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The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography | [Sidney Poitier]

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

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.
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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

4.0 (499 )
5 star
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4.3 (172 )
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4.5 (172 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Paul United States 05-04-12
    Paul United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    Performance
    Story
    "HEAR you GO!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This takes audio books to a new high for me. The full measure of a man in his own words! Unequaled and Superb. If you only had one audio book in your library this would be that book. That Good!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author takes you into his mind and values on a solid gold adventure in reality. We may not all measure up though we may have the nerve to stand and cheer when it's been done with such integrity and honesty.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Don't be small it was all good!


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

    That's the thing! The film has been made this is THE STORY! that is woven between them.


    Any additional comments?

    Wow. I had no Idea I could be so Angry I couldn't loan it to a friend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toyin Daranijoh 03-12-12 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    6
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    "Stand out"
    If you could sum up The Measure of a Man in three words, what would they be?

    Wisdom


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Transition from poor to rich and how you never get away from being poor.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 08-17-10
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 08-17-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "snooze"

    Oprah said to like this, so some people are going to like it already before they open the book. I am giving it three stars, because it has a very personal feel to the narration. I am not going to say this is a bad book, only that it was not for me. A few hours into it, I had to ask myself really why was I going to waste another few hours learning about an actor that will be forgotten in 20 years instead of reading about someone who made a bigger impact on history. Nothing against Portier, but two or three hours into it that's why I gave up. Almost anyone can sit back and tell you about their life, but I felt there were better stories out there. that's all. This is not a bad book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Ocean Shores, WA, United States 05-02-10
    Jill Ocean Shores, WA, United States 05-02-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful!"

    Content was just as I expected-well stated, honest and forthright. The whole book was made even better by the fact it was read by the author! Thank you, Mr. Poitier!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trisha B 01-30-10
    Trisha B 01-30-10 Member Since 2015
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    "EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!"

    This is one of the most moving stories that I have ever listened to. Poitier's character is what I would want in a husband or a son. If you are raising a boy, read this book. If you are finding a spouse, read this book. If you want a clear definition of what a good man is, read this book. If you are an educator, as I am, read this book and mention it to your students.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Kalamazoo, MI, United States 05-05-08
    Janet Kalamazoo, MI, United States 05-05-08 Member Since 2006
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    133
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    "Mr. Poitier"

    Mr. Poitier is someone I've always admired. This incredible story, his story, is beautifully written and read by the author. It's a wonderful "listen".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlie glendale heights, IL, USA 07-10-07
    Charlie glendale heights, IL, USA 07-10-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "From Rags to Riches"

    Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but this is a real epic book taking you on a journey in a man's life from being poor to a star. This is a fantastic book, definitely worth getting.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    valueshopper PA 06-24-07
    valueshopper PA 06-24-07 Listener Since 2007

    valueshopper

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A"

    Honest and wise with a touch of humor, Poiter's memoir is engaging. I wanted to know more about Poiter the person aside from his career. Born in the 70's, Poiter's story motivates me check out his work to better understand his insights. Overall I would recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monjori woodhaven, NY, USA 06-13-08
    Monjori woodhaven, NY, USA 06-13-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "ITS OK"

    in the beginning it was sort of inetersting but eventually I lost track of it. As an autobiography I will say this is an average one.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ramin Berlin, N/A, Germany 04-07-07
    Ramin Berlin, N/A, Germany 04-07-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
    Overall
    "disappointing"

    if you're a disney portier fan this might be a great listening. if you're not, it's just plain boring. i stopped listening after the first hour, it just wasn't interesting.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful

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