 and was done by 8pm. This one is a must read and should be on top of everyone's reading list. Just show how sheer grit, determination and following one's own inbuilt moral compass can lead you to greatness. A truly great read.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
Accidently deleted this so adding this again. This will be filed under the category of Unputdownable. Started at around 3 and was done by 8pm. This one is a must read and should be on top of everyone's reading list. Just show how sheer grit, determination and following one's own inbuilt moral compass can lead you to greatness. A truly great read.
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To my wife, Joanna Shimkus-Poitier, whose love and support has kept me steady in the wind.
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

"I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I've suddenly come up with the answers to all life's questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I've done at measuring up to the values I myself have set." --Sidney Poitier In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure--as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor. Poitier credits his parents and his childhood on tiny Cat Island in the Bahamas for equipping him with the unflinching sense of right and wrong and of self-worth that he has never surrendered and that have dramatically shaped his world. "In the kind of place where I grew up," recalls Poitier, "what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and momma's voice and the voice of your dad and the craziness of your brothers and sisters...and that's it." Without television, radio, and material distractions to obscure what matters most, he could enjoy the simple things, endure the long commitments, and find true meaning in his life. Poitier was uncompromising as he pursued a personal and public life that would honor his upbringing and the invaluable legacy of his parents. Just a few years after his introduction to indoor plumbing and the automobile, Poitier broke racial barrier after racial barrier to launch a pioneering acting career. Committed to the notion that what one does for a living articulates to who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition. Here is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifice and commitment, price and humility, rage and forgiveness, and paying the price for artistic integrity. What emerges is a picture of a man in the face of limits--his own and the world's. A triumph of the spirit, The Measure of a Man captures the essential Poitier.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.62)
0.5
1 6
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 7
3 64
3.5 13
4 67
4.5 5
5 44

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 150,805,748 books! | Top bar: Always visible