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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future...: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  3,222 Ratings  ·  551 Reviews
Michael J. Fox abandoned high school to pursue an acting career, but went on to receive honorary degrees from several universities and garner the highest accolades for his acting, as well as for his writing. In his new book, he inspires and motivates graduates to recognize opportunities, maximize their abilities, and roll with the punches--all with his trademark optimism, ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 100 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Hyperion
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Apr 25, 2010 Natasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an OK book. I picked it up from the new release shelf at the library because I'd recently heard MJF's interview on NPR about this book, and it was a wonderful interview (so good that I stopped what I was doing to just sit & listen). If you listened to the interview, no need to get the book. Already covered. It's really one of those "Life Lessons" books you might give to a new graduate. In fact, one gets the impression it is a commencement speech in print. I really enjoyed the last c ...more
Aug 28, 2016 Donna rated it liked it
I loved the title of this book and the cover art. I like Michael J Fox and this was an autobiography of sorts. I say 'of sorts' because it wasn't like most of the autobiographies I've read. It wasn't about his life and his struggles, especially with Parkinson's. It was exactly what the subtitle says it is, "Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned." It was a pep talk filled with his life lessons. This was a very positive book. So 3 stars.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
Saw this at the library and as a huge Back to the Future fan, I simply couldn't resist and I needed a little break from my usual mystery/thriller/horror fiction anyway. This little volume is easy to read and geared toward recent high school graduates. I enjoyed all the references to the movies and Michael's opinions on literature. I found it rather insightful :-)
Aug 21, 2010 Valerie rated it it was ok
Shelves: male-protagonist
I've forgotten some of what this book was about. But I remember while I was reading it that I was surprised to find out that Michael J. Fox dropped out of high school. He did get his GED later on.

It's a very short book, in which Fox gives little tid-bits about his life. His goal was for the reader to get whatever they wanted to out of his experiences without outright trying to tell you exactly what to do. It didn't really work for me. It wasn't that he did tell you what to do, just that I could
Kressel Housman
This little memoir by actor Michael J. Fox is marketed as a gift book for a new graduate, but anyone who grew up with him will enjoy it. First of all, he is nothing like Alex Keaton. Far from an over-achiever, he dropped out of high school to go to LA and pursue a career in acting. Because he was successful, he didn't even get his high school equivalency diploma until his middle age. Till then, though, he was learning the lessons of life, and he summarizes them in this short book. His years of p ...more
This is a short book of memoirs and learning Michael J. Fox received after he dropped out of high school to pursue acting. It's primarily addressed to people around the age he was when he dropped out and college kids. Fox is supportive of higher education (pointing out that there are far more success stories of college grads than high school drop outs, particularly in today's younger adults), but lets us know that learning doesn't just happen in a class room.

There is humour here, naturally, but
Nov 22, 2016 C. rated it it was amazing
This is a pocketbook I wish Michael had elaborated like his 400-page award-winners. His fantastic writing is en forme in "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Future". I was again swept away by intelligent, creatively-phrased nuggets that somehow maintain his anecdotal and wholly colloquial style, slang and all, as only Michael J. Fox can graciously do. The only reason it took four bedtimes to pour over this wonderful excursion of 2010 is because I have been celebrating my birthday week-end! ...more
Heidi The Hippie Librarian
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future reminded me strongly of Steve Job's 2005 commencement address at Stanford. Both of these men chose not to pursue higher education. They both also found, through their own meandering ways, fulfilling, purposeful, and powerful lives that were rich in meaning for themselves and those who were fortunate enough to fall in with them. I don't think that the messages of "find your passion and live it", "keep learning even if you're not in a classroom", and ...more
Boundless Book Reviews
I bought this after listening to Always Looking up, by Michael J Fox. I recommend listening to this one first, I didn’t.

This is a great book and I absolutely love Michael J Fox; however, Always looking Up included a lot of the same stories with more detail. This is a short read/listen; my husband and I listened to it on a short drive through the country a few counties over so it was the perfect length.

Overall, I like the book and rate it with 4 Boundless Stars....Beth

Jan 12, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
this is a very quick easy read. Michael J. Fox wrote a book of lessons he has learned in his life. It read like it could be intended for a graduate or a commencement speech.I have always liked Michael J. Fox. he is honest and humble about the mistakes he has made, such as not managing his finances very well when he was starting out as an actor. to his experiences with Parkinson's disease. a nice quick read. not too deep thinking of a book but decent read.
Apr 16, 2010 Tanya rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-books
This book is intended for graduates and I thought the message would be more of a happy, feel-good source leisure reading. But right from the beginning, he tells us this is not going to be an advice book and you don't need a book to tell you what you need.

I found it an interesting biographical summary of his educational background, foray into acting and embrace of his medical condition - none of that an easy path and so it didn't quite strike the right note in terms of my expectations. Funny thi
Jeff Grosser
Feb 24, 2017 Jeff Grosser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book from Michael J. Fox that is full of advice from his life experiences. I listened to this on audio and it was narrated by Fox. When I hear his voice I think of my three favorite Fox characters: Alex P. Keaton (Family Ties), Mike Flaherty (Spin City), and Marty McFly (Back to the Future). I find his advice honest & sincere. I even got a little choked up when he talked about his friend/mentor Gary David Goldberg. I just wish this book was available about 30 years ago. :)
Jun 19, 2010 Bruce rated it it was ok
A book this slight doesn't merit a lengthy review, so I won't bother. Not that I'm bitter; this is the kind of thing somebody stuck for a gift buys at Hallmark as a last resort -- I got it from the library. But still, why bother to publish in hardback a 3X5 hundred-pager if you're not going to include primary-colored Snoopy cartoons?

I picked this up on the strength of an NPR interview with the author. Is there anyone unfamiliar with Michael J. Fox? He rose to fame in the role of young Reagan ent
Theresa Powers
Jun 29, 2012 Theresa Powers rated it really liked it
I have had a crush on Michael J. Fox since my teenage years so I just had to read the book. It was great hearing his perspective on life and the cards he has been dealt through the years. He learned some very important lessons that every young man or woman should take heed to on their journey in life. Even though he is a famous movie actor, he started in a very middle class situation and even experienced poverty for a time in his life. He learned that if you choose not to go to college for an ed ...more
Oct 07, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Having been born in the 80s and having grown up with Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, Alex Keaton and seeing him in other films to seeing him live with Parkinson's Disease...when I saw this book on the shelf at the library I picked it up to see what it was about.

This itty bitty "memoir" styled book of lessons was an itty bitty inspirational glance into life. Was it life changing? No, but it was a delightful little book. There were some really great quotes that I really absorbed and enjoyed....Her
Sep 25, 2013 Kathryn rated it really liked it
1. Genre: nonfiction
2. Awards:none
3. Grade level: high school
4. Use in classroom + activity:I would give this book to my students who are going through a difficult time in life, no matter what it is. This autobiography by Michael J. Fox not only gives students a character to relate to, but also a role model because he is an amazing actor, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Disease research, and has gone through struggles just like a regular person. I will have my students refle
Jun 27, 2011 Mayda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir, humor
This book may have been intended as a gift book for graduates, but there is something here for everyone. In a straightforward manner, Fox shares with us the ups and downs he experienced when he first was out on his own. We learn what worked, what didn't, and what he might have done differently, had he only known. With a touch of humor, Fox, a high school dropout, illustrates clearly how he learned about economics, physics, political science, literature, and geography all while trying to succeed ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Jim rated it it was ok
Thank God this hoverboard didn't stay aloft for long. Cause it is hard to kick oneself while aboard. It is not that the book is terrible, or anything like that, but I expected more memoir and less cliche-filled instructional manual, organized along college-level course offerings and life lessons, such as they are, from Hollywood. Fox is a wonderfully comic actor who contributed to many well-loved television shows and movies, and he seems to have managed well the tough hurdles that have been thro ...more
Diane Drennan Pavia
Apr 13, 2010 Diane Drennan Pavia rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This was really good -- short and sweet anecdotes from someone with amazing perspective on life. It's meant for young people, HS and college grads, to get a grip on what they may face in life and to be prepared to encounter situations that you can't control and just have to work around or accept. Unfortunately, as I read it, I thought of the phrase "Youth is wasted on the young." I would bet that the simple wisdom in this book will go over the heads -- or in one ear and out the other -- of young ...more
May 08, 2011 Shea rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographical
This little gem of a book is set up to be a message to a graduate, either high school, college or any other right of passage. Michael J. Fox relates how his real life experience may actually work out to be the equivalent of a college education. There are chapters on Physics, Geography, Economics etc. Much edgier than Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go" and laugh out loud funny I think it will be included in my gift to the next person I know who graduates.
Jan 30, 2013 Suzanne rated it liked it
A quick and easy read. If you want more details on his life, read his other books. The best part of the book was part 4. I usually find "optimistic" celebrity outlooks/preaching annoying, but it seems to be different coming from Michael J. Fox. It was actually somewhat inspiring. He is still funny and humble and I may even have to read his other books.

Also could be a good book for a recent graduate. It really is a graduation speach.
May 10, 2012 George rated it really liked it
Michael J. Fox's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future" a small yet with powerful context which he explains his sruggles as an actor and his work on the TV series and the movie Back to the Future in (1985) he then further explains the economics of the acting buisness. His book looks at its desriptents of his life and lifstyle.

His strong, bold choice of words makes his book grab your attention...

His writing is reletivly scientific and fantastic to read.
Dec 06, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it
Another memoir from Michael J. Fox that is charming and insightful, this is a pleasant little book. "Lucky Man" and "Always Looking Up" were much stronger in presentation and impact than this short book, but Fox wasn't trying for the same kind of power. He set out to make a nice book of life lessons and advice to the graduate, which is exactly what he did in a very satisfactory way.
Mar 13, 2011 Julia rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor, memoir, advice
When he is asked to address graduates, faculty, family and friends at commencements Michael J. Fox opens with a question: “What the hell were you people thinking? You are aware that I’m a high school dropout?” And I’m glad I got this from the library, and not bought it or was given it. It’s a pleasant enough way to spend an hour or so, but this autobiography/ advice book isn’t much else.
Feb 05, 2013 Tosha added it
I was always a fan of Michael J. Fox shows growing up so reading this book was both enjoyable and surprising I never realized he was not a high school graduate. Not a particularly exciting read but I loved it!
Apr 23, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it
Read this book in one sitting. Reads like a commencement address to a graduating class. Some great advice on how to live a good life. If you have read his other two books, there is no new information. Makes a great graduation gift.
May 19, 2013 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Great book! Michael J Fox is so inspiring and his writing flows beautifully. Hopefully he writes again
Dec 24, 2012 Katherine rated it liked it
Mainly aimed at young people starting out in the world, I still found it an interesting book. He has good insights into what is important in life.
Oct 22, 2016 Juli rated it really liked it
Quick and fun read. Michael J Fox is just straight up endearing.
Tezar Yulianto
....bacalah bukunya sebelum kau menonton filmnya.....
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Canadian/American film and television actor.

His roles include Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982–1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996–2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He also starred in Doc Hollywood and Secr
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“Pay attention to what's happening around you. Read the book before you see the movie. Remember, though you, alone, are responsible for your own happiness, its still okay to feel responsible for someone else's. Live and to learn.” 40 likes
“If you're lucky, in some point in the future when you're in need of guidance or perhaps moral support, you may cross paths with a suitable mentor. Even luckier, you'll realize you had one in your life all along and you'll gain a new appreciation for how you benefited from that relationship. The luckiest relationship of all, of course, is a combination of the two. You've had help all along, and as the path widens or narrows, whatever the case may be, new and powerful influences will enter your life and aid your progress. In my experience, a mentor doesn't necessarily tell you what to do, but more importantly: tells you what they did or might do, then trusts you to draw your own conclusions and act accordingly. If you succeed, they'll take one step back and if you fail, they'll take one step closer. Whatever it is they teach you, pass it on.” 28 likes
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