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Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

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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 twenty years, he was the world’s biggest movie star. In 2003, he was elected governor of California and a household name around the world.

Chronicling his embodiment of the American Dream, Total Recall covers Schwarzenegger’s high-stakes journey to the United States, from creating the international bodybuilding industry out of the sands of Venice Beach, to breathing life into cinema’s most iconic characters, and becoming one of the leading political figures of our time. Proud of his accomplishments and honest about his regrets, Schwarzenegger spares nothing in sharing his amazing story.

656 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Arnold Schwarzenegger

98 books453 followers
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 Governator" (A portmanteau word of Governor and Terminator, one of his film roles).

As a Republican, he was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis's term. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in California's 2006 gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. Schwarzenegger was sworn in for a second term on January 5, 2007. In May 2004 and 2007, he was named as one of the Time 100 people who help shape the world.

Schwarzenegger was married to Maria Shriver and has four children.

Schwarzenegger's autobiography, Total Recall, was released in October 2012. He devotes one chapter called "The Secret" to his extramarital affair. The majority of his book is about his successes in the three major chapters in his life: bodybuilder, actor, and Governor of California.

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5 stars
8,541 (42%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,729 reviews
Profile Image for Shahine Ardeshir.
171 reviews
March 16, 2013
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 him driven and intentional; if you want to be harsh, you'd say this guy was conniving and postured.

What there is no doubt about, though, is that he's arrogant. Sure, he went to the top of his game in three completely diverse fields (body building, acting and politics) - but particularly towards the second half of the book, it gets annoying. In fact, through and through, the style of writing leaves very little to your imagination - Arnold will tell you what happened, exactly what he (and the other person) said, what he thought and why - in fact, wait a few lines, and he'll even tell you whether it was the right or wrong thing to have done. The subtext for me was: I'm wildly successful, if you want to be too, here's how. Thanks Arnie, but personally, I'd have been content just to hear about your life experiences and judge both success and applicability to my life for myself.

For me, the first half was as interesting as the second half was boring. From a gripping first ten or twelve chapters, where he takes you from a tiny town where he grew up into the little-known world of body building, where each page is a new revelation, the books slows in the second half, with reams upon reams of spiels about Schwarzenegger's politics, and how much he achieved while governor, and how many important people he got to know and "schmoozed" with (schmoozed, by the way, is his favourite word ever). The book crescendos with Arnold's ten principles for success (almost like a summary for an essay-question answer you may have to write in a final exam), which as a reader felt both boring and condescending.

Reading this book wasn't life-changing, but it certainly was thought-provoking. In many ways, the success of Arnold Schwarzenegger - and the unapologetically arrogant air about him - is a reflection of the times we live in. We seem to like someone who made something out of nothing, and give him free license to have bragging rights about it.

That said, whether you come away liking him or not, the personality of the man definitely shines through the pages, and that's what makes it a good autobiography for me. I feel like I know Schwarzenegger a bit better now, and so I have to give him and his co-author credit - they did their job. It starts better than it ends, but it's still an entertaining read. I wouldn't rush out and buy it - but it would make a good present for someone next Christmas.
Profile Image for Mario Tomic.
159 reviews308 followers
February 23, 2015
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. Really, DO NOT miss Total Recall!
Profile Image for Peter.
24 reviews18 followers
February 17, 2013
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 movie star, and has been the governor of one of the most powerful states in the U.S.?

I read his first biography from 1977, Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, after he won his Mr. Olympia titles, and already then I was inspired. Here was a man with a will of iron and incredible drive, and who was completely unapologetic about it. I remember reading somewhere "If Schwarzenegger had more ambition than he has now, he'd have to be running for Galactic Overlord" and realized the author was only half-joking. In Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, we can see that same personality more than 35 years later, after having applied himself in several disparate domains. It is this being successful in so many different ways that makes Arnold larger-than-life.

In this book, he is a bit more mellow than in the previous one. At 30, he still had a single-minded focus on his muscles, but by 65, he has explored & cultivated many more sides of himself. Since then, it seems it's not about just Arnold anymore: he has become a father of 5, and although he definitely has his flaws, he seems to have found a balance between himself, his family, and his public duties. But even at the age when most people retire, he is still living up to his old mantra: "For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer".

Unfortunately, sometimes the book feels a bit written by someone who is very aware of his public image and how what he writes will be interpreted by the reader. But in the end, this is probably something to be expected from someone who has been living in the public eye for decades, most recently even as a politician.

All in all, 5 stars. Looking forward to keep following this inspiring and tireless man over the years to come!
Profile Image for Trish.
1,915 reviews3,402 followers
August 23, 2021
I've been somewhat of a fangirl of Arnie's ever since I was a little child and saw one or thirteen of his movies. ;P
You see, I'm an 80s kid so I grew up in the years when his most iconic movies came out. Moreover, he's a German-speaker and there aren't a whole lot of that who make it onto the big screen (in America, no less) so that gave him extra bonus points.

I'm delighted to say that he's even more cool than I thought. Of course, this is an auto-biography so it's also self-marketing. However, the fantastic thing is that Arnie ALWAYS admits to mistakes. He doesn't cover them up or tries to excuse them away.

We start in Thal, Austria, where he was born in 1947. "Seeing" how he grew up, the era through his eyes as much as his personal story, was quite impressing. I keep forgetting how old the guy is and what that means regarding the history he's lived through.
From here, we soon go into the bodybuilding business. I was very impressed with the "low-key" solutions he and people like him had to come up with back then. Also, it was a very small and therefore tight-knit community so it's no surprise he met a lot of the now-big names early on. Not to mention that Arnie's drive and work ethics are beyond impressive.
Most surprising in this segment was all the stuff he did while doing bodybuilding. He knew he couldn't live off it in the beginning so he also got into real estate, fitness books and videos. And he didn't switch tactics later, when he was famous. So he's always been quite the entrepreneur and kept going with dabbling here and there throughout his life (I mean, the guy bought/leased a Boing 747, for crying out loud)!
Eventually (almost after too much time), we get to him meeting Maria Shriver and follow him into the movie business. The whole connection amongst Hollywood personas (intriguingly, they almost always met through / bonded over some shared history) as well as the Kennedy family stuff was fascinating.
But the most relatable and therefore my favourite part of the book was the movies themselves. Picking his brain, so to speak, about what he liked or didn't like about this or that production and learning why they did this or that movie in one specific way or another ... very illuminating. Just like I was flabbergasted about which movies were either his pitch or in which he was supposed to star but then the studios backed out (after his heart surgery became known). The special connection, of course, was that I've grown up watching these movies and many of the other ones he references.
From there, we go into politics. Well, actually, we had some political views and encounters throughout previous chapters already. But now, we got into his very own political career. Despite Arnie often suffering from what most people suffer from - judging everything by the times they were born and grew up in - he isn't wrong about certain work ethics being important. In general, he's a level-headed guy and it showed in many of his political decisions if you ask me.
In between, we follow his private/family live - marriage, an affair I hadn't known about to the woman who was later with Sylvester Stallone while Arnie was already dating Maria Shriver, having children, relatives dying, his hereditary heart problem, the affair that ended the marriage to Maria Shriver etc.

Like I said earlier, I like that while this is self-promotional (in fact, he frequently mentions that he is always looking to sell himself and get ahead and climb that mountain higher and higher and never stopping), he never shies away from talking about the negative stuff, too. He's very honest and very self-critical (I think it's the same mentality, for him, as improving his acting or sportive abilities).

Another thing I enjoyed - just like in his movies - is the dry humour in between.

So this wasn't as profound a biography as others, maybe, but it was very interesting and I learned more than I had expected, actually. As the title suggested, it was a TOTAL recall of his life so far. *lol*
Moreover, it sounding as if we had a nice convo with uncle Arnie made for a comfy reading experience. Really cool. Just like the fact that the first chapter of the audiobook was narrated by Arnie himself, though Stephen Lang was a great choice for the rest of the book. :D
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
August 21, 2021
Put simply, if you've ever admired Arnold in any capacity before, you'll have plenty to admire within these pages.

He exemplifies the American dream, worn like a cloak before the camera, and he practiced, practiced, practiced all his lines. It's as convincing as his bodybuilding career and his charming bi-partisan political run as Governor of California. That is to say, quite convincing. After all, he always described himself as an iconoclast who would shoot for the top of any and every field. And he obviously worked very, very hard to get there.

It's the American Dream all wrapped up in a nutshell. And it's made all the more convincing because he seems to really, truly believe it. Of course, the times were right and he immediately diversified himself when it came to being the world bodybuilding champion, getting into real estate and making bank before setting his sights on film, and getting in on the ground floor with James Cameron right after making himself a name as Conan. From there on, it was a huge success story of who you know and this is underscored by how he became a part of the Kennedy family. Arnold is a very outgoing guy and undeniably smart and driven. Having a huge run of wildly successful films made him a household name and he became tight with so many people high up in politics. In retrospect, for someone who just says they WANT something bad enough and works extra hard to get there, it's kinda obvious that he would... assuming that he is also a genius at marketing.

From marketing his body, real estate, public perception, having an in with the most prominent American political family, marketing an acting career, and marketing his politics, it's downright obvious.

And you know what? His autobiography is also a great marketing tool. He's made mistakes and done some questionable things, but he always admits to them and sets his sights forward. It's charming. But more than that, he's had one hell of a run and no one can deny it.

I, however, can't quite settle on the fact that it was all about the American Dream. Maybe it's just me. But there are a LOT of frankly amazing coincidences that fell into place even long before his acting career. Either it was fantastic luck AND hard work or it was a truly ruthless marketing campaign with a lot of help from a LOT of people on the outside.

Of course, Arnold did use the word Schmooze to describe all his networking. It very well could have been all of the above.

All told, the book seems to leave NOTHING out. I think it's slightly over-long on the bodybuilding bits but a lot of readers will have different opinions on all that. I would have liked more movie-talking but there was quite a bit here, too. I had a good time getting to know Arnold, regardless.

Profile Image for Dennis.
659 reviews268 followers
April 24, 2022
Arnold Schwarzenegger has led an interesting life. Bodybuilding champion, successful businessman, marrying into the Kennedy family, movie star, Governator. He has quite the story to tell.

As with most highly successful people, a lot comes down to dedication, determination, a strong will to succeed, the discipline to put in the work, the wish to learn and get better. What struck me about Arnold in particular is his kind of childlike enthusiasm and faith in himself with which he approached everything in life. Sometimes this can make him appear a little simple-minded (he is not) or arrogant (he might be a little). But mostly I admire his optimistic outlook.

Growing up in Europe in the 80s and 90s, Arnold Schwarzenegger is first and foremost this big action star to me personally. His bodybuilding career happened a little too early for me and his political career didn't really have much influence on me either. Therefore it perhaps doesn't come as a surprise that I was looking forward to stories about the making of such iconic movies as The Terminator, Predator or Total Recall the most. I got what I wanted, to some extent. But it's actually the part of his life that this book is giving the least amount of space to. Bodybuilding, family life, politics; those are the topics he hast most to say about. It's fine. All of it was interesting. Just not quite enough to give this book 5 stars.

I recommend it regardless. An interesting life indeed.
Profile Image for Петър Стойков.
Author 2 books268 followers
May 25, 2023
Арнолд Шварценегер е културна икона на 90-те, няма какво да се лъжем. Само че вие много малко знаете за него. Почти нищо, мисля си, след като прочетох автобиографията му.

Всъщност, Арнолд е ненормално амбициозен и това обуславя целият му живот. Не използвам думата в лош смисъл - наистина подобна неутолима жажда за успех и безгранична енергичност не се вписват в нормалните човешки рамки.

Арнолд далеч не е само културист и актьор, както го познават повечето хора. Първия си милион той прави преди да е шампион по културизъм - след идването си в САЩ започва бизнеси и инвестира парите в недвижима собственост. След това идват и спортните му успехи, актьорска и политическа кариера, но всичко това е резултат на толкова продължителен и упорит труд, че той просто изглежда като извънземен. Да тренираш 6 часа всеки ден, да спиш по 6 часа всяка нощ, да въртиш бизнес с фитнес брошури, да ходиш да носиш тухли през деня, а вечер - задочно в университета - изглежда невъзможно. И това преди да направиш 25 г...

Не бе, сериозно - представи си някой, роден на майната си в забутаната провинция на САЩ да дойде в Европа, да стане голмайстор на европейското шест години подред, милионер, най-известния актьор, да се ожени за принцеса и да стане президент на Франция (примерно)?!?
Profile Image for Simon Clark.
Author 1 book4,937 followers
September 15, 2018
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 from Arnold the movie star, since watching a video called Arnold's 6 rules of success speech as a teenager I realised that he had his head screwed on right. He valued hard work above all else. He relished challenges. He’d come from nothing and become a sensation. And, at the end of the day, during his peak he was an absolute unit and I really wanted to look like him. I literally was in awe at the size of the lad.

So in picking up his autobiography on holiday I was expecting to learn a bit about how he sculpted himself into a living statue, some on-set stories from his movie career, and maybe understand the scandal about his illegitimate child. What I didn’t expect was to finish the book utterly energised.
In many ways, I couldn’t have timed reading this book any better. I had just finished the months-long process of completing corrections to my PhD thesis, I was on holiday in France with some school friends specifically to relax and recharge, and I was thinking about how to structure the rest of the year to accomplish my goals. But what were those goals? What exactly was I trying to achieve? What was getting me up in the morning?

Enter 18 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger, bursting through the stage left wall carrying a 200kg loaded bar. He proceeds to squat the bar ten times. After this he shrugs the bar to the floor, splintering the boards. He walks up to me and jabs a muscular finger at my chest. “I’m going to be the greatest bodybuilder of all time. I’m going to live in America and be in the movies. I’m going to earn a million dollars. What are you going to do?”

The single most impressive thing that comes across in this hefty autobiography is Arnold’s unstoppable ambition. He goes into ‘machine mode’, to use his own words, and will not rest until he has accomplished his goals. He wanted to be the biggest, greatest bodybuilder of all time so he lifted weights for four hours a day, six days a week. He wanted to be a millionaire so he took college courses on business and economics, and invested intelligently in real estate. He wanted to be a Hollywood leading man and so passed up on bit parts that might damage his career, focusing instead on networking and working until the right movies came up. A lot of progress can be accomplished across different projects in a 24 hour day. In many respects the Terminator could not have been played by anyone else. When it comes to achieving goals, Arnold is the Terminator.

But this book does portray a complex, if at times overly flattering, portrait of the Austrian Oak. From a childhood of hard work and repressed emotions, coming back to bite him in the ass later in life, to his clear sense of loyalty to his friends, you do get a real sense of what makes the man tick. Besides a clear account of life events, which is deftly presented in the book, what more can you want from an autobiography? As I mentioned earlier, sometimes the book does come off as self-congratulatory, but then again what do you expect from a man who rose to the very top of what was possible in three or four separate careers. Occasional arrogance, and a rather glossed over affair, aside this is a very entertaining and endearing read. I certainly finished the book excited to finish my holiday and get back to work. To quote a saying my mum is fond of, I was full of piss and vinegar. This book allowed me to see my own goals more clearly, and while it’s early days I am confident that my life and career will have been significantly improved by reading it.

A must-read for fans of the man, of bodybuilding, and for those with big ambitions.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,172 reviews73 followers
March 27, 2023
4.5 Stars for Total Recall: My Unbelievable True Life Story (audiobook) by Arnold Schwarzenegger read by Stephen Lang and the author.

This is an amazing story. I’m familiar with much of his career but this really helps put things into perspective. It was fascinating to find out what was going on in his life behind the scenes while he was bodybuilding, acting and Governor of California. My only complaint with this audiobook was that Arnold only narrated the first and last chapters. The rest of the book sounded kind of strange in the voice of someone else.
138 reviews2 followers
October 17, 2012
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 opportunity for a poor immigrant boy to become a billionaire. Most right-wing politicians are fuelled by hatred, but Schwarzenegger is actually pretty convincing at claiming altruistic motives. I still think he's wrong - he only experienced the 1 story where capitalism helped someone and not the 999 where it hurt someone - but it's still interesting to understand how the right-wing thinks.

Other things about his story that I found notable:

There are a lot of colour photographs in the book. In his prime as Mr Universe he was certainly well proportioned and attractive so you can see why he won, but it quite strange to compare him to the modern Mr Universe champions who are all much bigger and quite grotesquely bulging. He obviously would have no chance of winning today, yet he is still revered.

He set goals and then achieved them, over and over and over. Rare failures only spurred him on to work harder.

Apparently he went straight in at the top of everything he did. He won Mr Universe on his second attempt, he was making $1 million by his second movie and the same by his second real-estate deal. He attributes this to hard work and self-belief (as do all successful people, due to selection bias) but either he was also blessed with incredible luck, or he had a lot more failures that he left out of the book.

You would think its natural for establishment stars all know each other, but he was already friends with all the main Hollywood stars and was dating a Kennedy *before* he made his first movie. He name drops hundreds of powerful people as friends, and I assume he also had non-famous friends he doesn't mention, so his social network graph must have been phenomenal.

There are lengthy sections that interrupt the flow of the story to explain how wonderful is wife was. Eventually the purpose of these is revealed: he still wants to win her back.

He doesn't sound particularly upset when his mother and father die, nor when his brother is killed in a car crash. The only time he is ever less than cheerful is after his heart surgery when he finds out he will no longer be able to be physically active. He also says he found acting lessons difficult at first because until then he hadn't even realised that men could have emotions. He has been accused of being emotionless many times in the past, so he could have used this book to demonstrate the depth of his feelings even if he had to get the ghost writer to exaggerate, but he doesn't. Therefore I think there is indeed something pretty strange about his emotional make-up. (But then can you find me a billionaire who isn't strange, by definition?)
Profile Image for Maciej Nowicki.
74 reviews50 followers
April 13, 2019
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 estate endeavours.
The book gives a lot of insights into his life and it brought out why he was able to accomplish as much as he did. The book tells how a poor Austrian became an entrepreneur, a professional bodybuilder and eventually a film star and a politician.
For me, the most interesting part was about the Hollywood industry. How it worked at his peak and how he dealt with different stakeholders. By the way, now I get why Conan the Barbarian is the only chapter, from the whole franchise, worth to watch (my honest opinion). On the other hand, I found the second half of the book a bit less appealing. It tells more about Arnold’s life as an American politician and my reflection on that part is that, predominantly, he tries to justify his actions. There is nothing wrong with that, but, much more, I would enjoy some interesting deep dives into the American political industry.
One thing that was also interesting was the way he ends the book which was his ten rules to live. My favourite was “don't let pride get in the way”, “don't... (if you like to read my full review please visit my blog: https://leadersarereaders.blog/total-...)
Profile Image for Sean Peters.
662 reviews121 followers
January 25, 2023
Firstly I have to mention, this is the largest autobiography I have read, filled with acting career, political career, bodybuilding career, his personal life, his family.

Often I read an biography, sometimes autobiography and I ask myself how do you fit a whole life story in 260 pages.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has won more bodybuilding titles than anyone else in the world, including seven Mr. Olympia titles and three Mr. Universe titles. He has also won international fame as a movie superstar. He lives in Los Angeles and was married to Maria Shriver, and has four children.

Powerhouse of a story, the most detailed autobiography read, is it an honest portrayal about an American icon?

While body building still seems like a very strange thing to me, he did a good job of communicating that it's a lot more than just an excuse to look in the mirror. And then, reading about his desire to come to this country, and how he embraced the American Dream was inspiring.

For every handicap he had, from language and accent, to being broke and figuring out real estate and business, creating an acting career while being anything but a leading man type, and finally politics, I was fascinated by his sophistication, his methodical planning, his focus, and how brilliantly he hit all of his goals. There are certainly lessons here for me.

A man with a very active mind, a man determined to make a success of everything he does, films, politics, business, real estate, making money and lots of it.

A terrific read, a good four stars.
Profile Image for Viktor Stoyanov.
Author 1 book157 followers
February 10, 2020
Биографията на Арни е една от онези истории за осъществена американска мечта.

Тя не е тайна за никого, но като за човек, който не е вторачен в холивудските знаменитости, трябва да призная, че имаше доста нови за мен неща - предимно от личния му живот. Дори драмата с извънбрачното дете съм я пропуснал, или какво пропуснал ... просто не следя за такъв род информация от личния им живот, но в една автобиографична книга всичко това се поставя в един друг контекст - не този на пикантерията, а с оглед ценностите, уроците и останалото от сорта.

Книгата се преминава бързо, структурирана е хронологично и изложението е просто - няма да откриете сложни структури и си мисля, че дори човек с неперфектен английски може спокойно да я чете (или слуша) в оригинал. Не е четиво, което задължително бих препоръчал с неоспорими достойнства, но Арни е пич и както сам казва - умее да продава. Още със заглавието ми е уцелил любимия филм с негово участие. Още повече, създава едно такова усещане, че всичко може да се постигне, ако си го представиш, поставиш в списъка с целите и подходиш по точния за целта начин, което в крайна сметка е добро послание за биография.

За положителната оценка ми натежа, че е избягвал самохвалби, признал си е грешки, не се е представил като политик, а по-скоро като практик. Сам казва, че обича да задържа нещата за себе си, а тук се е постарал да се разкрие и това си е развитие на характера. Не мога да кажа, че адмирирам манията му към "пиедестала", но адмирирам, че си го признава. Когато е осъзнато и признато, не е чак толкова лошо. Поне в Библията се споменава така.

В същото време това не е наръчник за културизъм, за фитнес, как се става звезда, актьор, или политик и не бих искал някой да има такива очаквания, тъй като не се задълбава в детайл, а просто дава обща представа. Положително ми повлия и че в аудио варианта част от книгата е прочетена от самия него, а така винаги се получава по-въздействащо в жанра на автобиографиите. Щеше ми се цялата да бе така. Чух към края и името на България, във връзка със снимките тук на Непобедимите, но си беше само споменаване.

Да си призная, дори не знаех, че жена му е от клана Кенеди, което си е пълен майтап за губернатор републиканец. Явно няма невъзможни неща за Арнолд. Много се смях как е трябвало да отиде на официален обяд у техните за пръв път и после на Църква облечен с тенис шорти.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,901 reviews18 followers
March 4, 2023
Genres: Autobiography/Nonfiction

I like this author and have enjoyed many of his movies. Arnold comes across as a "nice guy" with a great deal of success behind him. After reading this book though, none of his success was by accident. He had a dream or two or three and he was motivated and ambitious. Not to mention dedicated and determined to go after his dreams. I admire that type of tenacity.

There is one thing that I didn't care for. I listened to the audio and was extremely disappointed that he did not do his own narration of this autobiography. He started off narrating it.....then someone else took over for the majority. Then at the very end...he came back.

One other thing is that this felt very glossy and by that I mean I didn't get that he was being completely transparent. What was virtually nonexistant was the normal fear, doubt, anger, hardships and grit that comes with the strivings in life....there was not much of that. It felt sugar coated for maximum appeal. Not my favorite. Not a deal breaker either; I'm still a fan. But 3 stars is all I have for this one.
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,590 reviews6,644 followers
June 10, 2020
I enjoyed this book much much more than I thought I would. The mark of a good autobiography is if biographer lives up the hype, a great autobiography makes the read a bigger fan than when they begun. This is how I felt after reading this book. I admit Arnold was a distant 3rd action hero for in the 80s, behind Stallone and Van Damn. However even though I enjoyed their movies more than Arnold's, neither they nor many people have excelled outside the movie industry the way Arnold has. If you have seen him flexing his muscles, it is easy to forget that he had also been blessed with an incredible mind and an iron will. If there is one word I would use to describe Arnold Schwarzenegger it is driven. He has always had a vision of where he's wanted to be, and he has done everything in his power to make it happen.

True there is nothing in this book that is not already reported about Arnold, but it is great to have his whole life story laid out all in one. Being quite a guarded person he mentions things about his personal life but foes not go into too much detail. He is completely open about his work life and accomplishments, for his early days of training, to innovative methods of training today, that have become standard in most athletes today. He does mention steroid use once but does not do into detail about it. In fairness he does say at the time taking steroids was the same as taking a vitamin shot. As no research had been done at the time to find the long term side effects of their use. In fact they had not even been made illegal at the time. He talks about the mental aspects of training and competing to win rather than just another face in the competition.

The next aspect of his life is using the money and notoriety he gained from body building and investing he money in a number of his own business, and projects in order to as he says stay wealthy providing security base for future projects. This allowed him to be financially secure enough to be able to turn down roles in films till he got the leading man roles he was after. Then his personal and work life intersect where he and marries into the Kennedy/Shriver family. Here he learned and created all the networking connection he needed later on to become governor. I would not be surprised if in a few years he became president.

The last third of the book deals with political career, he tries his best to make it sound good, by talking about what he wanted to do, and what he did manage to do, but he was continually tied up in legislation. This is the part I do not believe for one second, he made no money for the 7 years he was governor. He takes the line he is a public servant doing the best for the public. I am sure he is but I cannot believe he did not get paid or have the benefits outweigh the rigours of the job, or there would be no politicians at all. Unfortunately the book finishes on a low personal note for him but, with media and social networking becoming more widespread it is easier to keep up with how this develops. A very good book. A monstrous 624+ pages a real steal for the price. I am sure there is still much more to come.
101 reviews15 followers
January 13, 2016
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, but almost every high achiever I know, has a magnetized picture of themselves. Maybe it’s the reason they aim high; a sense of deservedness, superior to most, destined to rule. For the most part, and for the obvious reasons, they don’t announce it. Some do. But I think it’s always there. You can see it in their behavior. It’s the mindset with which they operate.

Anyhow, all in all, not a bad book.

زندگی‌نامه آرنولد شوارتزنیگر

من نسخه صوتی رو گوش دادم؛ 23 ساعت و 23 دقیقه. فصل اول و آخر رو خود آرنولد می‌خونه. خوشبختانه، بقیه‌اش رو یک نفر دیگه!

فصل‌های کتاب متناسب با زندگی آرنلود پیش می‌ره. از دوران کودکی توی اتریش بعد از جنگ جهانی شروع می‌شه و کم‌کم وارد دنیای بدنسازی می‌شه. قهرمان جهان می‌شه و بعد از مهاجرت به امریکا، می‌ره توی کار ملک و خونه. میلیونر می‌شه. باز هم قهرمان بدنسازی می‌شه. کم‌کم انگلیسی یاد می‌گیره. کلاس می‌ره. بازیگر می‌شه. باز هم قهرمان بدنسازی می‌شه. با خانواده کندی‌ها وصلت می‌کنه. بچه‌دار می‌شه. وارد سیاست می‌شه. و فرماندار ایالت کالیفرنیا می‌شه. فصل آخر هم چند تا اصل می‌گه برای اینکه چطور موفق بشین.

ویرایش کتاب طوریه که حس می‌کنم نمایش یک چهره خوب، یکی از اهداف مهم ویراستارها بوده و باعث شده تا خیلی از انگیزه‌ها و اتفاق‌ها تحت تاثیر قرار بگیره. هرچند یکی دو تا اشتباه بزرگ رو هم اعتراف می‌کنه، اما مطمئنا موقع نوشتن کتاب این اشتباه‌ها کاملا لو رفته بودن و دیگه نمی‌شده نادیده‌شون گرفت.
حجم بیشتر کتاب مربوط می‌شه به کارهایی که آرنولد کرده. و واقعا هم که چقدر این ور اون ور پریده. یک لحظه هم آروم نداشته. انتظار داشتم از انگیزه‌ها و طرز نگرش و طرز فکرش بیشتر بگه. همون جور که خودش هم گفته، خیلی خودداره. دلش نمی‌خواد از خودش چیزی بگه.

خوب بود. ولی می‌شد خلاصه‌تر باشه.

اینم اولین ریویوی من توی گوود ریدز. وات د هل!
Profile Image for Tucinkata.
194 reviews
December 9, 2021
"Предизвикателството се състоеше в това да премахнеш проклятието от всички тези слаби страни. В естествената човешка природа е да работиш върху нещата, в които си добър. Ако имаш големи бицепси, искаш да направиш безкрайно много повторения за този мускул, защото е толкова приятно да го видиш в цялата му гигантска прелест. За да успееш обаче, трябва да си брутален със себе си и да со фокусираш върху недостатъците. Тогава ще ти е нужно око, прямота и способност да чуваш околните."

"Винаги записвах на хартия целите си - навик, останал ми още от времето, когато ходех в клуба по вдигане на тежести в Грац. Не беше достатъчно просто да си кажа нещо от сорта на: "Новогодишното ми решение е да сваля десет килограма, да усъвършенствам английския си и да чета малко повече." Не. Така беше само в началото. Сега трябваше да ги формулирам съвсем конкретно, за да не оставям тези чудесни намерения разпръснати в пространсвото. Вадех каталожни картички и записвах задачите си:
да премина още дванайсет модула от часове в колежа
да спечеля достатъчно пари, за да спестя 5000 долара
да тренирам по пет часа на ден
да си купя апартамент и да се преместя в него
Отстрани може и да изглеждаше, че се ограничавам, поставяйки си конкретни цели, на които да робувам, но всъщност беше точно обратното:на мен ми действаше освобождаващо."

"Списъкът с изискванията му продължаваше:
- Освен това, ако ти си Джо Сантано, ще трябва да се справиш и със сцените в извънградския клуб на богатите южняци, където се организират щум��и партита, а присъстващите глупаци никога не изтрезняват. Всичко, което си постигнал, е полд на упорита работа. А ето, че сега се запознаваш с Крейг Блейк, наследник на голямо състояние, който се разхожда наоколо в скъпи кмостюми и иска да ти бъде приятел. Как ти се струва? Мисля, че можеш да се научиш да правиш всичко това. Но искам да вземеш няколко урока по актьорско майсторство преди снимките.
Боб явно очакваше да се съпротивлявам, защото изглеждаше изненадан, когато се съгласих. А аз преливах от вълнение. Най-после се случваше така, че някой не просто ми обясняваше същината на актьорското майсторство, но го превръщаше и в предизвикателство за мен. Той нямаше да ми даде ролята просто защото бе гледал как печеля Мистър Олимпия и се познавах с приятелите му от киното. Аз трябваше да си я заслужа и това ужасно ми харесваше."

"Познавах начина, по който работеше съзнанието ми, и знаех, че за да постигна нещо, трябва да съм напълно убеден, че трябва да го направя. Целта трябваше да е изтъкана от смисъл и да ме кара да очаквам с нетърпение всеки следващ ден от постигането й, а не просто нещо, което да правя за пари или по друга условна причина, защото така нямаше да се получи."

" - Всъщност - каза ми - имам сценарий за добър уестърн и среща с продуцентите.Вътре има подходяща роля за теб.
Да, шестата или седма по важност роля.
Само че това нямаше нищо общо с онова, което аз планирах за себе си. Ако някой искаше да ме представлява, трябваше да се цели във върха. Нямах нужда от агент, който би казал:"Сигурен съм, че ще намерите нещичко за Арнолд във Вашия филм, може би някоя малка поддържаща роля с няколко реплики".Исках агент, който да удря по масата от мое име и да е готов да каже:"Този човек има потенциал за главна роля.Искам да го подготвя за това.Така че, ако можете да ни предложите едната от трите водещи роли, можем да преговаряме.В противен случай няма какво повече да си кажем."

"Би могло да се каже, че всеки шанс да се снимаш, независимо от ролята, е трупане на опит.Но аз усещах, че съм роден да играя главни роли.Трябваше да присъствам във филмовите афиши, трябваше да съм онзи, който носи филма на раменете си.Осъзнавах естествено, че това звучи налудничаво на всички, с изключение на мен.Но аз вярвах, че единственият начин да станеш лидер, е да се виждаш като лидер и си скъсваш задника от работа.Ако сам не вярваш в себе си,как би могъл някой друг да повярва в теб?"

"Работата изобщо не ми тежеше. Приключваш с филм или книга, заемаш се здраво с популяризирането им, пътуваш по цял свят, защото светът е твоят пазар, а междувременно тренираш, грижиш се за бизнеса и не спираш да проучваш нови възможности. Беше като забавно приключение, затова никога не си казвах:"Боже мой, имам толкова много работа.Напрежението е огромно."
Така че за мен работата бе просто забавление и нови предизвикателства.Ако чуех някой да се оплаква:"Ох, работя толкова упорито, по деет или дванайсет часа дневно", бях готов да го разпъна на кръст:"Какви ги приказваш, по дяволите, когато денят има само двайсет и четири часа?Какво друго си правил?"
Всичко, което правех, можеше да ми бъде хоби.То беше мое хоби в известен смисъл.Влагах страст и емоции във всичките си занимания. Моята дефиниция за живота е винаги да търся вълнение и силни усещания;това е основната разлика между живота и съществуването."

"Когато се върнах от Мексико през февруари 1984 година, започнах да се подготвям за Терминатор. Всеки ден преди започването на филма боравех с оръжия и през първите 2 седмици от началото на снимките се упражнявах да ги разглобявам и сглобявам със завързани очи, докато движенията не станаха автоматични.Прекарвах безкрайни часове на стрелбището.Разучавах техники за цял арсенал различни оръжия, за да привикна към звука им.Не исках дори да трепвам.След като щях да бъда Терминатора, вече не трябваше да поглеждам надолу, когато се освобождавам предпазителя или зареждам оръжието.Трябваше да съм като Конан, когато прибираше меча си в ножницата.Естествено, трябваше да си служа еднакво добре и с двете ръце.Всичко това изискваше повторение.Всяко движение трябваше да се упражни тридесет, четиридесет, петдесет пъти, за да се овладее.От дните на бодибилдинга бях научил, че всичко изисква повторение и упражнения.Колкото повече километри изминаваш със ските, толкова по-добър ставаш, колкото повече повтаряш упражненията, толкова по-оформено става тялото ти.Твърдо вярвам в упоритата работа, когато човек изпълнява всичко, макар и с усилие, без да спира, докато не приключи.Така че това предизвикателство ми се нраваше."

"Човек може да прекали с анализите.Винаги има отрицателни страни.Колкото повече знаеш, толкова по-малко склонен си да го направиш.Ако бях запознат с всичко за недвижимите имоти, филмите и бодибилдинга, нямаше да се захвана с тях.Изпитвах същото им към брака.Може би нямаше да се реша, ако познавах всичко, през което трябваше да премина."

"Казах си, че няма значение, защото в един или друг момент човек търпи поражение.Можеше да е заради друг филм.Можеше да е три години по-късно.Можеше да е пет години по-късно.
Без значение какво си казваш или какво знаеш, когато го преживяваш ти се струва ужасно.Потискаш се, защото съзнаваш, че касовите приходи са слаби, че премиерата не е била успешна.Неприятно ти е да пишат ужасни истории за теб.Смущаващо е хората да започнат да говорят, че това е годината ти на провал.Както винаги, в главата ми спореха два гласа. Единият нашепваше:"По дяволите, това е ужасно." А другият се обаждаше:"Сега нека да видим от какво си направен Арнолд.Да те видим какъв куражлия си.Колко издържливи са нервите ти?Колко си дебелокож?Да видим дали можеш да обикаляш с кабриото си наоколо с отворен гюрек, да се усмихваш на хората и да съзнаваш, че знаят, че току-що си заснел проклет боклук.Да видим дали можеш да го направиш."

"Никога не спорех с хора, които ме бяха подценили.Ако акцентът, мускулите и филмите ги караха да мислят, че съм глупак, това бе в моя полза."
Profile Image for Mark Skousen.
Author 57 books112 followers
March 22, 2013
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 whole world I was not familiar with, such as bodybuilding. I also loved his chapters on building a successful mail order business, real estate investing, and why America is truly the land of opportunity. He tells how he was enamored with Milton Friedman and his book "Free to Choose." All good stuff.... But then he tries his hand at politics, and it all comes apart. He does his best to put a good spin on what any objective observer would consider a failed and flawed governor. I don't think he fixed a single problem in California, and in many ways, he made things worse, leaving office with Californians facing higher taxes, more regulations, and deeper in debt.

But one thing I could never figure out. Schwarzenegger describes in excruciating detail how he sacrificed and disciplined himself for years to achieve his ambitious bodybuilding goals, becoming the #1 bodybuilder in the world, followed by exacting methods to become a successful actor. But then you discover that he lacks any serious discipline or sacrifice to stay faithful to his wife, Marie Shriver, that he had a "love child" from his maid, and numerous other affairs (none of which are disclosed in this audio version). Can anyone explain this to me?

He provides no answer in his autobiography. Maybe he should have named his book after another film title: "True Lies."
Profile Image for Dimitri.
793 reviews196 followers
February 16, 2019
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 than answers - ugly political truths take time to sprout, and one is loath to cultivate his own. A journalist or political historian will have to empty that bag. What the funny internet video's which the race inspired didn't show, was Arnold's political capital - his marriage to a Kennedy and his role in the campaign of (then) vice President George Bush senior in the late 80's, complete with a ride on Air Force Two.

Four stars for the Man as a sportsman and action star, but three for the book in itself.
Profile Image for Ron.
74 reviews4 followers
February 26, 2015
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 might potentially damage the image and respect I already had for Arnold, however after reading a friend's review on the book, I was compelled to read the book.

To start I never knew much of Arnold's bodybuilding career. I had seen Pumping Iron, knew the stories behind it, but that was pretty much it. I was thrilled to find that not only did the book provide Arnold's story from the beginning of his childhood in rural Austria, but the book when into great length and detail about Arnold's first steps into bodybuilding and the motivation behind them. The story is told in such detail and enthusiasm that the read can almost see Arnold writing on the chalkboard everyday to determine what work outs he was going to do for the day. I could see Arnold at the beach in his "gladiator days" with his friends working out and hanging at the beach. The stories are told so vividly that Arnold's earl life and bodybuilding career ended up being one of the most fascinating parts of the book for me since I knew little to none of this section of his life.

It was really inspiring to hear how a boy from a rural village in Austria with no heat and no indoor plumbing defied all odds and avoided so many traps to end up in California. Of course Arnold doesn't stop his rise as a top bodybuilder in California as one of his preexisting goals was to become a famous movie star. I thought the film career section of the book would have been the most interesting to me as that is what I know Arnold best for and what I'm most familiar with in his life. However it is Arnold's stories of how he achieved his goals in bodybuilding, business, film and politics that was the most interesting to me. At times the book reads more like a Tony Robbins motivation book than anything else.

There are so many practical life stories, examples and takeaways from this book that can be applicable to anyone's life. Arnold's thoughts on identifying one's goals and how to achieve them were one of the highlights of the book that I found myself constantly thinking about and how I can apply them to my life and my goals.

While I was reading the book, I must have told a dozen or more people that the book was quickly becoming one of my favorite books and that it was a must read. Well now that I completed the book, I stand by my statement. Not only is this the best autobiographies I've ever read, but this book is one of the best books I've ever read and I intend on buying copies and gifting them to some of my friends that I feel can benefit from Arnold's messages and themes told throughout the story and told in such an interesting and captivating way.

I think it helps that I was an Arnold fan to begin with that helped me enjoy the story so much and by the end of the book I've now become even more impressed with the man's achievements. With all that being said, I think anyone can enjoy this tale of rags to riches and come away with a few new gems of knowledge on how to approach and handle life.

I am very grateful for having read this book and I look forward to reading it again one day.
Profile Image for Chris Steeden.
432 reviews
March 30, 2019
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 interesting. He does not particularly endear himself all the time though. From his Nazi father to some of his antics / shenanigans in the bodybuilding world to win competitions to his rather obsessive craze for money and power. Not to mention his ego. I’ve got to say that Arnie’s body was huge when he was at his bodybuilding best. He really had to work for it. There are some great photos in the book. There is one photo of him squatting 500 pounds in preparation for the 1971 Mr Olympia competition. Crazy weight.

In true fashion we go through his life in chronological order. Nothing wrong with that. Makes perfect sense and gives a great indication of where he came from to where he came. Quite a journey. From being the best bodybuilder in the world to the worst / best actor in the world. I remember when I was 15 trying to sneak into the cinema to see Commando that was an 18 certificate. Arnie was THE action hero.

As I do not follow celebrities at all I had no idea that he was married to Maria Shriver the niece of JFK. Due to this lack of celebrity knowledge the huge scandal moment towards the end is a complete surprise to me. I had no idea. As we say in England, blimey.

Reading the book (Kindle Daily Deal) did bring back some memories of watching his movies. The Scala Cinema in Kings Cross, London, would have Arnie all-nighters which were fun. It is a big book and the photos are excellent but I still feel there would be so many more stories from the films he made.

A generous 4 stars.
Profile Image for Tucinkata.
194 reviews
March 3, 2020
Бате Арни е силно егоцентрична машина, ама кефи и това е.
Profile Image for Abhishek Dafria.
468 reviews20 followers
January 6, 2013
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, Schwarzenegger has lived a life with so much variety that few else could boast of. If you know him as only Schwarzenegger the action hero, you would be surprised to read about his other achievements in greater detail – his bodybuilding days, his construction business, his foray in real estate, his political stand – in his autobiography, apart from also capturing Schwarzenegger, the family man, a father of four kids.

The autobiography is neatly written, laying enough emphasis on all the roles that Arnie has played in his life. While I was eagerly looking forward to read more about his recitation of his Hollywood days, this appears after quite a bulk of pages, as Arnie goes through his initial life in Austria, his early bodybuilding days and his success in competitions such as Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia. Even this part of his life displays the competitive spirit in the man, his attitude of choosing big goals and then chasing them with single-mindedness. The best part of the autobiography is of course reading through his various movies, how he received those roles, events that happened on movie sets and what went right and what failed at the box office. There is a chapter titled The Terminator which talks about Arnie receiving the offer to be part of this audacious sci-fi movie being planned by a “skinny, intense guy” James Cameron. The role offered to Schwarzenegger was of... no, not the Terminator, but Kyle Reese the protagonist who fights the Terminator in the movie. But it turns out that Schwarzenegger talked way too much about how the Terminator should behave during his first meeting with Cameron that the latter offered him the role of the killing machine, which is now definitely one of the greatest characters ever enacted in sci-fi movies.

Schwarzenegger talks in detail about his relationship with Maria Shriver, of the Kennedy clan, and a Democrat while Arnie is a Republican. He talks about his wife and his family lovingly, or as much as a bodybuilder can muster, and his family life is interlaced throughout his book, including his relationship with his mom. The last quarter of the book is about Schwarzenegger the Governor or the ‘Governator’ as he calls it; the challenges he faced as California’s Governor with the state finances in disarray at a time that the economic situation worldwide was dwindling. While throughout the book, Schwarzenegger hardly talks about making many mistakes, it is as his role as Governor which makes him appear more human. As someone who was new to the job and in his enthusiasm to get things done his way, realised the many stumbling blocks in his path.

Total Recall is maybe not as openly written as Andre Agassi’s Open. Schwarzenegger talks very little about the movies that did not really pull up his career. So the demise of films such as The 6th Day and Collateral Damage are mentioned in short. Also, at times you may get the feeling of Schwarzenegger being too haughty of his achievements. Nonetheless, I found it a book written with a warm heart, a man’s thoughts about himself, a man who strived for a lot and achieved most of his goals. The last chapter Arnold’s Goals is a specific takeaway from the book. So whichever way you see him, like him or hate him, what you cannot deny is that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been at the top of his game, in whichever field he was, for a long long time. A story worth reading about...
Profile Image for Lisa.
794 reviews17 followers
July 2, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Just a Girl Fighting Censorship.
1,857 reviews112 followers
March 10, 2015
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 disappointed to discover that only the first and last chapters are narrated by Arnold. Perhaps they thought it would be too difficult for people to understand him. However, as the book went on this no longer bothered me. The way the book was written and presented still sounded very much like Arnold, it came across as very conversational.

I am a huge Arnold fan and have loved him since I was a child. My mom owned Arnold's Bodyshaping for Women and I thought that if I followed his regiment I too might some day be an action hero. This book felt very Arnold, I don't know if he had any help but it sure sounded like he wrote this himself.

A common complaint I have seen is that he has a huge ego and never stops talking about himself....

It's an autobiography! You are supposed to talk about yourself, it's pretty much the definition of autobiography. People buy the book because they want to know more about the people writing it. Still, Arnold is very gracious to others in the book like Lou Ferrigno, Milton Berle, George H.W. Bush, James Cameron, his Kennedy in-laws, and his wife among many others. He does own up to various mistakes he has made along the way but doesn't make any display of false modesty. He is proud of what he has accomplished, and why shouldn't he be? It would be one thing if he was some washed up one-hit-wonder or if he was claiming to be some sort of acting god, but he doesn't. He manages to not take himself too seriously while also taking pride in his accomplishments, which are significant.

He goes into detail about just how much he contributed to bodybuilding as a sport, explains how he became the highest paid actor and number one in the box office, talks about his time as the Governor of California, and looks at the entrepreneurial spirit that made him a success. Let's face it, the man has a lot to be proud of, he's a total boss.

I loved that he gave the reader an inside look at the Kennedy family, bodybuilding, the movie business, and the world of politics. I was fascinated to learn about his youth in a post WWII Austria and his stint in the army. I was amazed to see how he worked hard and never stopped reaching. This book was also laced with a great dose of humor and reignited my appreciation for Arnold.

There wasn't as much movie information as I would have hoped for and the politics section seemed to be a little dry with a little too much detail. I guess I'm just not interested in the the minutia of a state government that I do not live in, have never been to, and don't really care about.

Overall, this was enjoyable. It felt very personable and I was left feeling inspired.
Profile Image for S.L. Pierce.
Author 8 books629 followers
November 26, 2012
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 work harder on my goals. It is also written in a very entertaining way.
Profile Image for Dimi Tsioubris.
65 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2020
I knew that Arnold is a very intelligent man, but he is very funny too, i laughed so much with many of the incidents he describes, especially in the beginning of his career, the writing is very good, it feels like he stands beside you and talks to you about his life, and all that he accomplishes throughout his life seems so easy when it's not, and that is because he has such a strong personality, recommended to everyone who wants to learn one or two lessons about life... Be humble, stay hungry!
Profile Image for Roman.
135 reviews79 followers
July 26, 2020
Skvele napsane a velmi inspirativni cteni. Arnie popisuje svou sportovni, obchodni, hereckou a politickou karieru. Ve vsem co delal chtel byt uspesny pardon nejlepsi. Celou dobu to na cloveka pusobi dojmem, ze zustal velmi pokorny. Na nikoho nehazi spinu, a kdyz udela botu, proste to prizna. Jako imigrant nemel v USA na ruzich ustlano, ale vlastni pili a ctizadosti uspel. Byt to znamenalo mit nekolik paralelnich zamestnani, do toho studovat a jeste se pripravovat na kulturisticke souteze.
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