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A Hand to Guide Me

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  501 ratings  ·  77 reviews
In his debut as an author, Denzel Washington shares his personal story of the mentors who helped guide his life.Washington pens the introduction for the stories of more than 70 of America's leading personalities in theatre, sports, business, and politics as they tell their life-changing stories of mentorship.

Contributors include Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Antwone Fisher,
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Meredith Corporation (first published November 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-memoirs
Denzel Washington is my favorite actor. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to know that he has written a book paying tribute to the people that made an impact on his life. This book is more about the lessons that he learned growing up, the trials he had to overcome and how he remain tenacious to overcome every obstacle. Usually books like this is only about the author but this book was more about different people from diverse professions such as celebrities, musicians, actors, athletes, ...more
Sameh Neji
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening as I am often interested in who and what motivated people.. It is good to know that most people are encouraged by "regular" people.. this can may you reflect on who had a positive impact on your journey. kind words and act can move people to move mountains.. this book is filled with inspiring accounts .. the book gives one a rewarding experience that anyone can accomplish anything in life if you have confidence in yourself and trust those who continually encourage you to go forward ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: inspirational
If you are looking for a memoir about Denzel this would not be it. These are short (2-3 pages) by various celebrities (heavy on the sports figures) talking about who has been the most inspirational in their lives and compiled by Denzel. After a while they kind of all started to sound the same, which is why I only gave it 3 stars. I think I liked Gloria Steinham's the best because it was kind of quirky and one of the few that didn't mention a parent, teacher or coach. ***spoiler alert***it's Loui ...more
Debora Ryan
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book of inspirational essays continually impressed me, so much so that I want it for my classroom. It's perfect for teaching the personal essay, and they can even be analyzed for the more complex organizational structures I prefer to teach.

The anthology opens with an introduction from Denzel Washington, and it closes that way as well. I've always loved his voice, and as I read, I could hear it clearly in my head. Though it's mostly about The Boys and Girls Club of America, the stories are
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-keepers
Denzel for starters surprised me with the humor... quoting such instances as; “…which is really a euphemism for saying I was on academic probation.” --Oh, that was so funny, as funny as his opening was heartfelt. Ali’s words for Mandela touched me too, and I cried on Walter Anderson’s story. George Bodenheimer laid down a quote his father gave him that had me nodding in approval; “when you’re starting out or over, make a career decision, not a money decision.”

And there were others, many others;
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
If I knew how to add a half a star, I'd rate this at 3 1/2 stars.Moew twstinbials than real memoirs, the essays included in this book all say the same thing: we all need a mentor, we all need a positive influence when we're young. ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was okay but towards the end all the essays seemed to be repeats. I was struck by how many successful people came for very humble beginnings.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Total inspiration - Shows Denzel's compassion and heart for others. And his gratefulness for those who came along side him in life's journey. ...more
Josh Rady
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This autobiographical novel written by Denzel Washington as well as multiple other authors, reminds readers to recognize the effect of the people around them. Washington and the other authors speak about the effect of their friends and family, and how those people have shaped them into the people they are today. Some of the other authors include Tony Gonzalez, Hank Aaron, Whoopie Goldberg, and Michael Vick. This novel is easy for readers to connect with and for that reason it is a great read.
Carlene Lee
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! I especially love how Denzel has identified people who have been inspired and inspired him along his life's journey. I too believe that there is always someone or something that motivates and inspires us to be more than we are. ...more
Teri Temme
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Favorite quote: Whatever abilities you have, you have to use them. Do the very best you can and that's all anyone can ever expect.
Blake Knudsen
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good book, but the stories start to repeat more toward the end. But, other than that great book that provides a lot of thankfulness toward the people you have in your life.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
True inspiration to any person!
Tonya Mangum
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great book of leaders sharing stories of the people that helped to guide and shape them despite circumstances.
Travis Hamilton
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked reading the many mini biographies in the book.
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Each little letter, from an amazing array of folks, held special lessons for all.
Ryan Eshleman
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was looking for book that would give me stories and examples of how other people have helped motivate others. In Denzel Washington’s book ‘A Hand to Guide Me’ there are many stories that show how people have been guided by others. The first story that the book has is Denzel Washington’s himself.
Denzel Washington goes over his past and how a very important person in his life made him become motivated. It goes over how he personally became motivated. It is a quick read and if you would to know
Jordaine Grant
A Hand To Guide Me

In the book "A Hand To Guide Me" by Denzel Washington is a nonfiction book that's telling the story of famous or non famous folks, who had once have someone in their life to guided them to being success at what they are doing today. The book is filled with a lot of people who tells the story of how they are, and who they are today if it wasn't for their mentors. And this story is showing that how one guided hand can change someone's life, and turn it into something better.

Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I never knew much about the Boys and Girls Club. They began over 100 years ago, are in all 50 states nd have >3700 clubs with 415 clubs on U.S. Military Bases.

This book captures LOTS of short stories from people that have given of themselves. A few of my favorite takeaways:
- Luck is where Opportunity meets Preparation (Denzel Washington)
- Either he modeled his life after his father or learned from him how he didn’t want to go about things (John Antioco)
- You can’t just practice to play, you must
Lydia Hale
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I bought this book, I thought it was primarily about Denzel Washington, who is my favourite actor. It's only when I started reading it, that I realized the book contains many stories of "ordinary people, from ordinary beginnings accomplishing extraordinary things".
Reading Denzel's story and so many of the others, it makes you think about who influenced or gave you that push to be successful in life. And also how you can influence, mentor or push anyone you know (children, family, friends a
Jodi P
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-reads
This book is broken down into different essays by prominent figures in the sports and entertainment world. Each one remembers a person who positively influenced their life. Denzel Washington, the official spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club of America, remembers a staff member from his local BGC that helped shape him early on in life and many of the other contributors to the book also remember a BGC staff.

It's a nice book to read. It makes you think about someone who helped influence your lif
Michael Weaver
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a compilation of personal stories about the people who have mentored some of the best, brightest and more notable people in America. Washington recounts his personal story with Bob Stone, whose letter of recommendation gave him the confidence he needed to make it in life. I found this book to be very inspiring and would be a great read for those in high school. There are a lot stories of people who belonged to a Boys and Girls club and more than 50% of the profits go to help the Boy ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
The idea behind this book is great - interview famous people to learn about the person (people) who really made an impact on their lives and helped shape them into the person they are today.
In execution, this fell short for me. The stories tended to be too short, giving you only a brief glimpse rather than a more in-depth understanding. I would have rather had fewer famous people in the book with richer details and storytelling. Good idea Denzel, but next time go for quality instead of quantity.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
This had a good intent and concept of sharing stories written by other celebrities, comedians, athletes, and people in the public eye with their positive message and who influenced, or made an impact on their lives to become who they are today. I thought the book was about Denzel and his life; so I scanned through the stories and can be great for those seeking influence, positive messages, and more...but not for me.

*I love to see Debbie Allen in the book! Kerry Washington, Ruben Studdard, and a
Joanna Coleman
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have just enjoyed reading this book by Denzel my favorite actor!! I loved the fact of this book interjecting that a lot of times you do get help to make it to your destiny in life. It is filled with many motivational short stories from and about famous individuals writing about the people who made a difference in their lives. It reminds me of my athletic teacher in grammar school who encouraged me and told me that I do anything if I put my mind to it.... Loved the book and it has definitely fo ...more
Jun 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-read
This is a collection of essays describing the person who has most impacted their life. Some of the authors are famous or rich but many are normal, average men and women. Many of the mentors are parents, siblings, and teachers. However, some mentors are a person who went to extraordinary lengths to help guide a better future. This book describes how an ordinary person can positively influence another person.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who works with youth
A friend of mine from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Frank Sanchez, coordinated this book with Denzel, national spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs. The book centers around adults and Club alumni who attribute their successes to mentors, such as Boys & Girls Clubs staff and volunteers. This is such a great form of recognition for those who have dedicated their careers to impacting at-risk youth and a great reminder of how we can all make a difference in the life of a child.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The collection of contributors to this book is astounding and I doubt that there is a person who couldn't find someone's that isn't an interesting read. Many of the 'hands' are predictable in that folks talk about their parents. However, there are times when another mentor is mentioned and it simply reinforces the concept that one never knows who is watching and how they will appreciate you or what you do. ...more
Tim Philippi
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yes
We all have general themes in all of our lives.
Simple things:
Type of environment where we grew up
Challenges in our lives.

Its nice to read what people went through to get to where they are at today.
Some of the stories have great insight and others are there to tell you its possible.
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
this was a collection of short essays by famous individuals. The focus was how another person had guided their lives. Some were interesting, many were poorly written, but it definitely made me see the value of the Boys and Girls Club because that organization has touched the lives of many people!
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Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. is an American actor and director. He has garnered much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone.

Washington has been awarded three Golden Globe awards and two Academy Awards for his work. He is notable as

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