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Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist
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Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  19,464 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews
There are many words to describe Michael J. Fox: Actor. Husband. Father. Activist. But readers of Always Looking Up will soon add another to the list: Optimist. Michael writes about the hard-won perspective that helped him see challenges as opportunities. Instead of building walls around himself, he developed a personal policy of engagement and discovery: an emotional, psy ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Hyperion Books (first published September 1st 2008)
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3.82  · 
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 ·  19,464 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews


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Brina
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: celebrity, memoirs
Growing up, my favorite movie series was Back to the Future. I watched it countless times as well as the tv cartoon spinoff. The characters Doc and Marty were ingrained in me, and I rooted for them to defeat Biff Tannen on their adventures through time, cheering, singing, cringing along the way. The movies hold a special place for me because in Part II, director/producer Steven Spielberg claimed that in 2015, the Cubs would win the World Series in a sweep. Ok, so they won the 2016 World Series i ...more
Jason
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
When I eat lunch out by myself during the work week so I can read a book, I typically expect to be left alone. Having your head stuck in a book is not a smile at someone to encourage interaction.

But reading Always Looking Up with its author Michael J Fox on the cover while out last week caused two people to stop me to share a brief story! One man likely had Parkinson's disease (PD), and noted that he had read Michael J Fox's first book and was eager to read the one I held; the other person told
...more
rjp316
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Found most of the book to be very boring. I admire Fox for not letting PD take rule his life and using his celebrity status to bring money and research to find a cure. However most of this book was not very personal or about been in optimistic person – it was about how he created his foundation and the politics involved – especially lobbying of stem cell research (which I do not support – embryonic that is other kinds are fine). His section on faith – was not really about what type of faith he h ...more
Susan
Nov 19, 2008 added it
Part memoir, part political argument, part medical story, this is a well-written, touching, intellectually-stimulating...erm...book. Surprise! It's a book!

Cathy
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Listening to it as an audio book really added a lot to the experience; hearing Michael's stories in his own voice was terrific. I learned a lot about Michael, from his perspective on family life to his growth in his career. Did you guys know that Tracy is Jewish and that the family (including Michael) has been very involved in a Reform temple in NY since his son was born? Of course, a chunk of the book deals with his illness and how he deals with that, but the book is about mu ...more
Cori Reed
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

I think I went into this book expecting something different, and it really changed my experience. While not terrible, it wasn't written in a particularly interesting way, and this could be my expectations talking, but it also wasn't witty or funny in any way.

I like Michael J. Fox. The Canadian in me holds him dear to my heart. Sadly, this book wasn't for me.
Reader
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for inspiration to make good things happen with their lives
Recommended to Reader by: Happened upon it at the store
As a kid, I admired Michael J. Fox for his role as a likable, honest and funny star of “Family Ties.” I didn’t realize it then, but I was witnessing one of America’s last true role models as it entered a more modern era of surprisingly low standards among celebrity lessons geared toward the youth.

As a teenager, I admired Michael J. Fox for his role as an adventurous, humorous, modest, skateboarding, guitar-playing, girl-getting famous actor in his “Back to the Future” trilogy of movies. I didn’t
...more
John
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
In Michael J. Fox's movies, I loved how he was always able to play unassuming, normal characters and then inject them with a certain heroic quality that I think arose from his own inner-passions and zest for life. He radiated "cool" in a seemingly effortless way, which is a nice change of pace from the usual sexed-up, overly made-up, unlikeable crop of young actors that have become the norm in Hollywood. Unfortunately, in this, Fox's second book, he comes across as every inch the celebrity, maki ...more
Shayne Bauer
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh, how I adore Michael J. Fox! (And I probably rated the book a bit higher due to this.)

His book is divided into the "four pillars" of his life: work, politics, faith, and family. While some sections are more interesting to read than others, I enjoyed this glimpse into his complicated life. Fox accepts the reality of his condition with a self-deprecation that evokes both sympathy and laughter. He openly describes the symptoms of Parkinson's, specifically a "central body tremor": "...it feels as
...more
Lain
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
I love MJF and respect his work. But I just couldn't get through this book. I found it disjointed, hard to follow, and confusing. It seemed to jump around in space and time, and I couldn't get a handle on a continuous thread. I put it down halfway through the "Politics" chapter. I would have appreciated a primer on stem cell research to help make everything make sense. Instead he jumps right in with politician names, scientific details, and no explanations.

It would have been better if he just f
...more
Barb Middleton
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, biography
This story is more like looking at merchandise through a store's glass window than owning it. Michael J. Fox lives a different life than the average person and even with Parkinson's it is hard to relate to his experiences. What I like about children's books on disabilities, such as "Wonder" or "Paperboy," is that I can relate to the main characters and their feelings. In the end, they are just kids with feelings most kids experience - myself included. I can't do this with Fox. In the end, he's a ...more
Nikki-ann
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: auto-biography
Always Looking Up is a very fitting title to this, the 2nd autobiography by Michael J. Fox. He's a short man, so he's "always looking up", but it's not just that... He's also eternally optimistic and full of hope.

Michael J. Fox is... was... a Hollywood actor cut short (sorry!) in his prime by a devastating disease... Parkinson's Disease. But he's decided that he isn't going to let that stop him! While acting is increasingly difficult to do with the symptoms of PD (Parkinson's Disease), Michael p
...more
Marla
Dec 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's decided. After seeing this book sit on my shelf for over a year and half unfinished, I'm closing shop. I hate to say it, but I can't bring myself to finish it.
In Michael J. Fox's defense, I enjoyed most of the first few chapters. Fox wrote in detail his struggles with Parkinson's disease, and it granted me a view of a completely different world. This I do appreciate about his book.
However, after Fox explains the progress of establishing his foundation (another interesting part I enjoyed re
...more
carol.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: auto-biography
Enjoyed it. A fast read. I don't normally read many memoir types, but as a nurse, I find his story of living with a potentially debilitating illness impressive. He divides the book into subject areas of politics, faith and family, which means the story is not focused on an overall evolution. In some ways, it makes it less coherent of a narrative, but he can tell his story any way he likes. It was also interesting to get his person insight into some of the national issues he got involved with, sp ...more
Alana
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
If Lucky Man: A Memoir was a coming-of-age tale, then Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist is the story of a man learning even more about who he is not only as a man, but his place in the world as a human being. It's more "adult," insomuch as Fox more fully fleshes out his thoughts on those touchy subjects (politics and faith in particular) and he continues to reveal more of his heart on all subject important to him.

Regardless of more recent events, seeing the inspiration a
...more
Boundless Book Reviews
In Always Looking Up, Michael J. Fox shares all aspects of his life, before and after Parkinson’s disease. I am amazed by his beautifully optimistic perception of life; as he shares personal stories from his career as an actor, life as a husband and a father of 4. Readers and fans see the genuine Michael J. Fox, as he passionately shares his stance on Stem Cell Research, political views, religious beliefs, and friendships ups and downs; including a few stories including personal friends we recen ...more
Amanda
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Fox intrigues me simply because he went the opposite direction with his Parkinson's diagnosis than my dad did with his. After reading this book, I'm more impressed than ever. Fox began exhibiting symptoms of PD when he was 29 but brushed them off as overexertion. The actual PD diagnosis brought a some depression and a time of keeping it to himself. He continued to act on Spin City until the symptoms just couldn't be contained anymore.

This book is divided up into 4 sections: Work, Politics, Faith
...more
Jinky
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is the second autobiography that Mr. Fox (kinda weird to be so formal considering I had posters of him all over my bedroom wall as a giddy teenager) wrote. The first titled Lucky Man, which I haven't read. This one basically memoirs his life after retiring from his hit TV sitcom, Spin City in 2000. He divided this book into four parts: work, politics, faith, and family.

Non-fiction books can be a tedious read so finding an interesting subject becomes essential. Needless to say, Michael J. F
...more
Irene
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in Parkinson's
Shelves: biography-memoir
A really easy and satisfying read. Always Looking Up picks up where Lucky Man leaves off, both in content and time. Once again, I am struck by Michael J. Fox's writing abilities. He writes with grace and wit, even humor (especially when he writes about being a father). As in Lucky Man, he jumps around chronologically, so you really want to read the date at the beginning of each passage, if you want to put events into context.

This book focuses primarily on Fox's experiences with Parkinson's Disea
...more
Michael Bond
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox was a novel that reflected on the life of this incredible man. Split up into four parts, this book breaks down the parts of his life that many readers can relate to. The four toipics are Work, Politics, Faith, and Family. Michael J. Fox, as most people know, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, or PD. All of these topics somehow are affected by this horrible disease, and the ways Michael hurdles the obstacles ahead of him inspire many. Work, if it isn't obv ...more
Ken
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
One of a handful of celebrities with the misfortune to be stricken with PD, he has turned his situation into a battle cry to fight the disease. This short bio explains what this journey has meant to his career and family, while forcing him into the unfamiliar territory of politics. It's amazing that he's able to stay positive and keep his humor, but after finishing this book it becomes much clearer. He obviously loves his family and is a determined soul. It's the same determination that drove h ...more
Nichole
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
If only I could be as clear-headed, positive, open, and thoughtful in my every day life as this author is as he battles a deadly disease. ALWAYS LOOKING UP is not a celebrity memoir. It is considered journey through the past ten years of living life with Parkinson's Disease. But it isn't a downer or heavy on the medical details. Fox shows instead how living with PD has affected the way he views family, faith, life, and politics. And he writes eloquently and movingly on each topic and is a fantas ...more
Claudia
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It is an unbelievably personal, poignant, and moving book. He describes four pillars in his life: Work, Politics, Faith, and Family. In each he describes people he’s met, ranging from “ordinary” people to Lance Armstrong to George Stephanopoulos to Muhammad Ali to Pete Townsend and Bruce Springsteen (the latter two of which he’s played guitar on stage with). Each story, each place, each memory is replete with humor, grace, and truthfulness. He describes his personal daily struggles with Parkinso ...more
Sarah
Always Looking Up was a bit hit or miss for me. The chapter about work was rather boring to me. Ive seen Spin City but I was too young back then and I can barely remember anything about it, just the general vibe of the show comes to my mind when I think about it.

The second Part "Politics" was a mixed bag. It depended on how awake I was. If I was just a little tired I was prone to falling asleep while reading it. ^^

Most interesting and touching was part three "Faith". Fox talks about his involvem
...more
Che
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parkinson's patients, those who need inspiration, fathers
Recommended to Che by: iamjallen
It was a lot more political than I assumed it would be. There were also a number of unexpected religious passages. I got it hoping to be inspired. It doesn't disappoint. However, it was not the type of inspiration I thought I would receive. He doesn't offer colorful insights into how to live your life better. Instead, he openly discusses the transformation his life has taken: from being a reckless young Hollywood actor, to being a family man with Parkinson, to becoming a spokesperson for Parkins ...more
Tami
May 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
After seeing Michael J. Fox's television special on optimism, I was expecting more of the same from this book. After all, the subtitle is "Adventures of an Incurable Optimist". It would have been more aptly subtitled, "Adventures of a Political Activist". Not that there's anything wrong with that...had I been looking for a book chronicling the political lobbying of stem cell research (which I happen to believe is a worthy cause) this would have nicely fit the bill. The chapter on politics is the ...more
Emily
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was even better because Michael J. Fox narrated it himself. It has witty humor and was incredibly personal. Apparently this is his second autobiography. I'm going to have to go pick up the first one.

I knew very little about Michael J. Fox aside from the movies he was in and that he has Parkinson's and a foundation for research. Learning he was Canadian, the background of his childhood, his political background, and his family.

I missed that the title of the book had a multiple meaning
...more
Connie
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
While reading Michael J. Fox's second memoir, I was impressed with his optimistic attitude, devotion to his family, and hope for the future. The book begins with his retirement from "Spin City" in 2000 as his health problems worsened. His commitment to finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease involved setting up the MJF Foundation to support research into the disease. He also helped in the campaigns of politicians of both parties that were pro stem cell research.

Much of the book involves both humo
...more
Steven
If you want to read a great book by a heartfelt and honest optimist, give this a read.

This follow-up memoir to Fox's LUCKY MAN is even better than its predecessor. Relentlessly first person, Fox lets you into his head on matters of life, politics, faith, and family. While his Parkinson's disease is ever part of the equation, his deft humor remains the constant in this book. Don't go looking for behind-the-scenes info on Hollywood or acting here; this book is tightly focused on Fox's personal li
...more
Dixie LoCicero
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for the 2nd time because I admire his optimism and enjoy his outlook on life. I wanted to start the New Year out on a positive note! The book covers his last season of Spin City, when he realized he needed to retire and how it was a difficult choice, but the right one. He then became very involved in pushing for stem cell research and speaking out on behalf of all those who suffer various diseases, especially Parkinson's. It is amazing how his marriage became even stronger throu ...more
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Canadian/American film and television actor.

His roles include Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982–1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996–2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He also starred in Doc Hollywood and Secr
...more
“You suffer the blow, but you capitalize on the opportunity left in its wake.” 25 likes
“I have no argument with those who see in organized religion a template or an imperative to live life according to a prescribed set of beliefs. Just give others the room, within the laws of civil society, to believe or not believe whatever they like.” 24 likes
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