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Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  13,059 ratings  ·  1,261 reviews
One of the most anticipated autobiographies of this generation, Arnold Schwarzeneggers Total Recall is the candid story by one of the worlds 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
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Simon Schuster (first published 2012)
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David Garza It's not a lot, but I also don't think that a 600+ page autobiography is for a child. He curses some with S and F words scattered throughout.
Mojca I never meet him in person, base on the book yes :) ;)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  13,059 ratings  ·  1,261 reviews

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Shahine Ardeshir
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mario Tomic
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Simon Clark
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Schwarzenegger is an individual who has fascinated me for almost as long as I can remember. As a kid, American movies were the ultimate in escapism they represented the utter dominance of American culture in the 90s, a super saturated, colourful version of life. Everything was bigger than it was growing up in the UK: the scale, the action, even the men. Schwarzenegger was the epitome of this the ultimate action star, bedecked with larger-than-life dialogue and even larger muscles. But away ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Maciej Nowicki
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The title of the book is really fitting. I assume that everybody knows something about Arnold Schwarzenegger, obviously known for his films. But I think that only some of you know that in his young age he was a very successful bodybuilder, he was Mr Olympia, Mr Universe or something like that several times. Eventually, he became a governor of California. The book also tells more about him as a real estate investor and the interesting fact is that first became a millionaire by all of his real ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it
There is nothing special about his writing. He describes whatever hes 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 heres what I believe hes good at: selling. As he mentions in the book, youre always selling something. And so, hes selling and promoting himself, his work, his whatever; shamelessly, constantly, relentlessly. No shyness. No timidity.

Some say hes arrogant; maybe so, but almost
Mark Skousen
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Arnold's life is a lot more than Hollywood's rags-to-riches story. The riches were there by the time he became an iconic actor, with a last name possibly too unpronouncable for posters, largely built upon the determination which sustained his bodybuilding carrer - calves first. He certainly tells in greater detail and passion about his youth & Mr. Olympia days than about his movie résumé, which dwindles down to basic title-hopping.

His term as governor of California raises more questions
Ron Versetto
Jan 29, 2015 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
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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, ...more
Chris Steeden
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It sounds like Arnie was born in a Bela Tarr movie. He did live only 55 miles from the Austro-Hungarian border in a rural farm village called Thal in Southern Austria. No wonder he had ambitions to get to big, brash, bold America. We know how that worked out for him. He did OK. I took a look at Thal on Google Earth. I am guessing things have changed a lot since the 1940s and 50s. Now it appears to be full of big houses, swimming pools and neatly tended lawns.

I did find the book extremely
Jason Navallo
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Inspiring read about Arnold's "rags to riches" tale, from living in poverty in Austria to living the "American Dream"!

Liked it so much that I actually used it as a source in my book, Thrive: 30 Inspirational Rags-to-Riches Stories.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A pretty enjoyable read. Amazingly written.✍✍ I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. 👍👌
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
S.L. Pierce
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jitka Egressy
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 :)
Jul 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Apr 13, 2013 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
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
Chafic (Rello)
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was surprised at how much there was to take away from this.
This was a pretty enjoyable read for me, it covers the entirety of Arnold's career from humble origins in Austria and his rags-to-riches rise in America through bodybuilding, acting and eventually politics.

This was rather in-depth and somewhat motivational memoir.
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent reading for any Arnie fan. He really is a very inspiring character at times. He obviously comes very humble beginnings but he is always in possession of fierce ambition and a desperate willingness to work. His rise through the ranks in body building shows him almost single handedly bringing the sport from one that engages few but the participants to one attracting worldwide attention, fans and celebrities. The chapters covering his ascent in Hollywood are equally entertaining. The book ...more
Kris Ashton
Jan 20, 2014 rated it liked it
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 Schwarzeneggers mother thought the same thing when he pinned up pictures of his idols such as Reg ...more
Martijn Reintjes
I always kinda thought of him as being this dumb muscle guy, but wow, he accomplished a lot through hard work and being smart about it.
It's inspiring how he keeps reinventing himself: first as a body builder, then a movie star, then a real estate investor and then governor of California.

Learning about early youth I found most interesting, hearing the stories about growing up in a post WW2 Austria.

There are no shortcutseverything is reps, reps, reps.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall: My
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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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

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