I wasn't born in West Philly and I'm definitely not a famous rapper or actor but a lot of this story resonated with me. It was inspiring to hear Smith reflect in his own words on his life. Both to tell the story as he experienced it at the time and at a time to add the lens of what he has learned since then.
This is definitely one of those Better on Audio books. Smith narrates the book himself, he produces it with music and sound effects. It feels earnest. He is arguably one of the best actors in history. In the story, he pours all of his years of being an entertainer and does an incredible job of portraying the different sides and stories of Will Smith.
There is a fair amount of acknowledgment of his many acting accolades. However, I appreciate that he uses it as a moment to reflect on how the same principles of discipline and order that drove his career to its pinnacle also prevented him from recognizing his own or anyone else's feelings. If you have struggled with people-pleasing or perfectionism, I think that you would find a lot in this story that resonates with you as well. Mark Manson was the co-author of this book and it comes packed with a lot of the wisdom and humor he included in his other books like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.
Ultimately it feels like a love story to all the people who helped form Smith into who he is today. One of the most heartwarming aspects of Smith's story is that the friends that he surrounded himself with at the start of his career were still the people by his side over thirty years later.
Overall, I really liked this one. I found myself laughing and crying and celebrating and laughing. I was surprised by how deep and applicable it was. I learned a few new things about his career. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and Smith's performance was a knockout.
Since I read this during the Oscars though, it does make me wonder what the Smith who wrote the book would say to the one who smacked Chris Rock?