Will Book Summary - Will Book explained in key points
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Will summary

Will Smith with Mark Manson

Inspiring Observations and Life Lessons

3.8 (261 ratings)
24 mins

What is Will about?

Will (2022) is a firsthand account of one of Hollywood’s greatest careers. Will Smith doesn’t just tally up his many successes, though. He also opens up about his struggles, shortcomings, and the help he received along the way.

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    Will’s Future

    It’s the year 1985, we’re in Philly – more specifically, in the leafy, middle-class neighborhood of Wynnefield. Will is just returning from school. He’s seventeen years old. 

    As he enters the house, he senses that something is wrong. Sure enough, his mom’s at the kitchen table, with a look somewhere between sadness and anger on her face. 

    That’s unusual. With his father, trouble’s never been far away. There’s no pleasing the man. A hard-drinking disciplinarian with a mean streak, he’s always been moody and unpredictable. But with Mom, it’s different. They’ve never not been on the same page. Until now. 

    Will is no scholar, but he’s done well in school so far – well enough to be able to get into a good college. That means everything to his mother. 

    What you have to know about Mom is that she came up in a poor family in a bad neighborhood during hard times. College saved her. It’s what put her in this comfortable brick house in leafy, middle-class neighborhood of Wynnefield. Times have changed, sure, but the world’s still a brutal place – especially for a young Black man like her son. He has to go to college. That’s her truth.

    But Will’s grades have started to slip. And that, he assumes, explains the look on her face. 

    A while back, Will’s cousin introduced him to hip-hop. He’s been rapping ever since – hippity-hopping around, as his Mom says. Right now, he’s teamed up with a disk-jockey named Jeff Townes. They call themselves Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and they’ve been making waves – first in Philly, then in New York. Hip-hop’s still new, but everyone in the scene knows it’s the next big thing. And they’re riding the wave. There’s even talk of a record deal.

    But hip-hop, Mom says, isn’t a career. It’s a hobby. He can rap but he can’t be a rapper. That’s when Will says it – the thing that’ll break her heart. He doesn’t want to go to college. 

    It’s a stalemate. Neither Mom nor son backs down.

    Enter Daddio. For Mom, it’s education that matters. For her husband, it’s hard work. They’re different like that. She chooses words with care, speaking with academic finesse. Daddio, though, is a poet of profanity. Will remembers how he once called a man – and please excuse his French – “dirty rat, cocksuckin’, low-down, mangy pig fucker.” 

    On hip-hop, though, they see eye to eye: college is a safer bet than a music career. 

    But there’s an artist underneath the hard exterior of Daddio. Thing is, this cussing old soldier didn’t dream of owning the ice-packing business that puts food on the Smiths’ table. He wanted to be a photographer. But his parents made him sell his camera. Art, they said, wasn’t “practical.” 

    So Daddio agrees. Will can pursue his music career – with one condition: if Will doesn’t succeed in a year, he’s going to college.

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    About the Author

    Will Smith is an actor, producer and musician. He is a two-time Academy Award nominee and a Grammy Award and NAACP award winner. His career spans the worlds of music, TV, and film. He’s best known for his roles in films like Bad Boys, Independence Day, Men in Black, and Aladdin

    Mark Manson is the New York Times best-selling author of Everything is F*cked and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. His books have sold over 12 million copies worldwide. 

    Who should read Will?

    • Film buffs 
    • Hip-hop aficionados 
    • Anyone who loves inspiring true stories

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