I'll go straight into the cons because these are the things that distracted me from the read.
#1 The entire book is how to get out of your own way and how to succeed at your personal and professional goals and how to rid yourself of b.s. However, on page 169, he states, "I have a great deal of respect for women with a high tolerance for bulls---, women who can put up with a lot and take a lot." This killed the book for me. When you write a book telling people to rid themselves of b.s. in their lives but then encourage women TO deal with it in relationships, that's just high-fiving them for keeping excess baggage that's really not doing them much good.
#2 On page 179, he stated, "If a woman ever cheated on me, one time, the relationship would be over. I know that's a double standard, but I'm all about honesty at this stage in my life." However, he explains in full detail about the reasons why men cheat and how they supposedly still respect their women even though they're cheating; to sum it up, he rationalizes it as just sex. But then he goes on to say, "When it comes to love, winners never quit and quitters never win." But if you quit a relationship because a woman cheats, is that not showing how little b.s. that he'll put up with? Why should it not work the same for women? He states, "Men can change and it takes a firm, strong, and solid woman who has a very high tolerance for bulls--- to introduce us to a better version of ourselves." At this point, I completely stopped paying attention to ANYTHING this cat had to say about relationships. A male who just expects a woman to put up with anything while he writes an entire book about NOT putting up with b.s. is just not someone I can respect when it comes to relationship advice.
#3 He also tried to rationalize his views and state that since he told women he's dated that he was dating more than one woman, he's honest so somehow he seems to be all right with that. And for women who say they wouldn't put up with a guy who actually states that, his response: "But the truth is, most of you already are--the difference is, he doesn't have enough respect for you to tell you that you're one of two." That's not a matter of respect, and I don't see one being any better than the other. If you want to date multiple people, just don't bother being in a relationship. Date. Decide. THEN get in the relationship. He felt his then-girlfriend (later wife, and then ex-wife) response that he'll grow out of dating other women was "very realistic and mature." Personally I think it was just straight-up denial. I don't know one person who wants to be second best nor should you.
#4 He really seemed to be disappointed about being a kid and asking folks for quarters who wouldn't give it to them. And while this is reasonable considering he really did NEED the quarters, he doesn't seem to realize how many people DON'T need quarters and use it as a way to hustle people out of money. If he's ever seen his "2 Fast 2 Furious" co-star Paul Walker on "Lopez Tonight" who admitted to hustling people out of money while he had a job at UPS, he should realize that it's not a matter of folks being too cheap or not having a heart. Sometimes you just get fed up with folks lying about their financial status and hustling you out of money like a chump.
#5 The first time I ordered this book, USPS left my package in the lobby. This is something that's been normal for several years, but for whatever reason, after 7 years of living where I live, somebody actually opened and stole my book out of the box. I was furious. I have very low tolerance for thieves--it's not yours, don't steal. So you can imagine my reaction to reading that he used to help beat up little Mexican boys and steal their bikes. It's incredibly difficult for me to sympathize with a boy who clearly did need a helping hand when he was stealing from others. That's just not cool.
#6 I read Reverend Run's book "Take Back Your Family: A Challenge to America's Parents and although the two will team up for a book called "Manology," I found it ironic that this book was far more preachy than the Reverend's. While I can respect someone wanting to share how they reach peace, there were segments of the book that just felt like I was in church and got very repetitive when I wanted him to just get to the point.
Pros: (Still with me?)
With that said, I actually enjoyed this book in many other parts. There were some parts I enjoyed so much that I highlighted them. A few highlighted marks:
#1 pg. 205 The entire point he made about the difference between being happy about your success and just bragging about it. I'm glad he pointed out that fellas can be just as obnoxious about bragging about what they have and how that's really too much information to lay on someone at once. He hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that the woman "didn't think she was impressing me herself, as a woman, so she felt the need to tell me about all the things she owned." His anecdote about the rapper whispering about how he was getting attention without his jewelry was even more proof about how people really need to have something else going for them.
#2 If your life is already on the right track, you're pretty positive and driven, anything before page 123 is going to seem super obvious. I'll be honest. I got bored because I was already doing this stuff. With that said though, if you're NOT already doing the stuff he mentioned, all of that stuff is very important. I think page 123 is when the book picked up considerably. I'd been looking forward to that "circle of five" chapter since I watched him on "The Mo'Nique Show."
#3 On page 131, I wanted to make copies and send that to my circle of five who constantly tease me and give me a hard time about changing my phone number. I literally cheered when I got to that part to see that somebody else gets it. Take his advice--you can eliminate a lot of stress from your life if you don't keep in contact with folks who do nothing but marinate in misery and want to bake you in it, too. Been doing this at annually for several years. Weight just lifts off of you when you don't feel stuck around people you really don't care for too much.
#4 Although I did get to the point where I wondered why didn't Will Smith write the book as much as he was quoted or plugged in it, I had to check myself with that. Why should he NOT give credit where credit is due? If his friend gave him all this advice that made him a better person, Will should be given a head nod for that. I respected that he did show that type of unity with his friend.
#5 I enjoyed all of the stories about his path from a teenager to an R&B singer to an actor to a model. Although I think he came down WAY too hard on himself in "Waist Deep," and I absolutely disagree with how handsome he was in that film (yes, I noticed the weight, but I honestly thought he looked breathe-in-breathe-out-look-away good in that film). I do recall (John Singleton?) commending him in the behind-the-scenes for being such a trooper and running down the street without complaining so while he was so focused on looking like Will Smith, the truth of the matter is he doesn't look like Will Smith. He looks like Tyrese. And that's all right with me!
#6 Any book where someone will admit that they needed to check their own faults and then actually apologize for making them is respectable to me. While I kept waiting for an apology to the boys whose bikes he stole (no, I'm not off that!), he did admit to some situations in his career where he could've behaved better. Whenever you can have a heart-to-heart with yourself, I say, "Go for it!"
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. While I certainly didn't agree with it all and had some strong opinions about certain chapters, I do think it's a fascinating read.