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Will by Will Smith with Mark Manson


by Will Smith with Mark Manson

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Quick take

Brave, astonishing, and inspiring, Will Smith's memoir is a profound, entertaining journey of self-knowledge.

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


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One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had.

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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Will.


When I was eleven years old, my father decided he needed a new wall on the front of his shop. It would be a big wall: roughly twelve feet high by twenty feet long. The old wall was crumbling, and he was “sick-o’-lookin’ at it.” But rather than hire a contractor or construction company, he thought it would be a good project for my younger brother, Harry, and me.

Daddio did the demolition. I remember looking at that gaping hole in excruciating disbelief. I was utterly certain that there would never be a wall there ever again.

Every day for nearly a year, my brother and I would go to my father’s shop after school to work on that wall. We did everything ourselves. We dug the footing, mixed the mortar, and carried the buckets. I still remember the formula: two parts cement, one part sand, one part lime. Harry was in charge of the hose. We’d mix the pile with shovels out on the sidewalk and then fill two-gallon buckets and lay our separate bricks. We did it without any rebar or wood forms, just one of those levels with the water bubble in the middle.

If you know anything about construction, you know this is a loony-ass way to do this. If we can keep it real, this is chain-gang kinda labor. Today we would just call Child Protective Services. This is a job so tedious and unnecessarily long that what ended up taking two kids most of a year would have only taken a team of grown men a couple of days, at most.

My brother and I worked weekends, holidays, vacations. We worked through the summer that year. It didn’t matter. My father never took a day off, so neither could we. There were so many times I remember looking at that hole, totally discouraged. I couldn’t see how this was ever going to end. The dimensions became unfathomably large in my mind. It seemed like we were building the Great Wall of West Philly—billions of red bricks stretching infinitely into some distant nowhere. I was certain that I would grow old and die still mixing concrete and carrying those buckets. I just knew it.

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Why I love it

Nothing about the career of Will Smith was inevitable. One of our most dazzling, mercurial stars, he rose to rapid fame first as a rapper and then the star of hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and has stayed in the public eye since. But despite his prominence, do we really know him? In this eye opening book, the Hollywood star opens up about his ascent to fame and how he came to reassess what was most important and central to his life. More than a memoir, WILL is a rich meditation on living a fulfilled, fruitful life that is chock full of hard-won wisdom and insight.

At the peak of his success coming off an unprecedented tear of box office successes, Will Smith found himself in an odd position. At the top of the world, he nonetheless felt adrift from his family and his own internal compass. It slowly became clear that in order to reach a higher level of success and meaning he would need to reconcile his internal desires, his most important relationships, and the external signifiers of success. In order to achieve this he embarked on a long journey in pursuit of self-knowledge. This book is a record of that journey and the lessons learned along the way.

The best books resist categorization or easy labeling. This is just such a book. Exceedingly entertaining, it also contains so many ideas and concepts to ponder that it may leave you a little dizzy on first read. But you will be better for it. Don’t wait, crack a copy of WILL open right now, I guarantee an unparalleled adventure awaits you within its pages.

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Member ratings (3,672)

  • Ashlyn A.

    Phoenix, AZ

    When I started reading this book I didn’t know what to expect, however, it was more insightful than I could’ve imagined. The lessons learned along Will’s journey are lessons we could all benefit from.

  • Sarah L.

    Newton, NJ

    I really enjoyed this, I’ve been a fan of Will’s since I was a child watching Fresh Prince reruns. I liked Will’s style and the call backs to previous lesson’s and phrases from earlier in the book.

  • Leanne N.

    Oneonta, NY

    Wow! A story I could not put down! Written in a captivating way that you can (almost) forget this is about a real life guy. Love that where Will got is because of his hard work, not luck. ✨ ???? ⭐️

  • Ashlyn S.

    Severance, CO

    I genuinely don’t have the words to describe how much I loved every page, every line of this book. It was just so real and shifted my perspective on so many things I’ve thought to be truth. Incredible

  • Jackie D.

    Parkville, MD

    I was so captivated by the storytelling in this book, it was almost conversational. If you haven’t, listen to the audiobook after reading the book. It’s heartfelt and just downright good for the soul.

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