You don’t become a megastar like Will Smith without picking up a bit of wisdom—and some seriously amazing stories—along the way. Collaborating with self-help author Mark Manson, Smith chronicles his life and career and shares inspiring observations about the lessons he’s learned. (The quote “living is the journey from not knowing to knowing” really stuck with us.) Smith is just as charismatic as an audiobook narrator as he is on screen. Even when he’s discussing painful topics, like how much of his drive and ambition were shaped by his abusive, alcoholic dad, his raw honesty and charm shine through. We loved hearing about his meteoric rise as a rapper and actor—from touring with Public Enemy to negotiating a movie contract for tens of millions, every stop on his journey had us enthralled. Will is a memoir with just as much star power as the celebrity behind it.
Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale—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.