Book Notes #008 - Will by Will Smith with Mark Manson


Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️

Topic: Non-fiction - Biography/Memoir

Main ideas/information - Good.

The main ideas discussed in this book are great concepts to learn when it comes to hard work, discipline, identity, desire, purpose, suffering, love and success.

Examples & stories - Good.

Highly entertaining stories with great lessons and insights. The stories in the book will inspire you and broader your view on the entertainment industry and what it takes to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

Engagement - High.

Highly entertaining and engaging book! highly recommended for anyone. The book is full of anecdotes, lessons and great stories full of ups and downs. Highly inspiring, a great book to read before going to bed or during walks (audiobook).

Overall Rating - 4.5/5 ⭐️

Overall, this is a great book to pick up. I highly enjoyed it and recommend it. Many people would recognize Will Smith but very few will ever get to know him in a deeper way. Everyone's life is different and we can all learn from other people's lives and perspectives. This book is a great reminder that not everything that we see on the outside is what it seems.



"Archiving goals requires strict organization and unwavering discipline."



"Stop thinking about the damn wall! he said, "There is no wall. There are only bricks. Your job is to lay this brick perfectly. Then move on to the next brick. Then lay that brick perfectly. Then the next one. Don't be worrying about no wall. Your only concern is one brick."

Many times, we like to focus on all the work it takes to archive our goals. From losing weight to building a company, it all takes time and a lot of effort. Many people get discouraged by focusing on the end result way too much. This powerful lesson Will's dad gave him during his early childhood, teaches us that in order to build something that lasts, we have to focus on the small tasks. If we show up and do the work, we are halfway there, we just have to stay consistent and eventually we will get what we deserve. Focus on the daily tasks, not the end results. To build a wall, you have to lay one brick at a time.


"In order to feel confident and secure, you need to have something to feel confident and secure about. We all want to feel good about ourselves, but many of us don't recognize how much work that actually takes.... When you have adequately cultivated your unique skills and gifts, then you're excited about approaching and interacting with the world. "

We all want to feel confident and competent. We want to believe that "we have a unique talent" to offer to the world, but we first have cultivated. We may not all get lucky to have people around us to make us accountable to work on our so-called "talents", perhaps some of us have been actively discouraged from pursuing them at all.

But remember that there is no such thing as something for nothing. Sometimes, we just have to give up our excuses, our mood swings, our victim mentality and lack of preparation in order to obtain the results.

We all want to feel like we are competent, confident and strong, but we are not all prepared to give up our bad attitude and risk looking like a fool when we are learning something new. We may not all start at the same level but we all have to earn our positions every single day. No matter if you are were last year's champion... that was then and this is now."


"Deep down inside. I knew that my dreams would be made or broken by the people I chose to surround myself with. Confucius had it right: It's nearly impossible for the quality of your life to be higher than the quality of your friends."

The importance of surrounding yourself with the right people in your life is one of the most important lessons you can ever learn. Many of the people we choose to surround ourselves with, will determine the decisions will take later in life. From picking a career to choosing a partner. Change your inner circle, surround yourself with greatness, hope and possibility, not skepticism, resentment and arrogance.


"Life is learning. Period. Overcoming ignorance is the whole point of the journey. You are not supposed to know at the beginning. The whole point of venturing into uncertainty is to bring light to the darkness of our ignorance. Life is like school, with one key difference–in school, you get the lesson, and then you take the test. But in life, you get the test, and it's your job to take the lesson."

Learn to accept the lessons, it may be painful at first, but it kills the ignorance out of you. Your ego might hurt but ultimately, the quality of your decisions will improve. As a result, your life might change for the better and not the worst.


"The thing about money, sex, and success is that when you don't have them, you can justify your misery–shit, if I had money, sex, and success, I'd feel great! However misguided that may be, it psychologically permeates as hope. But once you are rich, famous and successful–and you're still insecure, and unhappy– the terrifying thought begins to lurk: Maybe the problem is me"

Many people think that is easy to be happy when you are successful, but the reality is that success, money and healthy relationship are all different. They are all different "games" we have to play and get better at. Success won't get us a healthy relationship, money won't necessarily make us fulfilled in life.

Health, wealth and happiness are all pillars of life we have to ultimately earn. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that one or the other will fix all life's problems. It won't.

4) ALCHEMY (Personal Transformation)

"Magic demands awareness (faith–you have to believe in magic); preparation (move the rock–we must identify and eradicate the poisonous resistance and impediments within ourselves; then surrender (stay out of the way and trust the magic to do what it does... Don't block your blessings... things are always impossible right up until they are not."

We are all looking for the moments in our life that will change everything. We all want to be given the opportunity to truly transform our life but our emphasis on the obstacles in our way take away our ability to see the bigger vision. Wills grandma had a saying... "Don't block your blessings" in other words, don't self-sabotage, don't get in your own way, don't let the obstacles stop you... NO PARALYSIS THOROUGH ANALYSIS! Don't miss the miracle.


"What does he want? As an actor, this is the single most important question to ask of the character you are preparing to portray. His "want"/dramatic quest is the first pillar of behaviour... What's true in movies is also true about life: You tell me what you want, and I'll tell you who you are. "

This lesson can become a very useful prompt to self-examine your motivations. Asking what you want from life and why can show you the true nature of your motivations. It can reveal you're true character. Just as a movie, what if you saw yourself as the character, what would you find out about yourself but most importantly what would your external and your internal obstacles might be to obtain what you want? What is standing in your way? What insecurities, internal dialogue or self-beliefs would you notice?


"Most of the things that we think of as us are learned habits and patterns, and entirely malleable... We realize that the characters we play in a film are no different from the characters we play in life...

You may think that you know yourself, but labelling is a cognitive tool to help us simplify the world around us. The reality is that things are not so black and white. Who you are today is not going to be the same person you are in ten years. the people You have to learn how to constantly update your identity, especially when you want to change the world around you. Often external change starts with the internal work. If you don't like "your-self" create a new "self", an "ideal self" and aim towards that every single day.


"Desire is what you want; purpose is the flowering of what you are. Desire tends to weaken over time, whereas purpose strengthens the more you lean into it. Purpose has a way of contextualizing life's unavoidable suffering and making them meaningful and worthwhile."

You may have a desire to be successful but the question is who you are when you are not succeeding? How much of your identity is reflected in your work? The purpose is wider and encompasses your whole life, not just one aspect of your life. Keep in mind that not everything lasts forever, but as long as you have a purpose strong enough, you can find peace in that.


"The problem was, I'd conflated being successful with being love and being happy...There are three separate things. "

Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from success is that is just one aspect of our life. We all want to be healthy, wealthy, loved and happy. But the hardest thing is that all those things are different aspects of life and are extremely difficult to obtain all at once. We can be successful but unhappy. We can be in love but broke. We can be successful and happy but alone. The ultimate goal is to learn to balance life when are able to master all four pillars of life and once we obtain it, to maintain it until we eventually have to rebuild once again.


  1. The Wall.

  2. Power.

  3. Hope.

  4. Ignorance.

  5. Desire.

  6. Purpose.

  7. Success.

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