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The Measure of a Man Audiobook

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

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Publisher's Summary

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. 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 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.

Actor and icon: listen to more about Sidney Poitier.
Or check out more selections from Oprah's Book Club.

©2000 Sidney Poitier; (P)2000 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

  • Oprah's Book Club Selection
  • Audio Publishers Association 2001 Award Winner, Nonfiction, Unabridged
  • Grammy Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2001

"Moving...Poitier writes with vivid emotion about [past] clashes and brings them blazingly alive." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (533 )
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4.5 (205 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lorraine Braithwaite-Harte 01-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Narration"

    Wonderfully narrated with passion & very insightful into the life of a man I have admired since childhood!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Babatunde 01-17-15
    Babatunde 01-17-15
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    "Great book"

    Excellent book I highly recommend it to anyone interested in true greatness without losing your soul. Great work indeed. Thanks

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dr Frank Beaver Falls, PA, United States 09-15-14
    dr Frank Beaver Falls, PA, United States 09-15-14 Member Since 2011

    Lover of life and lover of books! I read/listen to a wide range (many) but my favorite non fiction are self-help and autobiographies.

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    "Intriguing history of a great actor"

    First, his voice is amazing! The tell of his youth and the struggles to build him into the man he became is amazing. As others stated, it seemed he rambled on and on diminishing the value of the point. There were times when I kept checking how much was left of the book. Overall, the book is very good and I rated it 4 stars but if 3.5 were available that is my selection. I wanted to learn about a man who had tremendous impact on the culture and history of this nation which is why I listened to the book. Additionally, it was recommended as a must listen. I wouldn't say it is a must listen but it is worth listening to at least once. I wouldn't listen to it a second time and would recommend it as a listen for those who enjoy learning about successful people who paved the path in history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Orting, WA, United States 10-08-13
    Lynn Orting, WA, United States 10-08-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Mixed review"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I liked the first part best when he was telling stories of his life. I didn't like the latter part so much when he was "lecturing" about morals, etc. I felt he adequately made his point with the stories of his life, the rest I felt was filler.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Sidney Poitier? Why or why not?

    Yes, I originally wanted to purchase the book about his learning to read.


    What does Sidney Poitier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has an amazing voice and presence and it think books are always better served, when read by their authors.


    Was The Measure of a Man worth the listening time?

    Yes, Mostly.


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Poitier lived an exceptional life, and I really enjoyed learning more about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theta STERLING, VA, United States 09-29-13
    Theta STERLING, VA, United States 09-29-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Sad Life"
    Would you listen to The Measure of a Man again? Why?

    Not sure


    What did you like best about this story?

    Did like his honesty. He is really a likable chap, just a wee bit confused.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His decision not to play a part that he didn't approve. Love that quality.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Sadly his separation with his wife - he didn't go into much detail there, but from needing 11 years of psychoanalysis makes me think he made the wrong decision.


    Any additional comments?

    He has reached 70 years of age and is still searching for a core purpose. But, he can find that if he just cries out to the Lord Jesus. There were many miracles in his life that only God could orchestrate, and He gave Sydney much wisdom in some of the circumstances he encountered. I see God's hand on his life, and I hope that he really turns to Him before he dies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Palatine, IL, United States 07-25-13
    Sharon Palatine, IL, United States 07-25-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Measuring life."
    What made the experience of listening to The Measure of a Man the most enjoyable?

    I loved this book. Mr. Poitier has shown us to be humble and proud of what we each have. To appreciate our world and each other. It is amazing everything he has overcome to be where he is.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the triumph!


    What does Sidney Poitier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mr. Poitier reading this book made everything as it should be. His story is real and you live it with each word he speaks.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristy 07-22-13
    Kristy 07-22-13 Member Since 2016

    Practical Shopper

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    "What's not to love!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Measure of a Man to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The well articulated history of the story.


    What does Sidney Poitier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    EMOTION! His voice is perfect for reading anyway...in my opinion.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13 Member Since 2012

    There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson

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    "The Measure of a Man"

    Although I enjoyed hearing Sidney Poitier's story, I found this book somewhat rambling. It seemed like he spoke into a recorder, and then it was transcribed into a book. It WAS fun to hear his voice as the narrator. I listened to the book and also had the Kindle version. At times I followed the print and the audio, and I found that he was speaking words that weren't in the Kindle version! The two version didn't always match, in other words. That convinced me that somehow the editing/writing was haphazard. The sections on his life in Hollywood and his intersection with the civil rights movement were the most interesting. The "spiritual" part about his outlook on life etc was not as uplifting as I had hoped.

    I can remember being a first year teacher way back when and thinking of Poitier's movie, To Sir with Love, and how he faces an unruly class. I remember asking myself, " What would Sidney Poitier do?" when a situation occurred that was similar to the movie where a student dropped a sanitary napkin or tampax on the classroom floor :) I need to find that movie and watch it now - so many years later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey Arcola, IL, United States 03-12-13
    Stacey Arcola, IL, United States 03-12-13 Member Since 2013
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    "WOW!!!!!!!!!!"
    If you could sum up The Measure of a Man in three words, what would they be?

    AMAZING LIKE SIDNEY!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I'm still just in the first chapter and I've laughed out loud and cried. This book is amazing already! I cannot wait to finish it, but will be so sad when it's over!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LynneG The Rocky Mountains, USA 03-01-13
    LynneG The Rocky Mountains, USA 03-01-13 Member Since 2014

    Yarn Yearner, Story Seeker, Legend Lover, Fable Fanatic and Tale Teller

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    "Things I Never Knew About Poitier"
    Would you listen to The Measure of a Man again? Why?

    I don't generally listen to things more than once. There is too much to learn in the world.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Poitier as a child was fascinating. What different people we might all be if all of us grew up not knowing what others had. The concept of contentment because there is no knowledge that there is more was something to think about. Rather than 5 year olds demanding designer jeans, how about a childhood where if you are hungry, you go fishing or gather fruit. Nobody has"things" so the avaricious tendencies of our society are tempered. Poitier recognizes the value of an extremely simple childhood. What a boon if more children could grow up this way.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    How much do we REALLY need?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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