The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

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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 the contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in selfquestioning. 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."

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 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 selfworth 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 who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition.

Here, finally, is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifice and commitment, pride and humility, rage and forgiveness, and paying the price for artistic integrity, What emerges is a picture of a man seeking truth, passion, and balance 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.

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About the author

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his outstanding performance in Lilies of the Field in 1963. His landmark films include The Defiant Ones, A Patch of Blue, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and To Sir, With Love. He has starred in over forty films, directed nine, and written four. He is the author of two autobiographies: This Life and the "Oprah's Book Club" pick and New York Times bestseller The Measure of a Man. Among many other accolades, Poitier has been awarded the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor, the Life Achievement Award, for an outstanding career and humanitarian accomplishment. He is married, has six daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Oct 13, 2009
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780061747489
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A baby is born with a coin in her hand. An orphan crafts a mysterious wooden object. The CEO of a large corporation finds himself under extraordinary pressure at work and at home. And on a remote hilltop on a Caribbean island, a medicine man seems to understand the meaning of all these events and to hold the key to the future.
 
Montaro Caine, CEO of the Fitzer Corporation, is losing control of the company he built just as his teenage daughter is experiencing her own difficulties. At this moment of crisis, a man and woman appear at his office with a coin of unknown provenance, composed of a metal unknown on Earth. Montaro immediately recognizes it as the companion of a coin he analyzed as a graduate student working in a lab at MIT, which was later returned to its unidentified owner. The coin’s appearance draws the attention of scientists, collectors, financiers, and thieves, all of whom vie to get their hands on it, and Montaro himself hopes that the discovery of the coin will save his company. But the value of the coin lies not in its monetary worth but in its hold on the people who come into contact with it. These include the young woman who is not aware of the object that was found in her hand at birth; an old man who, as a boy, crafted a wooden compact as a gift for a young Montaro Caine; and the elusive healer Matthew Perch, who, from his hut on a small Caribbean island, knows precisely why these people have been brought together and what wisdom the coin imparts.
 
In his first novel, the beloved actor and director Sidney Poitier takes us on a wild and unexpected adventure—from New York to Europe to the Caribbean and beyond. The novel offers Poitier’s heartfelt message about the potential each of us has within ourselves, and about being open to the possibility that there are mysteries in the universe, and here on Earth, far greater than we can imagine. An enthralling journey into the magic of existence, Montaro Caine is a radiant debut from an American legend.

Praise for Montaro Caine
 
“Some might feel it’s quintessentially Poitier. Elegant, if a book can be elegant, with a bit of mystery and Caribbean flavor thrown in for good measure. Like his famed movie roles in Lilies of the Field and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, he once again offers up a moving performance.”—USA Today
 
“An intricate, electrifying journey. Academy Award winner Poitier creates multifaceted characters, with Montaro in particular exhibiting a rare realism; Montaro’s encounters with others are at once honest, intense, and mesmerizing. While the narrative has an urgency that will keep readers anticipating, it is also poetic. . . . Part mystery, part science fiction, this book excites like Agatha Christie’s Murder of Roger Ackroyd and will appeal especially to lovers of suspense.”—Library Journal

“[A] captivating blend of corporate intrigue and science fiction . . . a thought-provoking tale of caution and hope that is as elegant and riveting as the legendary actor and director himself.”—Booklist
 
“Surprisingly intricate . . . sure to please his many fans.”—Publishers Weekly

“Elegantly written and keenly observed . . . a Little Prince for grown-ups.”—Kirkus Reviews
Sidney Poitier is one of the most revered actors in the history of Hollywood. He has overcome enormous obstacles in extraordinary times and is a role model for many Americans because of his convictions, bravery, and grace. Poitier reflects on his amazing life in Life Beyond Measure, offering inspirational advice and personal stories in the form of extended letters to his great-granddaughter. Writing for all who admire his example and who search for wisdom only a man of great experience can offer, this American icon shares his thoughts on love, faith, courage, and the future.

Poitier draws upon the perspective and wisdom gained from his memories as a poor boy in the Bahamas, his experience of racism coming to the United States, falling in love and raising a family, breaking the race barrier in theater and film during the Civil Rights Era, achieving stardom and success in Hollywood, and being a diplomat and humanitarian. He reflects on the deepest questions and the significant passages of his life, the virtues that helped him through tough times, and the sense of purpose and history that strengthened him. He emphasizes the importance of the role of faith in a technological age, as well as our responsibility to the earth and future generations. Throughout, Poitier shares stories about the people of courage he has met along the way and the meaning of life in the face of death.

Life Beyond Measure is the perfect book to inspire readers to live the fullest life with integrity, from one of our most respected celebrities and a national treasure.

From Taraji P. Henson, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner, and star of the award-winning film Hidden Figures, comes an inspiring and funny memoir—“a bona fide hit” (Essence)—about family, friends, the hustle required to make it in Hollywood, and the joy of living your own truth.

With a sensibility that recalls her beloved screen characters, including Katherine, the NASA mathematician, Yvette, Queenie, Shug, and the iconic Cookie from Empire, Taraji P. Henson writes of her family, the one she was born into and the one she created. She shares stories of her father, a Vietnam vet who was bowed but never broken by life’s challenges, and of her mother who survived violence both at home and on DC’s volatile streets. Here, too, she opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden but which she saw as a gift.

Around the Way Girl is also a classic actor’s memoir in which Taraji reflects on the world-class instruction she received at Howard University and how she chipped away, with one small role after another, at Hollywood's resistance to give women, particularly women of color, meaty significant roles. With laugh-out-loud humor and candor, she shares the challenges and disappointments of the actor’s journey and shows us that behind the red carpet moments, she is ever authentic. She is at heart just a girl in pursuit of her dreams in this “inspiring account of overcoming adversity and a quest for self-discovery, written with vitality and enthusiasm” (Shelf Awareness).
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

CNN correspondent Brian Stelter reveals the dark side of morning television with exclusive material about current and past morning stars, from Matt Lauer to Katie Couric

When America wakes up with personable and charming hosts like Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos, it's hard to imagine their show bookers having to guard a guest's hotel room all night to prevent rival shows from poaching. But that is just a glimpse of the intense reality revealed in this gripping look into the most competitive time slot in television.

Featuring exclusive content about all the major players of the 2000s, TOP OF THE MORNING illuminates what it takes to win the AM -- when every single viewer counts, tons of jobs are on the line, and hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. Stelter is behind the scenes as Ann Curry replaces Meredith Vieira on the Today show, only to be fired a year later in a fiasco that made national headlines. He's backstage as Good Morning America launches an attack to dethrone Today and end the longest consecutive winning streak in morning television history. And he's there as Roberts is diagnosed with a crippling disease -- on what should be the happiest day of her career.

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and discover the dark side of the sun.

PRAISE FOR TOP OF THE MORNING
"Mr. Stelter pulls back the curtains and exposes a savage corporate world that might have been inhabited by the Sopranos." - Washington Times

"A troubling look inside an enterprise as vicious and internecine as a soap opera." - Kirkus Reviews
"Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's deft weave of social history and sharp entertainment reporting explains how [The Mary Tyler Moore Show] made the world safe for Lena Dunham" (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls)—the making of a classic and groundbreaking TV show, as experienced by its producers, writers, and cast.

When writer-producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns dreamed up an edgy show about a divorced woman with a career, the CBS executives they pitched replied: “American audiences won’t tolerate divorce in a series’ lead any more than they will tolerate Jews, people with mustaches, and people who live in New York.”

Forty years later, The Mary Tyler Moore Show is one of the most beloved and recognizable television shows of all time. It was an inspiration to a generation of women who wanted to have it all in an era when everything seemed possible.

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted tells the stories behind the making of this popular classic, introducing the groundbreaking female writers who lent real-life stories to their TV scripts; the men who created the indelible characters; the lone woman network executive who cast the legendary ensemble—and advocated for this provocative show—and the colorful cast of actors who made it all work. James L. Brooks, Grant Tinker, Allan Burns, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel—they all came together to make a show that changed women’s lives and television itself. Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted is the tale of how they did it.
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