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Out on a Limb

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  7,740 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Her most controversial book is one you will never forget. An outspoken thinker, a celebrated actress, a truly independent woman, Shirley MacLaine goes beyond her previous two bestsellers to take us on an intimate yet powerful journey into her personal life and inner self. An intense, clandestine love affair with a prominent politician sparks Shirley MacLaine's quest of sel ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 1986 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1983)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  7,740 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Nov 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crack, pulp
Okay, I admit it. Back in the day I haunted new age crystal stores, hoping to find the long lost spirituality that I never had. Here in Northern California there were plenty of them, believe me. It was the 80s and crystal worshipping was the new fondue. Shirley had all the answers. And who wouldn't have believed her, what with all her hobnobbing with the Rat Pack, and wearing a miniskirt in a Broadway musical. I figured anyone that successful in Hollywood must know what she was talking about.

Davis Aujourd'hui
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a book for someone who has a thirst for spiritual experience. Shirley MacLaine has written another beautiful autobiography that brilliantly captures her own spiritual quest and adventures. All that you will need in order to enjoy the book is an open mind. You will not be disappointed.

As the author of a spiritually-themed book, I appreciate any book that provides food for the soul. This was definitely a book that did it for me. It was a delightful read that intimately connected me with th
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shirley Maclaine the actress takes us on her journey towards spiritual enlightenment a thoughtful take on her quest to know why we are all here and have we had ‘outside’ influences along the way…. 

I remember reading this book when I was 17… looking back I see what a huge influence it has had on my life… I know Shirley got a lot of flack when this originally came out in 1983, but as the years have passed so many more people have actually written on this subject, I believe this book should be give
Dorothy Holder
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book when i read it 18 years ago. Shirley has written a lovely book describing a period of time when experiences of an esoteric nature were dominating her life. She went through that period of time where seeking out those experiences outweighed many other considerations, including how she was viewed by her peers and the public.

This is a simple book that manages to have a magical quality as she describes some telling moments in her life. Anyone opening up to the subtle energy fields
Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: beach-reads
I read this when I went through my "new age" phase because I really admire Shirley Maclaine as an actress and as a woman. She took a lot of heat for this book and it was the butt of many jokes. I often wonder if she were a man if it would have been so derided. Having said that, the problem with the book for me was the style of the writing. It was almost like a comic book script and sort of along the lines of a Danielle Steele type book so I can't give it a real, huge like. However, it is enterta ...more
Paula Dembeck
Jan 19, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book published in 1983 was MacLaine’s third memoir, a book quite different from her first two that consisted largely of recollections about her life as a dancer, actress, world traveler and socially conscious citizen. In this book she continues her journey of self-discovery during a period in her life that was particularly stressful. She was in the midst of an affair with a married British politician and found herself struggling with many life questions.

The period of time she covers is fro
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago and was drawn back to it once again. I got even more out of it this time around, especially given my recent reading in religion, its history and philosophy.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Seekers of Enjoyable Distractions
Recommended to Wayne by: the Curiosity of the Cat

Shirley's Cornucopia of Books :

I think I read some of Shirl's books after teaching in Athens for about a year, the year of 1978. I've trawled through my Annual Reading Lists and there she is in early 1979 with "You Can Get There From Here". and then in 1987 with "Dancing in the Light".Think I read two others, yet to be located.

In Athens, in 1978, one of the teaching staff got me to read Lobsang Rampa's books.Two was more than enough.And later I heard that he lived in an English suburb, so who co
Nov 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf

What a disappointment. How is it that celebs are so freakin' vulnerable to this sort of mess?


Writing style was kinda meh. I've read worse. Starts off about her being someone's mistress, then veers hard into weird territory. Ends up at what amounts to, "aliens, b/c jesus." well, okay then darlin'. Bless your heart.


honestly it might have been hilarious if i hadn't already come across this road through (so freakin' many) other reads. no matter how it starts, it's always the same, once yo

Rick Ludwig
I give Shirley MacLaine top marks for honesty and I still enjoy her writing style very much. I know you think I'm going to hammer her for buying into reincarnation and UFO's, etc. But I'm not. She's an explorer and she was exploring a new take on reality. Like all of her explorations, she threw herself into it and tried her best to keep an open mind. Some of what she came up with was very inspiring; an eternal soul, the chance to continue to improve as an entity, the possibility of life beyond t ...more
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love her hesitations, second guessings, and yet full on curiosity into this journey of hers. The book also holds a lot of sentimentality to me since I grew up with my mom and sister loving the movie already and reading it now while being on a similar journey as she was. If you're into learning about the metaphysics of life and are in the process of really getting into it to the point where people are starting to look at you like you're nuts then definitely read this. ...more
Nandakishore Mridula
Sep 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked Shirley as an actress. Which is why I picked this book up at a used books sale.

Huge disappointment. New Age nonsense.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good book. Very interesting to hear about some of her life experiences and how she learned to open up to the universe’s treasures
Karen Murphy
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Actually 4.5 stars, rounded up! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first of Shirley Maclaine's books I've read. I appreciated her thirst for knowledge of spirit and the universe. ...more
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who wonders what life is all about
Okay, so this book is by the very funny actress Shirley MacLaine. Despite that, it is a very serious undertaking. At a pivotal time in her life, she began to want answers to the question of what life is all about. This book is about her thought processes and rather amazing experiences during that time.

Highly metaphysical in nature with visits to mediums, conjecture about UFOs and out of body experiences, the book is earthed by a mind that had an aversion to such things and preferred to be total
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have learned so much from this book. This amazingly talented woman whom I have idolized since a child, has become a permanent guest to my fantasy celebrity dinner.
The struggle between a woman and lovers, friends, god and herself is exemplified in such an honest simple way that I found myself nodding with agreement at how similar our opinions are. I think everyone should read this book, an understanding of some sort, be it naturally, sociologically, religiously or spiritually will definitely d
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shirley, Shirley, Shirley, SHIRLEY! What happened? Don't Fall Off the Mountain was such a wonderfully written, sweet book. You shared your story with such authenticity and humility - I was totally charmed! But this infamous book is just awful. It really should be called "What My Friend David Told Me" because that's all this book is..."David told me to read these books..." "David says I need to meditate..." "David says I need a high colonic..." And I didn't even make it to the Alien Are Real sect ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a good book-written in 1980! Maclaine writes about her travels, experiences, thoughts and readings on reincarnation and spirituality. She has a unique way of thinking about things-just like her personality-not afraid to ask questions or just state her thoughts about what is happening around her and what she might not fully understand. She seeks answers by reading, talking to others, traveling to sacred places and by taking quiet time to listen within herself. I like how she takes time t ...more
Kyle Barber
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
It's taken me two years to finish this book. While I'm not on the same page as Maclaine when it comes to the after-life, I do admire her as a great writer. I think she's been written off as a nut, except when she's acting, and then you can't argue with her talents. But as someone who is writing, content aside, she's great. The beauty of this book is not only the chronicling of her spiritual journey, but this love story she shares between a married U.S. Senator (anonymous) and herself. The moment ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that just came along at the right time. It was a significant part of my intellectual journey as it demonstrated that there were things beyond easy scientific explanation - provided you could believe Shirley Maclaine was not fibbing. My view was (and is) that she was telling of real experiences she had had.
She certainly put herself out on a limb writing as she did.
It is in no sense a mystical book but it does undermine the position of the naive realists who judge that
Natasa Tovornik
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: auto-biography
Shirley keeps surprising me with her life stories. One does get a feeling she is an energetic and fun-having person. This is a journey to her inner-self and to openness to more intangible things (reincarnation, soul,...) in life. Describing all the conflicts that this causes in her as well as the thorough analysis makes this book a pleasure read and a good learning tool. I guess it could also be reading list for the topics mentioned as the reader would get quite a lot of information about differ ...more
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I read this book during a very tough semester in college. I never ever read anything but my school books there - the devoted engineering kid that I was - and yet somehow, I picked up Shirley MacLaine's books and I LOVED it. I loved her writing. It was a complete escape from my life and my day worries, and I loved her open expressions of love affairs, inner conflicts with existence and her explorations and self-discoveries... I loved her journey and her character is quite likable. I'd read it aga ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, spirituality
I really love this book. I've read it many times - often the book to reach for when the libraries and bookstores are closed. I found it at a low point in my life, and welcomed it for the suggestion that there really is more to life than we can see and analyze. This is a memoir- many others have written "how-to" books along these lines, and I don't like them nearly as well, or at all. I prefer experience, and there are many wonder-ful experiences written about here. ...more
Gayle Ferguson
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love Shirley MacLaine, she is a great story teller, drawing you in and making you feel everything she is going through. I love books that make me think about possibilities of things not being what you think they are.This is a good read, I read it in an afternoon, and then wished there were more so I could keep reading it.
Nonnie DiFazio
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the spunk that Shirley McLain shows by baring her soul in this book. The title really tells us that she is sharing her deepest experiences with us. After reading this book, many years ago, I took a weekend workshop with Shirley McLain in NYC. It was a pivotal point in my spiritual growth. I am grateful to Shirley for going out on that limb for me.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
The book that began my spiritual journey of hope.. that God had not forsaken me and it was ok to feel different than everyone else. It also started my life long love of Yoga.. This books holds a very special place in my heart.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won't give a review of this book because it falls under self-help to me and who am I to say whether this book will enlighten someone or not. I think MacLaine is a good writer, but I had this funny sense of her putting on airs that had me rolling my eyes periodically. ...more
Honestly, this book was full of crap. It covers everything from MacLaine's belief in reincarnation to extraterrestrial life...etc. There is way to much information about her love affair with a married British politician. Half the time it reads like a fiction novel. The logic is so messed up... ...more
Carol Bucy
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life Expanding

Five stars because every one should read it!Spellbinding, fascinating, heartwarming, inspiring, life-changing, eye-opening. Shirley McLaine shares her spiritual growth fearlessly.
Patricia Hammond-Gonzalez
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My Mother handed me 'Out on a Limb' because she couldn't get into it... and it was the book that started me on my spiritual path, and I never looked back! Her story was fascinating and inspiring.

Thank you Shirley Maclaine.
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Was it just me or did Shirley Maclaine come off as a bit of a pill? 4 27 Feb 15, 2016 10:37PM  

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Shirley MacLaine is an Academy Award-winning American film and theatre actress, well-known not only for her acting, but for her devotion to her belief in reincarnation. She is also the writer of a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her new age beliefs, such as solipsism, as well as her Hollywood career. She is the older sister of Warren Beatty.

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