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Life Beyond Measure

Letters to My Great-Granddaughter
Narrated by: Sidney Poitier
Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

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, from one of our most respected celebrities and a national treasure, will inspire listeners to live the fullest life with integrity.

©2008 Sidney Poitier (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

2008 Grammy Nominee, Best Spoken Word Album

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ricky
  • 10-12-2009

What a life this man had.

Amazing biography and some morale common sense lessons.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharks In San Diego
  • 07-09-2015

Like his name this book is uniquely informative

Calming voice ,life lessons in stories thank you and bless you. Cherishable read .Your granddaughter is so lucky to have a living father time with so many rich experiences.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam Shields
  • 31-10-2019

Mix of family history and life advice.

Summary: Letters to his granddaughter with a mix of family history and life advice.
Of course, I am aware of Sidney Poitier’s acting. But I had no understanding of his life story. I picked this up blind from the library.

Sidney Poitier grew up on Cat Island. A small island in the Caribbean, without electricity, running water, or cars. When he was 10, his family moved to Nassau where he first tried ice cream and first saw a movie (both recounted in the book.) He also got into trouble and was sent to live with his older brother in Miami when he was 15.

Again he got into trouble and at 16 moved to NYC and worked a series of dishwashing jobs, before a brief stint in the Army and more dishwashing jobs. He was functionally illiterate at this point. A waiter at one of the restaurants he was working at taught him after work over a series of weeks until his reading improved enough that he could work at it on his own.

Poitier saw a newspaper for an actor when he was looking for a new dishwashing job and figured that acting would be less work than dishwashing. He failed on his first audition, but later convinced an acting teacher to take him on. His tenacity and talent eventually led to stage acting jobs, which led to a few movie roles. At 24, he was in Cry Beloved Country. He was first nominated for an Academy Award in 1958 for Defiant Ones but did not win an Academy Award until 1964 with Lillies of the Field.

Once he left his parents at 15, he did not send them a letter or contact them again until 1950, when he was 23. He says he was ashamed for not making something of himself. So it was not until he finished his first movie and had a couple of weeks before his next that he went back to Nassau.

Poitier’s story is fascinating, and when he is in storytelling mode, the book is riveting. When he is in advice mode, the advice and book are mixed. I was interested in his perspective and how his movement from a childhood without electricity or any other modern amenities to a life of wealth and fame shaped how he understands the contemporary world. But there were lots of thoughts on all kinds of subjects as well, from science to religion to money to family obligation.

I must admit I was pretty bored the last 15 percent or so of the book. But I did enjoy the book overall, and at some point, I will pick up one of Portier’s memoirs and more directly hear his whole story. I listened to the audiobook, and his narration did add to the book. He was in his early 80s when he narrated, so there is both age and weight in the voice. He is not at the prime of his career, but you clearly can hear the talent. Life Beyond Measure was published almost exactly ten years ago, so his great-granddaughter, who is addressed in the book is about 12-13 now.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-2019

wow!

As I listened, at times I thought I was listening to my own late father

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  • Tori
  • 07-05-2019

LOVED IT

I loved this book! I love Mr. Poitier so to hear some real life stories from him warmed my heart. Great stories Mr. Poitier!

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  • Mark H
  • 07-09-2013

Almost a curates egg

I have admired Sidney Poitier's performance in many films and I thought this book would give me an insight into the real man, which it did. The book is constructed around letters that Poitier penned to his great granddaughter, in which he shares his experiences of life and his home grown philosophy. The problem that I had was that I wanted to know more about his experiences of working on his major films and he does not do that. Also, the start of each chapter directly addresses his great-granddaughter in a way that was rather cloying. So, I found the good bits were the very candid biographical nuggets of a man who started out from a very poor situation and who travelled through life with great dignity. However, about half of the book was of less interest, being either Poitier's philosophical views, or sentiments aimed at his great granddaughter. If an editor had extracted biographical information and enhanced it with inputs from other people, about Poitier's life and career, then I think it would make a five star read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful