Today’s post is just an informative one about a new book/audiobook published this week by Will Smith. This book is autobiographical and memoir style. I’m listening to it via Penguin Audio, which in my opinion is one of the best ways to “read” memoirs (listening to the author tell you their stories!).
The book is entitled simply Will and published on 9 November 2021 by Penguin Press. Here is the official Goodreads summary for what it entails:
One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had.
Will Smith’s transformation from a fearful child in a tense West Philadelphia home to one of the biggest rap stars of his era and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, with a string of box office successes that will likely never be broken, is an epic tale of inner transformation and outer triumph, and Will tells it astonishingly well. But it’s only half the story.
Will Smith thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn’t see it that way: they felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn’t signed up for. It turned out Will Smith’s education wasn’t nearly over.
This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. Written with the help of Mark Manson, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one person mastered his own emotions, written in a way that can help everyone else do the same. Few of us will know the pressure of performing on the world’s biggest stages for the highest of stakes, but we can all understand that the fuel that works for one stage of our journey might have to be changed if we want to make it all the way home. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself.
I’m personally really excited to complete this book. I love The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and some of Will Smith’s other works, including his time in music. I am interested really in just learning what I can about his experience, hopefully quite a bit about the show and maybe his relationships with other cast members. Of course, there will be plenty about his childhood, family, wife/children, etc.
My quick thoughts so far is that I absolutely love the cover. I am kinda amazed really that I hadn’t seen any media attention for this release prior to this week. I subscribe to tons of emails, work with books all day long, read constantly, and use bookish social media constantly, and I never saw much of anything about this release. I saw a mention in a newsletter this week and was surprised! I thought maybe it was a book ABOUT Smith, not by Smith. Either way, I love the cover, it’s really cool and I would like to see the edition IRL especially if there are photographs (I’m sure there are).
The audio is crisp and of course a high quality production. I honestly believe that memoirs/autobios are great on audio most of the time. I’ve yet to listen to one that wasn’t. There’s just that added level of intimacy in the storytelling process when you can hear the author recount their words.
Put this one on your radar if you’re into memoirs, autobiographies, nonfiction, celebrities/media history, etc. I suppose it’s really best if you’re a fan of Will Smith, but I’ve hardly ever heard of anyone who wasn’t. Review to come, no where near finished with this one yet!
New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/09/books/review-will-smith-memoir.html