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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 (601 )
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4.6 (268 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ann Staunton, VA, USA 03-08-07
    Ann Staunton, VA, USA 03-08-07
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    "Mixed Feelings"

    I was torn between really liking this and not really liking this recording. I loved that the author narrated it himself, that was wonderful. I just couldn't decide if the author had something significant to say about the Measure of a Man or whether he was simply writing a book to talk about himself or to be heard on certain topics. I would not recommend this book to anyone however I can't say it's a bad book either.
    If you know all of his work you probably will enjoy the chapters he talks specifically about how the movie came to be and how he got the part in it.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13 Member Since 2017
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl LangwarrinAustralia 10-17-08
    Cheryl LangwarrinAustralia 10-17-08
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    "the most beautiful man"

    Everyone, do yourself a favour and download this beautiful book. It is such a treasure to listen to, i just loved every second of it. I loved it so much that i have bought the hard copy to read again at pleasure. Cheryl

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Ramona, CA, USA 08-08-07
    Randy Ramona, CA, USA 08-08-07 Member Since 2011
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    "Good book on an admired actor"

    I remember as a kid thinking that the movie "To Sir with Love" was a great movie. This book was a short review of his life and a great reflection on his childhood and his parents. I am not much of a movie buff and generally do not even know actors names, however, Sidney Poitier has always drawn some admiration. I would recommend this book for anyone that is a fan or anyone looking for a good short read to reflect on a "simpler" time.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gale 04-19-07
    Gale 04-19-07 Member Since 2004
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    "So satisfying"

    Plenty of insider experiences vault this life story over more hurdles than most Hollywood stars face on or off the screen. Sidney Poitier's childhood and early life would make a decent movie but even Superman as director couldn't reveal the steel in this man's soul. Poitier's rich voice delivers one of the best autobiographies to come along in ages.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alphonse Potomac, MD, USA 04-17-07
    Alphonse Potomac, MD, USA 04-17-07 Member Since 2003
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    "Wonderful Memoirs"

    This book provides wonderful insights into the thoughts and personality of Sidney Poitier and I think is significantly enhanced by the fact that it is read by him. The book also works as a contrast in his impoverished up-bringing on Cat island and the difficulties he faces in moving to the US.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina Moscow, PA, USA 03-03-07
    Regina Moscow, PA, USA 03-03-07
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    "The Measure of A Man"

    This is a magnificient format to enjoy this book. The wonderful story-telling of Sidney Poitier along with his distinctive voice captures your attention like you're sitting with a wise friend and hearing his compelling stories of the past. It's inspiring.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-26-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Thank you!"

    Thank you for sharing your story and the life nuggets, Mr. Poitier! I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hans Rigelman 04-21-17 Member Since 2016
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    "An Honest and Heartfelt Autobiography"

    From his early years growing up in the Bahamas through his struggles raising a family and starting a career in acting Sidney Poitier tells his own story along with his thoughts on life and its meaning. The Audible edition is worth listening to, though I gave the performance only four stars ironically because his voice trails off to a whisper at times making it difficult to hear while driving in the car.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 04-12-17
    Paul 04-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Ego driven & Unenlightened"

    An average story told overly theatrically. I was disappointed because I love his acting, however it comes across as pompous, arrogant and ultimately, selfish and unrelatable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    3/9/07
    Overall
    "zzzzzzzzzzz"

    A boring and pretentious book. The saving grace is that it is read by Sidney Poitier himself. Any other narrator and I probably would have switched it off. If I had had to read it, I would have given up long before the end. Buy something else.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Nancy
    DevizesUnited Kingdom
    4/5/07
    Overall
    "Slow and a good sedative!"

    I was interested in the book as Oprah had raved about it, I like to listen to them in the car, but not this one as his voice would put me to sleep. Towards the middle end of the book, his recounts of the movie era are interesting but I would say it was disappointing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mich
    3/18/15
    Overall
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    "Captivating and insightful"

    This was a very exciting audio book. I was held by Mr Poitier's voice and transported to the scene of wherever he spoke about. There were a lot of insightful life lessons worthy of great consideration and application. I am grateful for Mr Poitier's honesty and ability to share his story; making it accessible to all. This is a timeless classic and one I will be returning to again and again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Patrick Oduguwa
    9/22/17
    Overall
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    "The journey of life"

    A deep journey through the life of a formidable character. it spells out the ups and downs we have gone through and will go through in life. Not forgetting the blessing and fun time that forms part of our journey of life. I love this material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sammy green
    8/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A masterclass in compelling narration! Brilliant! "

    A great book from one of the most respected actors of all time. A truly gifted storyteller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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