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Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  7,142 Ratings  ·  809 Reviews
One of the most anticipated autobiographies of this generation, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall is the candid story by one of the world’s most remarkable actors, businessmen, and world leaders.

Born in the small city of Thal, Austria, in 1947, Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to Los Angeles at the age of twenty-one. Within ten years, he was a millionaire businessman. After
Audio CD, Abridged, 7 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published 2012)
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Sergiu Bacanu Just a couple of f-bombs here and there, nothing really bad/ insulting.
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Community Reviews

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Shahine Ardeshir
This book dispels one myth right away - the impression most people carry that Arnold, with all his muscle and Terminator films, is all brawn and no brains. What becomes apparent very soon is that this is someone who had huge ambition, tremendous tenacity and a calculating business mind. So no, he's not stupid, people.

He's also not just lucky. His life didn't happen by accident - it was an outcome of years of hard work and chasing down carefully-set goals. If you want to be charitable, you'd call
Feb 17, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time heroes. Arnold is sometimes viewed negatively by people who don't know his whole story, but he turns even that into an asset: "I never argued with people who underestimated me. If the accent and the muscles and the movies made people think I was stupid, it worked to my advantage". How can anybody underestimate somebody who, among many many accomplishments, was a world-class athlete who trained 6 days per week twice a day, became a millionaire in business *before* he was a movi ...more
Mario Tomic
Jul 23, 2014 Mario Tomic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best biography I've ever read. The story of Arnold Schwarzenegger is absolutely incredible. His mindset, the passion and hunger for success is something I haven't encountered in any other book. It's very difficult to sum up this book to a few points and I won't even try to, I would say if you aren't reading books, if you haven't got the habit yet start with this one. The value of the book is 1000x more than what you pay for, and I consider myself lucky to live in the same time as this man. Reall ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Briefly, is this book any good?

Well the first half is a quite candid and interesting story of his childhood, rise to fame and career. Obviously it's PR censored, but I think some parts of real personality slip through. The second half is a more guarded defence of every political decision he made while governor of California. Unless you're into politics it is very dull. The only interesting aspect is how he relates his right-wing politics to his personal experience of capitalism providing the opp
There is nothing special about his writing. He describes whatever he’s done in his life chronologically. Some more than the others. And of course, for public consumption and the media, the whole thing has been sanitized. But here’s what I believe he’s good at: ‘selling’. As he mentions in the book, you’re always selling something. And so, he’s selling and promoting himself, his work, his whatever; shamelessly, constantly, relentlessly. No shyness. No timidity.

Some say he’s arrogant; maybe so, bu
Mark Skousen
Mar 22, 2013 Mark Skousen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's my review of "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story" by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I listened to the audiobook, all 25 hours worth, while driving from Florida to New York. Schwarzenegger reads only the first chapter, the rest by Stephen Lang. I found the book compelling reading (listening), especially how a poor Austrian had such drive to achieve remarkable success as the world's #1 bodybuilder, top box office draw, and governor of California. I enjoy books that introduce me to a whol ...more
Andy Carrington
May 10, 2016 Andy Carrington rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: people, trash
I liked his films (what kid didn't growing up in the 80s/90s). But the more I read/hear about him, the more I think he's a cunt.

He cheated on his wife with the maid; his Dad was a Nazi; and Schwarzenegger governed for California with the authority to give people the death penalty.

These are all his home truths.

If you don't want your Predator/Commando kid-fantasies ruined, don't bother reading. If you never liked the man, same comment applies.

If you're the curious type, let's just say there's a lo
Jitka Egressy
Mar 07, 2015 Jitka Egressy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story, amazingly written, amazing life!

I'm not a big fan of Arnold. Well I wasn't :) But after reading this book I need to see every his movie :)) He is real hero. From nothing to BIG sucess.

It's a huge book. From his childhood to bodybulding, to America Dreaming to Gouverner of California!

I really enjoy reading this book, it's worthy... a lot! Many pictures included.

Read it :)
Jan 06, 2013 Abhishek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Total Recall is the story of this famous personality born in a village in Austria who eventually grew up to become the Governor of California in USA; who along this journey also became one of the most prominent bodybuilders, evolved into an action hero in Hollywood who delivered multiple box office hits and married one from the Kennedy clan. This is the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger as told by him in his autobiography Total Recall. One of the most prominent personalities in Hollywood, Schwarzen ...more
Alex Ristea
Feb 09, 2015 Alex Ristea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this audiobook on sale, but I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did.

It's a long book (of which, luckily, Arnold only reads the first and last chapters), but it's exactly what it says on the cover: his unbelievable true life story.

It centres around bodybuilding and the movie industry, but goes far beyond that with a good mix of scene and introspection. Yes, it's well-written, but it also helps that the source material is quality. This man truly ha
One star more for me being fan of Arnold's 80s and early 90s movies. Writing tends to be a bit of dry, Austrian accent and a personal voice is there, but just. Problem being, Arnold didn't write this alone and it shows. I liked an early chapters and for a big movie nerd the meat of the book was 'making of movies' parts. As a foreigner, all the Governator chapters were struggle and i have read a lot of books about politics. It's just hard to find a fascination about intricacies of a ballot voting ...more
S.L. Pierce
Nov 26, 2012 S.L. Pierce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book 5 stars because it is only the second biography/autobiography I have read all the way through. I didn't expect to like it but I downloaded the sample and just couldn't stop reading. I did, however, get it from the library instead of buying. But my husband wants to read it now as well so I am going to buy a copy. I found the book really inspiring. No matter what you may think about Arnold, he is an incredibly driven person and a very hard worker. I was inspired by his stories to ...more
Jul 02, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that like creeps.
I thought Arnold's childhood was very interesting; then he grew into an arrogant creep and I quit the audio book. Strange, Steve Jobs was arrogant, but I found his biography very interesting. Must have been the creep part that got me.
Callie Rose Tyler
Warning: If you are deciding to read this book hoping to get something salacious or to hear about the illegitimate son scandal you will be very very disappointed.

While the affair with his housekeeper is mentioned not much time is given to the subject. He covers his life chronologically but does not mention the affair when it would have taken place, only briefly discussing it when it was discovered by the media which is practically at the end of the book.

I listened to this book on audio and was d
Apr 13, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TOTAL RECALL is a fascinating, incredibly-detailed account of the Governator's life from birth up until his recent split with Maria Shriver. It thoroughly eradicates the notion that Schwarzenegger got where he is today solely on the basis of sheer brawn and dumb luck. Beneath the muscles and the goofy accent is a shrewd businessman with a flair for salesmanship and an irrepressible drive for success. Personally, I'm not much into either body building or California politics, but Schwarzenegger's ...more
Jun 11, 2013 Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty enjoyable read for me, but then it goes without saying that I'm a fan of Schwarzenegger as a movie star. In fact, he's one of my favourite actors; certainly one of the funniest and most entertaining, even if his acting skills pale compared to heavyweights of the craft.

TOTAL RECALL is Schwarzenegger's autobiography, written around a series of lengthy chats a writer had with the star. Weighing in at an impressive 620 pages, this is thorough stuff indeed that takes us from Arnie's
Kris Ashton
When I was a teenager, the two things that rocked my world were martial arts and bodybuilding. Where most of my friends had cars or girls or musicians on their walls, I had posters of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and the bodybuilders I admired: Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Levrone, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger. This led my mother to suspect I was gay – apparently not uncommon, since Schwarzenegger’s mother thought the same thing when he pinned up pictures of his idols such as Reg ...more
M Pereira
I am a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe you will think I'm a bit lowbrow for saying that. Maybe admitting that is tantamount to undermining any commitment I have to feminism, or maybe I need something a bit lightweight to read outside of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Arnold starts his story addressing the harsh conditions of post-war Austria. I thought it was interesting how he mentions how his father's generation felt like a bunch of 'losers' having lost the war and having their s
Ron Versetto
Jan 29, 2015 Ron Versetto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The worst part about this book was that it had to end. As I was nearing the end of the book, I had a physical reaction of anxiety that the story would end. Part of this feeling certainly is tied to Arnold age and the understanding that one day, he too will be terminated.....and this made me sad.

I grew up on Arnold's films like many other people. I didn't follow his bodybuilding career much, but I was an avid follower of his film and political career. I was hesitant to even read this book that mi
Dec 03, 2014 Kenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this - and could almost be persuaded to increase the rating. Which was a surprise - why? Well, it's quite engaging, despite the obvious PR steer that this should be a manual of how to achieve the American dream!

And to be fair, he certainly has - a fascinating life. From growing up in Austria, national service through becoming the world body building champion, building up a fitness empire, then becoming the leading action film star and then - in the piece that does justify the strap li
Aug 22, 2013 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this and found it to be more than just a life story. Much of Arnold's personality is all over the book, his views on life and physical/mental health are clear and admirable. Though I don't agree with some of the decisions he's made in his life, I left this book with an admiration of his strong character.

The book moves from his childhood in post-WWII Austria (many amazing details here, some heartbreaking) to his body-building career, onto Hollywood, then governor of California. W
Jenn Tat
Recommended for: people seeking life lessons or escapism that is offered through reading memoirs of accomplished individuals.

Explanations for scoring: The Governator has a congenially flawed personality, a good sense of humor and has led a rich and interesting life that made for enjoyable reading. The writing was satisfactory, as memoirs are usually conversational in tone. It was the content that I really appreciated. His struggles and triumphs as a self-made man are inspiring, as are his appro
Nov 04, 2012 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I have followed him from bodybuilding to movies and I even voted for him to be the governor of California in the recall election. I have read everything about him that I could possibly find.
For me, this book confirmed a lot of the information from the 1990 book ARNOLD: An Unauthorized Biography and rehashed a lot of stuff from The Education of a Bodybuilder and various bodybuilding magazines. It does however contain new details and a fresh insight. The co-auth
Feb 13, 2014 Michal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, biography
Slovak edition is pretty lame, but Arnold is DA KING. Great and inspiring story / life.
D.A. Cairns
I was really disappointed. It's not a bad book as such, otherwise I wouldn't have given it three stars but personally I just didn't like it much. For a long time as I was reading, I was trying to figure out why I wasn't getting into it, why it wasn't grabbing me - I'm a big fan of Schwarzenegger's films (Total Recall and T2 Judgment Day are in my top ten films of all time) and I admire how he made such a success of his life as an immigrant to America, but there was something about his story or t ...more
James Perkins
In this book, the former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, tells his life story. It's certainly a long and interesting tale, and deserves the fat book that relates it. Born into poverty in Austria in 1947, he got interested in bodybuilding as a teenager, and used that as leverage to get to America and start a movie career. Even before the movies took off, he was a successful businessman, and in the new millennium, he became an outspoken politician and activist. We all know the basic ...more
Robert Frost
Oct 24, 2012 Robert Frost rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story is the autobiography of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold’s story really is amazing. What are the odds that a poor boy growing up in post WWII Austria would come to America, become the greatest bodybuilder in the world, make millions of dollars in real estate, become one of the most recognizable actors in the world, have his films gross almost $4 billion, marry into American royalty, and become the governor of California?

Having followed Arnold’s career f
Johnny Villanueva
His amazing life story has been told through his book which starts out by explaining his simple beginnings living in a small town in Austria, his initial interest in bodybuilding, his move to the U.S., his movie career and later pursuit as governor of California. All stories and facts are comprehensive if you’ve known of him as a bodybuilder or celebrity, otherwise this can be a tough book to follow. Lucky for me I’ve admired the guy since I was little kid which led me to watch many of his movie ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
What an interesting read! Like most children of the 80's, I think I can say the obvious that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the biggest movie star of our youth. I have always admired Arnold since he really can do everything. I also love a true American story, and this does not disappoint. I listened to the audio book. The first and last chapter are narrated by Schwarzenegger, and the rest is read by Stephen Lang, who is the muscular bad guy in the Avatar movie. Arnold truly embodies the American drea ...more
David Spencer
Aug 01, 2014 David Spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Audiobook version)

I've been a fan of Arnold's larger-than-life movie persona since I first saw The Terminator, almost 25 years ago now. But I knew very little about the rest of his life before this book.

After it, I have a much richer appreciation for his story. He's not perfect, and neither is the book, but that's okay. An autobiography is the ultimate expression of the "unreliable narrator," and it's important to keep that in mind as you read chapter after chapter of Arnold's incredible succes
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Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, businessman and politician, and served as the 38th Governor of the state of California.

Arnold gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon. Schwarzenegger was nicknamed "The Austrian Oak" and "The Styrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, "Arnold Strong" and "Arnie" during his acting career, and more recently "The Govern
More about Arnold Schwarzenegger...

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“What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else?” 63 likes
“There are no shortcuts—everything is reps, reps, reps.” 28 likes
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