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Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  4,320 ratings  ·  579 reviews
In his signature larger-than-life style, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall is a revealing self-portrait of his illustrious, controversial, and truly unique life.

The greatest immigrant success story of our time.

His story is unique, and uniquely entertaining, and he tells it brilliantly in these pages.

He was born in a year of famine, in a small Austrian town, th
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Paperback, 646 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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Richard
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
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Peter
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
Mark Skousen
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
Mario Tomic
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
Lisa
Jul 02, 2013 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Alex Ristea
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
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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
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Abhishek
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
Markus
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
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
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 :)
Ron Versetto
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
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Петър Стойков
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
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Graham
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
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John
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
Dave
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
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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
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Scott
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
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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
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Robert Frost
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
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Kenny
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
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Gil
Arnold is one of the most ambitious people of our generation. This account satisfied my curiosity on so many levels about his bodybuilding career, his film career, how he met Maria Shriver, his tenure as governor and his affair with his house maid. This book seems to discuss it all, probably in the light most favorable to Arnold but I don't care. It is just fantastic.

I couldn't put it down and it made me want to get involved in California State politics (and that's saying something!). I admire
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David Spencer
(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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Ekaterina
What can be better to learn more about my favorite actor than to read his autobiography? Of course, nothing! I always wanted to know more about him, and how convenient it was to find out that he wrote his memoirs. I really enjoyed this book! It is well written, although it has some profanity but not too much. Not only he writes about his life like it is some kind of diary, but he also reveals details on movie making process, sport and politics. Like why it is made this and that way, I found that ...more
Gavin Smith
This was much more interesting and diverse than I had expected. In some ways, it's almost like three separate biographies. Part one is the story of a small town kid that becomes by far the most famous bodybuilder in the history of the sport. Part two is the story of a wide eyed European immigrant that makes it big in Hollywood. Part three is the story of a very successful local businessman moving from the private sector into political life late in his career. Throughout the three parts of the st ...more
T. Edmund
Beginning Total Recall was a strange experience for me, action hero Arnold had been a childhood idol, a fact I may have repressed for some time (or at least since Terminator 3.) I've always been vaguely familiar with his body building years, but not being a U.S. citizen I hadn't really followed his political career. Essentially what I'm trying to say is I approached this book with a fair amount of 'blank slate' aside from some historic enthusiasm from movies such as Conan, and Terminator.

As auto
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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
Natalie
I'm not gonna say that this book was some amazing piece of writing, because it wasn't. Every line i read, i read in Arnold's voice. Which is pretty hilarious in itself. However,I did feel that even though it's clear he had helpers to write the book, most of what was said seemed to be in his own words and insightful. I enjoyed reading about his bodybuilding career and how he worked to transition into movies with that ridiculous accent of his. And i never knew that Arnold was already a self made m ...more
Patrice
This is a huge book about a huge man with a huge life and a huge ego. What a life!

The juxtaposition of reading this book and seeing The Great Gatsby really made me see the connection. Ahhnold is a dreamer, like Gatsby. He had a vision and an ambition to make the dream come true. The ultimate narcissist he really lived from the inside out. No one else really exists for him unless they are part of his dream. And he was smart enough to pull it off. Sort of.

From poverty in Austria, to Mr. Olympia.
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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
More about Arnold Schwarzenegger...
The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men Arnold's Bodyshaping for Women Arnold Schwarzenegger's Educational Bodybuilding

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“What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else?” 41 likes
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