Sidney Poitier - The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

2 ratings (1 Epinions review)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Sorry Oprah! Measure of a Man didn't make me want to dine with Sidney Poitier

Feb 26, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interesting man and subject matter

Cons:Boring, dry, jumps around alot, book doesn't do subject justice

The Bottom Line: I sadly don't recommend this book. My opinion of Poitier was higher before reading it and the book (even though he wrote it) doesn't do him justice.


The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier revealed to me the vast difference between the spoken and written word. I have listened to interviews of Sidney Poitier many times and I simply love hearing the man speak. He has such an eloquence and charm to him that when he speaks you feel like he is just oozing wisdom. I have a great deal of respect of him as a person and for his accomplishments. I wanted to like this book - I really did - but his eloquence and wisdom just does not come across nearly as powerfully when written down.

Measure of a Man is a spiritual autobiography of Poitier's life. He talks a great deal about his childhood on Cat Island, his move to the Bahamas and then New York and how this change from the primitive to civilization affected him. He also talks a great deal about his family, particularly about his parents. Latter chapters in the book focus more on his career and he concludes by attempting to articulate his spiritual beliefs. All in all, it was not a bad premise for a book.

So what went wrong? The beginning chapters about his childhood and early life drag. He jumps from one story to the next and never allows you to fully invest in any one particular story. I found the beginning very boring and had to force myself to continue. Likewise, I found the chapters on his movies a bit self congratulatory but worse -- boring. The final chapters were his best and most controversial. But I didn't really understand his "theory of opposites" and thought that he came off somewhat arrogant in parts. There was a little bit of - this is what I believe and if you don't believe as I do then you must be stupid - kind of thing going on.

Finally, this book drove me nuts stylistically. I envision he sat down with a tape recorder, told stories, and then had someone transcribe them. The problem is that it is okay to talk in run on sentences, they sound good sometimes but it is not okay to write in them. And it is certainly not okay to write an entire book full of them. Normally, I like a conversational tone in a book, but this was way too conversational for me. It came across as very stream of conscious and unpolished.

With all that being said, I would like to have dinner with Sidney Poitier. I would love to hear him talk and listen to that great voice of his. In addition, I think he has some really interesting stories to tell. This book just doesn't do his voice or his stories justice.


Recommend this product? No


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

The Sidney Poitier Collection (dvd, 2009) Brand Sealed

The Sidney Poitier Collection (dvd, 2009) Brand Sealed

Fierce inner will and effortless charm are hallmarks of Sidney Poitier, one of Hollywood's most important actors. This collection presents EDGE OF THE...
eBay

$39.99

FREE Shipping
Lilies Of The Field Sidney Poitier Dvd Factory Sealed (region 1)

Lilies Of The Field Sidney Poitier Dvd Factory Sealed (region 1)

Sidney Poitier--who would later star in such unforgettable films as TO SIR, WITH LOVE; GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT--won ...
eBay

$58.95

+$3.50 shipping
Pressure Point (dvd) Sidney Poitier Brand

Pressure Point (dvd) Sidney Poitier Brand

Prison psychiatrist Sidney Poitier knows what makes the mind tick but his new patient is a ticking time bomb, a racist Nazi fanatic. The doctor's off...
eBay

$7.87

FREE Shipping
Buck And The Preacher Sealed Dvd Sidney Poitier

Buck And The Preacher Sealed Dvd Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier directs and stars in this all-black western about an ex-Union Army cavalry soldier leading a group of recently-freed slaves to the west...
eBay

$8.09

+$1.99 shipping
TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS-LEGENDS-SIDNEY POITIER (DVD/4FE/4 DISC)

TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS-LEGENDS-SIDNEY POITIER (DVD/4FE/4 DISC)

TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS-LEGENDS-SIDNEY POITIER (DVD/4FE/4 DISC)GIFT SET FILMS: EDGE OF THE CITY SOMETHING OF VALUE A PATCH OF BLUE BLACKBOARD JUNGL...
Sears Marketplace
TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Sidney Poitier DVD

TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Sidney Poitier DVD

This four-pack of films featuring the groundbreaking actor Sidney Poitier includes A PATCH OF BLUE EDGE OF THE CITY SOMETHING OF VALUE and BLACKBOARD ...
Family Video

$18.99

+$2.99 shipping
Sidney Poitier/ Sealed 4 Dvd Box/ Patch Of Blue, Etc.. Plus Two Bios /letters To

Sidney Poitier/ Sealed 4 Dvd Box/ Patch Of Blue, Etc.. Plus Two Bios /letters To

Fierce inner will and effortless charm are hallmarks of Sidney Poitier, one of Hollywood's most important actors. This collection presents EDGE OF THE...
eBay

$45.49

FREE Shipping
Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (dvd) Biography Educational Brand

Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (dvd) Biography Educational Brand

Documentary profiling Sidney Poitier's career. Includes interviews with James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, Robert Townsend and Quincy Jones.
eBay

$13.94

+$3.95 shipping
TCM GREATEST:LEGENDS SIDNEY POITIER

TCM GREATEST:LEGENDS SIDNEY POITIER

A dedicated teacher faces racial tension at the high school where he works; the friendship between two New York City longshoremen is threatened; the f...
Sears Marketplace
Pressure Point (dvd New) Sidney Poitier / Sealed Free Shipping

Pressure Point (dvd New) Sidney Poitier / Sealed Free Shipping

Prison psychiatrist Sidney Poitier knows what makes the mind tick but his new patient is a ticking time bomb, a racist Nazi fanatic. The doctor's off...
eBay

$7.61

FREE Shipping