I like Arnold as an actor; escapist films with a solid, identifiable hero. Having now read his fine autobiography I have even more respect for him as a person and a leader. Very much a fellow I'd enjoy chatting to over a beer, I think (or Scotch, if Arnie is buying).
I've always thought Schwarzenegger was a bit of a meat head: all muscles, no brain. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Schwarzenegger grew up in a poor family, in a small country village in postwar Austria. As a young teenager, he decided that he wanted to be the greatest bodybuilder in the world and a hollywood actor. He worked hard - very hard - and he worked smart. Still in his teens, he ran a successful Austrian bodybuilding Gym and worked out how to mold his body into one of the best in the world. He went on to dominate the world bodybuilding scene, moving to the US in the process.
Schwarzenegger was not like most bodybuilders, who he calls lazy bastards. Far from being selfish, he went all out to help the people who had given him opportunities. He became a driving force in promoting bodybuilding, turning it into a subculture within a subculture into a mainstream sport. He went to college to improve his English, and to learn how to do business. He started a mail order business and made millions in real estate. When he finally realised his dream of acting in movies, he worked hard to mold himself into an actor, refining his body, acting skills and accent.
Sure he is self confident and arrogant, but there is an incredible depth to his character. What really impressed me is how he got so far not by taking, but making sure he was always giving his best for others. Even if like me, you aren't a fan of bodybuilding, or the terminator, there's a lot to get out of this book.