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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future...: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  4,388 ratings  ·  676 reviews
Michael J. Fox abandoned high school to pursue an acting career, but went on to receive honorary degrees from several universities and garner the highest accolades for his acting, as well as for his writing. In his new book, he inspires and motivates graduates to recognize opportunities, maximize their abilities, and roll with the punches--all with his trademark optimism, ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 100 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Hachette Books
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  4,388 ratings  ·  676 reviews

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Heidi The Reader
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Michael J. Fox talks about his life, career and health. There's nothing world-shattering in here, but if you enjoy watching Fox as an actor, you'll probably like this book too.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future reminded me strongly of Steve Job's 2005 commencement address at Stanford. Both of these men chose not to pursue higher education. They both also found, through their own meandering ways, fulfilling, purposeful, and powerful lives that were rich in meaning for themselves and
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an OK book. I picked it up from the new release shelf at the library because I'd recently heard MJF's interview on NPR about this book, and it was a wonderful interview (so good that I stopped what I was doing to just sit & listen). If you listened to the interview, no need to get the book. Already covered. It's really one of those "Life Lessons" books you might give to a new graduate. In fact, one gets the impression it is a commencement speech in print. I really enjoyed the last chapt ...more
Kressel Housman
This little memoir by actor Michael J. Fox is marketed as a gift book for a new graduate, but anyone who grew up with him will enjoy it. First of all, he is nothing like Alex Keaton. Far from an over-achiever, he dropped out of high school to go to LA and pursue a career in acting. Because he was successful, he didn't even get his high school equivalency diploma until his middle age. Till then, though, he was learning the lessons of life, and he summarizes them in this short book. His years of p ...more
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Only 100 pages, but full of good advice for graduates or anyone. If you grew up watching Michael J. Fox on "Family Ties" and "Back to the Future" then this book will make you smile. ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the title of this book and the cover art. I like Michael J Fox and this was an autobiography of sorts. I say 'of sorts' because it wasn't like most of the autobiographies I've read. It wasn't about his life and his struggles, especially with Parkinson's. It was exactly what the subtitle says it is, "Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned." It was a pep talk filled with his life lessons. This was a very positive book. So 3 stars. ...more
Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl
Saw this at the library and as a huge Back to the Future fan, I simply couldn't resist and I needed a little break from my usual mystery/thriller/horror fiction anyway. This little volume is easy to read and geared toward recent high school graduates. I enjoyed all the references to the movies and Michael's opinions on literature. I found it rather insightful :-) ...more
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a pocketbook I wish Michael had elaborated like his 400-page award-winners. His fantastic writing is en forme in "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Future". I was again swept away by intelligent, creatively-phrased nuggets that somehow maintain his anecdotal and wholly colloquial style, slang and all, as only Michael J. Fox can graciously do. The only reason it took four bedtimes to pour over this wonderful excursion of 2010 is because I have been celebrating my birthday week-end! ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: male-protagonist
I've forgotten some of what this book was about. But I remember while I was reading it that I was surprised to find out that Michael J. Fox dropped out of high school. He did get his GED later on.

It's a very short book, in which Fox gives little tid-bits about his life. His goal was for the reader to get whatever they wanted to out of his experiences without outright trying to tell you exactly what to do. It didn't really work for me. It wasn't that he did tell you what to do, just that I could
This is a short book of memoirs and learning Michael J. Fox received after he dropped out of high school to pursue acting. It's primarily addressed to people around the age he was when he dropped out and college kids. Fox is supportive of higher education (pointing out that there are far more success stories of college grads than high school drop outs, particularly in today's younger adults), but lets us know that learning doesn't just happen in a class room.

There is humour here, naturally, but
Ricky McConnell
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good book if you are looking for inspiration. It would be a good gift for a graduate as well. I always liked the character Alex on Family Ties, and it almost feels like his character comes through in this book. This book is very short, but would be good to read over again when a person is feeling down.
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, self-help
A book this slight doesn't merit a lengthy review, so I won't bother. Not that I'm bitter; this is the kind of thing somebody stuck for a gift buys at Hallmark as a last resort -- I got it from the library. But still, why bother to publish in hardback a 3X5 hundred-pager if you're not going to include primary-colored Snoopy cartoons?

I picked this up on the strength of an NPR interview with the author. Is there anyone unfamiliar with Michael J. Fox? He rose to fame in the role of young Reagan ent
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, humor, nonfiction
This book may have been intended as a gift book for graduates, but there is something here for everyone. In a straightforward manner, Fox shares with us the ups and downs he experienced when he first was out on his own. We learn what worked, what didn't, and what he might have done differently, had he only known. With a touch of humor, Fox, a high school dropout, illustrates clearly how he learned about economics, physics, political science, literature, and geography all while trying to succeed ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Thank God this hoverboard didn't stay aloft for long. Cause it is hard to kick oneself while aboard. It is not that the book is terrible, or anything like that, but I expected more memoir and less cliche-filled instructional manual, organized along college-level course offerings and life lessons, such as they are, from Hollywood. Fox is a wonderfully comic actor who contributed to many well-loved television shows and movies, and he seems to have managed well the tough hurdles that have been thro ...more
Boundless Book Reviews
I bought this after listening to Always Looking up, by Michael J Fox. I recommend listening to this one first, I didn’t.

This is a great book and I absolutely love Michael J Fox; however, Always looking Up included a lot of the same stories with more detail. This is a short read/listen; my husband and I listened to it on a short drive through the country a few counties over so it was the perfect length.

Overall, I like the book and rate it with 4 Boundless Stars....Beth

Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: advice, humor, memoir
When he is asked to address graduates, faculty, family and friends at commencements Michael J. Fox opens with a question: “What the hell were you people thinking? You are aware that I’m a high school dropout?” And I’m glad I got this from the library, and not bought it or was given it. It’s a pleasant enough way to spend an hour or so, but this autobiography/ advice book isn’t much else.
Bill Lynas
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actor Michael J Fox gives us his own short guide to the trials & tribulations of the education system, along with tales from his film & TV work & how he has been dealing with Parkinson's Disease. ...more
Natasya Habibah
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this book on midnight and done it at 5 am while I had my online class on 7 am, seems like a dumb move but no, a time well spent.

I was digging about Michael J. Fox for about a weeks and finally decided to read one of his books, I started with the shortest one. This book was like a so-called-commencement-speech for graduates but without sounds like, "there's a journey and an open road in front of you, good luck for your future endeavours". No. More like quoting Dr Brown from Back to The Fu
Garrett Pope
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response:
I thought A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future was a great book to read. It was pretty short, so I wish this book could have been a little bit longer. I learned a lot of new information about Michael J. Fox and how he started out his acting career.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned by Michael J. Fox is a book about life lessons. It is also about the life and rise to fame of Michael J. Fox. The book starts by
This short (maybe 100 pages) book appears to be derived from commencement speeches Fox has given, and it's both entertaining and engaging. I like how he broke his life lessons down into courses of study, and there were some LOL lines in the one titled "Physics." Love his pragmatism and no BS demeanor. Also love that this book spurred me to go watch clips of his work on Family Ties. I'd forgotten just how good that show was. ...more
Melanie Kondziolka
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet. Nothing I hadn’t heard from Michael j fox in the past but I wanted something comfortable, familiar, short and semi sweet. I did enjoy how each chapter started with college classes and quotes.
Amanda Yamate
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love MJF! Loved this sweet book.
Susan Grace
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very sweet, lovely little book! A nice reminder that life happens for us! Michael shares his recognition that his PD is a GIFT and that his most challenging life experience's have been his greatest teachers! ...more
Apr 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-books
This book is intended for graduates and I thought the message would be more of a happy, feel-good source leisure reading. But right from the beginning, he tells us this is not going to be an advice book and you don't need a book to tell you what you need.

I found it an interesting biographical summary of his educational background, foray into acting and embrace of his medical condition - none of that an easy path and so it didn't quite strike the right note in terms of my expectations. Funny thi
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lightweight "gift for the graduate" book, that I found compelling because of Michael J's humor and honesty. ...more
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
I read this almost immediately after finishing Michael's latest book (which I absolutely loved), and as much as I love him, I'm sorry to say that this one doesn't measure up.
If you've read any of Michael's books, then "A Funny Thing..." will be a review. Think of it as a mini autobiography, geard toward graduates.
I found a lot of it repetitive and not very interesting, to be honest.
Only a few laughs, but there are some hidden gems; you just have to look for them.
I recommend this for those wh
Theresa Powers
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have had a crush on Michael J. Fox since my teenage years so I just had to read the book. It was great hearing his perspective on life and the cards he has been dealt through the years. He learned some very important lessons that every young man or woman should take heed to on their journey in life. Even though he is a famous movie actor, he started in a very middle class situation and even experienced poverty for a time in his life. He learned that if you choose not to go to college for an ed ...more
Oct 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Having been born in the 80s and having grown up with Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, Alex Keaton and seeing him in other films to seeing him live with Parkinson's Disease...when I saw this book on the shelf at the library I picked it up to see what it was about.

This itty bitty "memoir" styled book of lessons was an itty bitty inspirational glance into life. Was it life changing? No, but it was a delightful little book. There were some really great quotes that I really absorbed and enjoyed....Her
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: tv
A simple little motivational gift book by Michael J. Fox. I always look at the prices of stuff like this. $17 for this tiny little book? Who in their right mind would buy this? It's less then 100 pages and tiny. Yay library! Anyway, this book wasn't for me at all anyway. It is targeted at recent graduates. And it was kind of all over the place anyway. What I got from it is, yay, you went to college/high school, yay you finished, congrats, but you didn't really need it. I didn't go and look how w ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
1. Genre: nonfiction
2. Awards:none
3. Grade level: high school
4. Use in classroom + activity:I would give this book to my students who are going through a difficult time in life, no matter what it is. This autobiography by Michael J. Fox not only gives students a character to relate to, but also a role model because he is an amazing actor, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Disease research, and has gone through struggles just like a regular person. I will have my students refle
Diane Drennan Pavia
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This was really good -- short and sweet anecdotes from someone with amazing perspective on life. It's meant for young people, HS and college grads, to get a grip on what they may face in life and to be prepared to encounter situations that you can't control and just have to work around or accept. Unfortunately, as I read it, I thought of the phrase "Youth is wasted on the young." I would bet that the simple wisdom in this book will go over the heads -- or in one ear and out the other -- of young ...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

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