The Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney PoitierThe Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier

The Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

bySidney Poitier

Paperback | January 26, 2007

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"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.

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his outstanding performance inLilies of the Fieldin 1963. His landmark films includeThe Defiant Ones,A Patch of Blue,Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, andTo Sir, With Love. He has starred in over forty films, directed nine, and written four. He is the auth...
Title:The Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual AutobiographyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.63 inPublished:January 26, 2007Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061357901

ISBN - 13:9780061357909

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Struggles Insightful and fascinating reading
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Biography of Sidney Poitier. A good read of his life and his thoughts. Things that we should do in our life
Date published: 2014-02-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Average i never read his previous book so i cant compare the two. Before reading this book i was (and still am) a great fan of his acting. But this book really did seem like someone is very full of themselves. Not just acting on screen but maybe acting a bit in real life too. It was a well written book, easy to read but it gave a different perspective on a man i thought i may have known a bit about from his onscreen persona but perhaps i was wrong.
Date published: 2009-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Measure of a Man: a spiritual autobiography by Sidney Poitier This is not the first autobiography by Sidney Poitier, but it is a powerful one. It is a story of wholeness, of working to achieve the best within himself. The story begins on a small piece of isolated land, Cat Island, in the Bahamas, untouched by the outside world without even the most rudimentary of what most would call necessities, so untouched the locals don’t even know there are necessities, and they may be right. The true essential is family and that they do have. In this autobiography, Sidney Poitier looks within, the good and the bad, what drives a man, how to maintain dignity when all around attempts are made to remove the dignity. His first view that there was another kind of life, even that there was a world, was at the tender age of ten and a half, when he moved to Nassau, capitol of the Bahamas. This was the first time he lived outside the “Natural” world. A boy used to evaluating risk, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, he had never encountered the new types of risk. The thing is, he had prepared himself for life by believing that he was who he was, that not only could he be as good as anyone else but with hard work he could be better. This is the basis of the book. It covers many years of looking for answers, taking risks to better himself, searching for meaning, the how, the why, the when, the where. Successful as his career became, he still stretched from within to better himself. He wanted to avoid slipping into thinking things were pretty good as they were. He wanted to maintain his dignity, honour his father, be all he could be, and be the best father he could. I’m summarizing rather than delving too far into the book because the summation is constant for Poitier. I learned a great deal personally from this book and found it moved along very well, although I did notice a bit of a stall or slow spot toward the end which did pick up again, so it didn’t last very long. This is not about black and white except where necessary, this is about being human and where humanity belongs in Nature’s world. I believe it is an excellent book and recommend it for the many lessons that can be learned.
Date published: 2009-02-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An achiever As he is driven, insightful and uplifiting, it was a pleasure to read about the extraordinary life and experiences of one of the most important actors to grace the silver screen with his prowess.
Date published: 2008-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the BEST! Sidney Poitier is a truly wonderful man. His story is from the heart. I would love to read his other book...the one he wrote for his great-great-granddaughter. What a wonderful story teller he is.
Date published: 2008-07-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from full of it Before reading this book, I was a fan of the man, but now, I think he's full of it and a little cocky and arrogant. I mean, he has accomplished alot, but please! The entire time I felt like I was being lectured by my grade 4 teacher - whom I hated.
Date published: 2008-07-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I thought it would be.... I bought this book over a year ago and still have not finshed it, mind you I am almost finished. It just didn't have a good flow and I don't think there is a point anywhere in the book that totally has me. Yes, there are some observatations regarding life that are bang on but nothing astounding. I wanted so much to like the book, I'd have to say, it was a disappointment...
Date published: 2008-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wanted to love it... Although it is undeniable Sidney Poitier has led a fascinating life, this autobiography hardly does it justice. The book starts off strong, with stories from his childhood in the Bahamas, to his move to America as a teen, but it stalls during the last half when his focus shifts to mainly why he chose certain movie roles and how they were received by the public. His willingness to admit his weaknesses throughout was charming, but I would have liked to know more about those who made him the man he has become - his closest friends and family, whom he rarely discusses.
Date published: 2008-04-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Paperback poorly edited Mr. Poitier is a good story teller. But my copy was the worst edited book I've read in a long time. There were sentences and paragraphs that repeated themselves. The book started off with some great stories, and I was interested to read more, but I got the impression that the end of the book was rushed. The later chapters did not have the same heart as the first ones.
Date published: 2008-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Measure Of A Man This book outlines the humble beginings of Sidney Poitiers life and shows what one can achieve by perseverance and strength of character. What we learn when we are growing up is truly the "measure "which determines who we will be when we mature . Sidney Poitier the successful actor, the successful man is what he is today because of all that he learnt when he was growing up. That brings such a positive outlook for the younger generations. That is truly the embodiment of the "Secret". We do not have to be weighed down by a past that was filled with poverty and hard work.We can go ahead in life and turn it around by what we have learnt from that heavy past! The positive note in this book outcries everything else for me. I also love the way Mr Poitier has analyzed every little detail fro his past and measured it up to where it has helped him to be the man he has turned out to be. We can all write autobiographies about our lives but Mr Poitier has also given a message. I loved it
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mediocre memoirs of a good man These memoirs will be of interest to devout fans of Sidney Poitier. The author is a brilliant story teller. However, at times the memoirs are of a man at times in awe of himself, and a little more modesty would have made for a better story. Expecting a memoir of what Mr. Poitier thinks a man should be, I became bored towards the second half of the book reading about how great the author feels he measures.
Date published: 2007-07-30
Date published: 2007-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written When I first bought this book i was hesitant to read it, just because I was scared with was going to be just like every other book by a celebrity. IT WAS NOT EVEN CLOSE!!! This has to be one of the most beautiful books ever written.
Date published: 2007-02-08

Editorial Reviews

Having already penned a book about his professsional life, legendary actor Sidney Poitier tackles a greater subject--life itself--with this new spiritual autobiography.