The Measure of a Man

  • by Sidney Poitier
  • Narrated by Sidney Poitier
  • 8 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. 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 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.


What the Critics Say

Oprah's Book Club Selection
Audio Publishers Association 2001 Award Winner, Nonfiction, Unabridged
Grammy Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2001
"Moving...Poitier writes with vivid emotion about [past] clashes and brings them blazingly alive." (The New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Poitier tells his story with humor, humility and wisdom. I am not usually interested in the life of celebrities but maybe I should be. The topics he covers are all over the place and he can make listening to anything worthwhile. His personal experiences coming to the U.S. before the civil rights movement, his selectiveness about the roles he would play and his insights into the films and plays he starred in are so interesting. I want to rent his movies and think about his comments. I liked his thoughts on parenting and belonging. Great audio. He should write more and this should be listened to, not read.
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- Gail Kelleher


I have listened to dozens of audio books (I have a daily work commute of about 60 miles roundtrip) and this is the first time I have written a review. This recording compelled me to do so. This work is not a chronological, blow-by-blow description of Poitier's life. If you are looking for that, this is not a book for you. Rather, it is a summation of some of the significant events in his life and the effect that those events had on the development of his being and character. I found this approach to be refreshing. It is obvious that Poitier's ability to write equals, or surpasses, his ability to act. But what made this recording special is Poitier's reading of it. He pours the full dramatic power of his voice (which is substantial) into it. It is clear that he is speaking from the heart. It is almost as if the listener is sitting at Poitier's kitchen table, sipping coffee with him, while he tells you about his life. Like a good movie, this is a recording that I will listen to several times to make sure that I hear, and comprehend, all of the nuances in the story. Oh...and one more thing. There isn't the slightest hint of ego or self-aggrandizement in this work. It is purely from the heart. I highly recommend it.
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- Alfred

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-26-2007
  • Publisher: HarperAudio