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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    302
  • 4 Stars
    158
  • 3 Stars
    90
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    19

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    203
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    169
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    10
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • GJ
  • 09-10-12

Great Story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Measure of a Man to be better than the print version?

Yes! To hear the author tell "his" story seem to bring it to life. By emphasizing the things that were important to him, made the story more real and enjoyable.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Measure of a Man?

His childhood, when he talked about his father and the lessons learned from him, which actually dictates the title of the Book.

Which character – as performed by Sidney Poitier – was your favorite?

It was his own character, as he relived the importance of the lessons that became the measures of this man.

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

When he spoke of his mother, her love and their closeness as a family. She was really the core of the family. She cooked, cleaned, did all the chores and took care of the family, and never complained.

Any additional comments?

The Measure of a Man is not a "tell all" or "biography", but the wonderful story of a man's values and morals. It speaks to the measures of humanity and how it applied to this man's life. Really Good Book!!!!! I highly recommend it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A pure treat! Honest and moving!

Mr. Poitier's incredible voice of course is one of the highlights of this purchase! His honest story of his life is at once magical and relatably ordinary. I had to watch 'Patch of Blue' to extend my Sidney Poitier experience and bought the paperback for my mother for Mother's Day! I would like to write Sidney a letter and encourage him to stage his production that he was so moved by another's stage performance to create and 'let the lion within roar!' We would love to come and see you!!! This is the only reason I clicked 4 stars for the story instead of 5. I was sad that he hadn't produced and starred in his own stage production! Thank you for writing this book, Sidney Poitier!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marie
  • Port Shepstone, South Africa
  • 05-14-12

Excellent in every way. A very worthwhile listen.

If you could sum up The Measure of a Man in three words, what would they be?

Congruent, Honest. Entertaining.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sidney

Which scene was your favorite?

His early life with his parents

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

At times I laughed and at other times, I wept.

Any additional comments?

Beautiful diction and pronunciation.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Pamela
  • MEMPHIS, TN, United States
  • 05-08-12

Cat island youth to manhood

HIs articulation of the english language and memory of his youth and the stepping stones to manhood were amazing. His business since and determination to only except excellent roles to his childhood charater and behaviors made him what he is today exceptional, professional, and great.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul
  • United States
  • 05-04-12

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!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

  • Overall
  • chris
  • las vegas, NV, United States
  • 08-17-10

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.

  • Overall
  • Jill
  • Ocean Shores, WA, United States
  • 05-02-10

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!

  • Overall

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.

  • Overall

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".