I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERSuperstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in...

Title:I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1501155563
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:400 pages

I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons Reviews

  • Erin
    Jun 18, 2017

    Kevin Hart is the overnight success that was sixteen years in the making.

    I Can't Make This Up is as funny and brutally honest as Kevin Hart's standup comedy is. Kev as we his fans call him, has had a rough life. Drug addicted criminal father, overly strict and super religious mother. An unhappy first marriage that included domestic violence. Years spent struggling to make ends meet and nonstop rejection. No one believed in Kevin except his mother, even he lost hope at one time.

    This book isn't a

    Kevin Hart is the overnight success that was sixteen years in the making.

    I Can't Make This Up is as funny and brutally honest as Kevin Hart's standup comedy is. Kev as we his fans call him, has had a rough life. Drug addicted criminal father, overly strict and super religious mother. An unhappy first marriage that included domestic violence. Years spent struggling to make ends meet and nonstop rejection. No one believed in Kevin except his mother, even he lost hope at one time.

    This book isn't a puff piece, Kevin lays it all out for everyone to see. As I said before Kevin spent years in an unhappy marriage. He and his first wife have two kids together and that appears to be the only good that come out of the marriage. It also provided a lot of material for his standup. I've read quite a few articles and reviews for this book and I know a lot of women think Kevin's portrayal of his first wife was harsh and made her out to look terrible and bitter. While I agree with them on that Kevin points out all the terrible things he did to make her that way. He cheated on her, lied to her, and hit her on multiple occasions. He's very remorseful and has since worked on healing that broken part of him. He admits to meeting and starting a relationship with his current wife( who's currently pregnant. congrats!) while still being married to wife number one. If you've seen his standup though you already know all this. Kevin let's us all in on his truth. He's made amends with his first wife( I don't refer to her as his ex because they have children together). Come to terms with his father and the things he's inherited from him(his father was abusive to his mother).

    I don't know if this book is for everyone if you're not a fan of Kevin's standup this book may not be for you, but if you love his standup you will definitely recognize a lot of the stories and people in this book.

  • Taryn
    Jul 06, 2017

    Almost everyone knows Kevin Hart's name by now, but that wasn't always the case. In his memoir, he tells the story of how he became an "overnight success that was only sixteen years in the making"–from a shoe salesman whose biggest dream was to become a Nike rep to a world-famous comedian. It wasn't always a smooth, upward traj

    Almost everyone knows Kevin Hart's name by now, but that wasn't always the case. In his memoir, he tells the story of how he became an "overnight success that was only sixteen years in the making"–from a shoe salesman whose biggest dream was to become a Nike rep to a world-famous comedian. It wasn't always a smooth, upward trajectory and there were many lessons to learn along the way.

    I don't follow Kevin Hart's career closely, but he's one of those comedians that makes me start laughing the moment they appear because I know it's about to get hilarious! This book will be most interesting

    At 400 pages, it was

    . Hart outlines every pivotal step of his career and the teachable moments he encountered along the way. There are funny parts, but it's more

    than I expected. As a warning, he gets a little personal sometimes and there were parts that were a little

    for my tastes.

    He says one of the traits that served him best was the ability to "shoulder shrug"– being able to see the big picture and not hold on to any negative emotions.

    "Growing up, the best thing I ever had was nothing." I grew up with a strict mom and no freedom, so the parts about his childhood resonated with me the most. I would've found these sections very reassuring as a teenager! His mother was a strict disciplinarian who was determined to not repeat her earlier parenting mistakes. She developed a regimented schedule that made it impossible for young Kevin to find trouble. His dad was an unpredictable man who struggled with drug addiction. He was always putting Kevin and his brother into dangerous situations. One of my favorite parts was when Kevin had to choose between the "comfortable dictatorship" of his Mom's home or "uncomfortable anarchy" at his Dad's home. It wasn't always easy to see at the time, but the

    : "It turns out that the things I hated most as a child are the same things that serve me the most as an adult."

    Kevin admits that his comedy material wasn't always ready for the big-time. It took a lot of practice and studying of other comedians to refine his act. He had the key realization that "an entertainer makes you laugh, but an artist makes you understand." To fully grow as an artist, he had to stop hiding behind the character of "Lil’ Kev the Bastard" and develop his own voice.

    There are so many instances in his career where the big jobs fizzled, but the least exciting offers and meetings propelled him further into success. He reiterates how important it is to

    . In a creative field, it's not always going to be applause and accolades. After he finally experienced some mild success, he also got to experience becoming box-office poison.

    While he had high standards for his career, he didn't always live up to those same standards in his personal life.

    his toxic marriage that became violent and a DUI. He realized that he was repeating his parents' mistakes and exposing his children to some of the same hardships that he and his brother had to live through. Fortunately, he was able to learn from his mistakes and break the cycle.

    I got a lot of value out of Kevin's worldview and life advice. After reading his memoir, I would describe Kevin Hart has a hard worker with a positive attitude. His persistence, commitment, and adaptability helped him find success in a competitive field.

    I have to end this review with one of my favorite Kevin Hart bits:

    . It cracks me up every time!

    ___________

    I received this book for free from NetGalley and Atria / 37 INK. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!

  • Steph
    May 13, 2017

    I'll start off by saying I had zero interest in reading this book. I was admittedly a hater and felt that although I am a huge fan of Kevin Hart's stand-up, he did not deserve a book deal. His grammar is so horrible, I had to unfollow him on social media. With that said....

    I LOVED this book. I really appreciated how honest and genuine the entire book felt. He was upfront about having a writer, and I think Hart and Strauss collaborated perfectly. You can just see the Hart shining through the enti

    I'll start off by saying I had zero interest in reading this book. I was admittedly a hater and felt that although I am a huge fan of Kevin Hart's stand-up, he did not deserve a book deal. His grammar is so horrible, I had to unfollow him on social media. With that said....

    I LOVED this book. I really appreciated how honest and genuine the entire book felt. He was upfront about having a writer, and I think Hart and Strauss collaborated perfectly. You can just see the Hart shining through the entire memoir.

    This book is not at all what I expected it would be. I didn't think it was that funny. I chuckled a handful of times while reading it, but I actually liked that about it. Instead of it being a written version of a comedy special (like I thought it would be), it read like an inspirational story that absolutely anyone would love.

    There are sooo many things I loved about this book.

    1. I loved how much he loves and honors his mom for everything she did for him. He could have whined and complained, but instead he honors her as being the reason why he succeeded.

    2. He was not scared to show his ugly side, and I just felt this made it so much more authentic, and showed you how much he has grown as a person. This alone makes you want to strive to become better as well.

    3. His positivity is just such a beautiful trait, and it shines throughout.

    4. I loved his advice because he cited examples from his own life where he wished he had known or followed his own advice.

    5. I admire what a great dad he is despite having a horrible father himself. He never once bashed his dad, but stated facts and expressed his love for his dad nonetheless.

    Overall, I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to Atrium for offering me the chance to read this book a month before it goes on sale. I would have missed out on a great read because I was too busy being a hateful jerk. I am now going to follow him on social media again... 5/5

  • Barbara
    Jun 18, 2017

    Kevin Hart is an award-winning comedian and actor, and it took him only 16 years to become an 'overnight success.' In this inspirational and entertaining memoir - written with Neil Strauss - Hart talks about his life, career, family, and friends - and it's clear that he's a loving son, loyal friend, devoted father, and exceptionally hard worker. Hart is also an honest man and admits that - in his youth - he was a bad husband to his first wife.....and gambled, drank, and splurged too much.

    The boo

    Kevin Hart is an award-winning comedian and actor, and it took him only 16 years to become an 'overnight success.' In this inspirational and entertaining memoir - written with Neil Strauss - Hart talks about his life, career, family, and friends - and it's clear that he's a loving son, loyal friend, devoted father, and exceptionally hard worker. Hart is also an honest man and admits that - in his youth - he was a bad husband to his first wife.....and gambled, drank, and splurged too much.

    The book, though funny in places, is not chock full of jokes and hilarious bits - just so you know.

    Hart was born and raised in North Philadelphia. His dad, nicknamed Spoon, was a drug addict and a 'player' - with girlfriends all over town. Spoon spent four years in prison, after which he split from Kevin's mother for good. Kevin - who says he was 'born with the gift of the shoulder shrug' - accepted the situation, said okay, and got on with his life. In fact, 'the shoulder shrug' helped Kevin get through many low points in his life.

    After the split, Kevin and his older brother Kenneth would occasionally see their dad, which led to some of the 'scariest experiences' in Kevin's life. Among other things, Spoon let 8-year-old Kevin drive a motorboat - which he promptly crashed; and sicced a large dog onto the boys after Kenneth beat him at basketball. Spoon also stole from his family. At one point - when the boys were grown - Spoon robbed all the equipment from a barbershop Kenneth was about to open.....AND took his car. In spite of everything, Kevin chose not to get angry, and to appreciate his father.....who could be a very entertaining guy.

    The biggest influence in Hart's life was his mother, Nancy. After Kenneth got into trouble with gangs and criminal activity as a teen, Nancy kept Kevin on a very short leash. If he stepped out of line, Kevin got hit with an open hand, fist, belt, shoe, slipper, or even a section of Hot Wheels track - which Nancy kept scattered around the house for convenience. (LOL)

    To keep young Kevin occupied, Nancy enrolled him in extracurricular activities like basketball and swim team - which had hours of practice and weekend meets. When Kevin wasn't at school or doing sports, he had to stay with his 'foster grandmother', Ms. Davis.....or tag along with his mother to work, church, shopping, friends' homes, and Bible study. Though he was frustrated at the time, Kevin says all this activity prepared him for his life, which is very busy.

    In school, Kevin wanted to be cool and attract girls - which is hard to do when you're short and don't have any money for flashy clothes. So Kevin decided to be funny....and the gals started hanging out with him. Thus, a comedian was born.

    After high school Hart spent a short time in community college, then got a job in the sneaker department of City Sports. Kevin would often entertain his colleagues and customers with funny stories and jokes, and eventually started doing stand-up at 'The Laff House Comedy Club'.....using the stage name 'Lil Kev the Bastard.' This was the start of Hart's professional career. Around this time Kevin also met Torrei, the girl he'd be with for the next 12 years.

    By the time he was 20, Hart was a regular performer at comedy clubs in Philadelphia - but itched to break into the big time. Invited to tag along by his friend, comedian Keith Robinson, Kevin began going back and forth to New York - 'the comedy capital of the world.' At New York's clubs, Kevin watched, learned, honed his craft....and eventually started performing. When Hart wasn't in New York, he did shows in Philadelphia. Kevin's frequent trips and gigs led to constant fights with Torrei, who continually accused him of cheating.

    By the time he was 22, Hart got some movie and television deals, and moved to Hollywood with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, Hart's early opportunities didn't pan out, and he squandered what money he made on jewelry, furniture, and expensive meals. Then, at the age of 23, when Kevin was flat broke, he and Torrei got married - thinking this would improve their relationship. It didn't.

    Hart's failed movies and cancelled TV series made him 'Hollywood poison', and the comic was compelled to reinvigorate his stand-up career. So, for the next seven years Kevin traveled all over the country, performing at EVERY comedy club and college he could book. Kevin's plan: to build a fan base so huge that entertainment moguls would HAVE to give him another chance.

    To assist with his career, Hart engaged various agents and promotors, and his memoir contains advice about the right (and wrong) people to employ (hint: stay away from aggressive loudmouths and scam artists). In time, Kevin hired an agent named Dave Becky, who's still with him today. Hart also improved his act by doing away with contrived jokes and using his real life for inspiration - like the time he called the cops after Torrei slapped him across the face.....and the police didn't do a thing. In short, Hart learned to make comedy out of his uniqueness and personality.

    Hart also surrounded himself with an entourage of fellow comedians and friends, who communally called themselves 'The Plastic Cup Boyz' - for the red cups they drank from. Everyone involved benefitted from the relationship. The chums helped Hart with his act, and Kevin provided jobs and career promotion.

    While all this was happening, Kevin and Torrei started a family. Unfortunately, their relationship got more contentious and their fighting escalated. Kevin admits to numerous infidelities and much bad behavior during this period. To add to his woes, Kevin's mother passed away from ovarian cancer. The comic notes: "In my mind, my heart, and my life, she is still completely present to this day - and as wise, compassionate, and stubborn as ever."

    When Hart was 30, he finally split from Torrei for good - so the children wouldn't have to see their folks fighting constantly. Around this time Kevin also starred in a hit movie, 'Think Like a Man' - which was a turning point in his career. From this point on Kevin's life was on an upward trajectory - with movies, comedy tours, TV productions, and more. Kevin, who never gets complacent and doesn't know the word 'enough', has even bigger plans for his future - both personal and professional.

    To finish up, I'll mention a few bits of the story I found particularly memorable and/or funny:

    - Kevin's mother could put 'the fear of God' into anyone.....except his father.

    - Hart honed his 'charm' on his minder, Ms. Davis....so she wouldn't tell his mother when he did stuff he shouldn't. Kevin later used this cultivated charm - and winning personality - to get jobs and opportunities.

    - When Kevin got fed up with his mother's strict rules he went to live with his dad.....for ONE day. Then he hustled right back home. His mom KNEW that would happen (ha ha ha).

    - In middle school, Kevin longed to have pubic hair - which he thought would make girls like him. So Kevin tried everything he could to sprout a bush - including hair oil, shaving cream, fertilizer, and prayers. (The fertilizer really cracks me up.)

    - Young Kevin also thought a big weiner would attract the ladies. So he wore his brother's large shoes....hoping the girls would think his pecker matched his feet. LOL

    - By the time Kevin was a teen, his mom gave up corporal punishment and switched to verbal reprimands. Nancy knew that - short of stabbing, shooting, or mace-ing Kevin, there was nothing she could do to physically hurt him.

    - When he was financially strapped early in his career, Kevin maxed out an American Express card.....and couldn't pay the bill. The company never forgot, and - even when Kevin was a huge success - denied him a card. In the book's acknowledgements, Kevin writes:

    I enjoyed the memoir, which is well-written and includes photos of people in Kevin's life. Highly recommended.

    Note: Some of Hart's comedy shows are available on Netflix, in case you're interested. They're really funny!

    Thanks to Netgalley, the authors (Kevin Hart and Neil Strauss) and the publsher (Atria/37 INK) for a copy of the book.

    You can follow my reviews at

  • JT
    Jun 08, 2017

    HILARIOUS!!!! Authentic Kevin Hart!!! Life stories told only the way he can tell them! I listened to the Audible audiobook, that was narrated by him and the story was AWESOME! Hours of listening to K. Hart was a treat! I It was also nice to hear the background story about his 1st marriage as well as how he got in to comedy! I can't count how many times I laughed out loud and was wiping tears from my eyes! ENJOY

  • Theresa Alan
    Jun 21, 2017

    This is a surprisingly inspiring book. Yes, it was inspiring to read about how he overcame a challenging childhood to become the only comedian in history to sell out an NFL stadium, but it was also jam-packed with motivational passages for anyone who is working toward a dream.

    I read it from the perspective of my sister and myself—we’re both published novelists. Also, because of my sister, I know more than the average nonperformer about the world of stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy and what i

    This is a surprisingly inspiring book. Yes, it was inspiring to read about how he overcame a challenging childhood to become the only comedian in history to sell out an NFL stadium, but it was also jam-packed with motivational passages for anyone who is working toward a dream.

    I read it from the perspective of my sister and myself—we’re both published novelists. Also, because of my sister, I know more than the average nonperformer about the world of stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy and what it takes to make it in these careers. But I think if your goal is to move up the corporate ladder, become a chef, have more success in relationships—including the relationship with yourself—you’ll also find much to keep you going through difficult times.

    There were some very funny bits to the book, which should surprise no one. I already knew some of Hart’s biography from his own stand-up specials and from reading an article in Rolling Stone magazine. To write this memoir, Hart had the help of Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss, who is also the author of eight New York Times bestsellers.

    The highlights of Hart’s making-it-big story began with him growing up in a rough neighborhood with a drug-addicted father who would literally steal from his own son (Hart’s older brother Kenneth). Hart’s brother briefly veered into selling street drugs before joining the Army and cleaning up his act. Hart’s mother was so strict that no matter what your issues with your mom might be, you should probably go ahead and forgive her right now.

    It was fascinating hearing how hard he worked for so long and all the mistakes he made along the way. Persistence is how he ultimately made it. “It’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to quit.”

    As I mentioned, what made this book worth the money was all of the inspirational bits I took away from it. I could quote a million passages, but I leave you with this.

    “Your dream is a huge boulder. It takes a lot of effort to get it moving. But if you can budge it just a few inches in the right terrain, then it starts picking up speed all by itself.”

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  • Dee's Reading Zone
    Jun 23, 2017

    Kevin Hart's "I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons" was a stand up read! If you are a true fan of Hart then you will see how much work he put into his book. He tells his story about his life as though he's on the stage trying to get gotcha laughs from his audience. He's hysterical, he's focused, he's blunt and he tells his story with heart or should I say 'HART' showing the reader his life lessons based on his motivating people in his life! I won't give away spoilers but Hart's life wasn't easy bu

    Kevin Hart's "I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons" was a stand up read! If you are a true fan of Hart then you will see how much work he put into his book. He tells his story about his life as though he's on the stage trying to get gotcha laughs from his audience. He's hysterical, he's focused, he's blunt and he tells his story with heart or should I say 'HART' showing the reader his life lessons based on his motivating people in his life! I won't give away spoilers but Hart's life wasn't easy but he found a way to 'hustle' and persevere on every turn! With an awe inspiring attitude, Hart acknowledged his life wasn't perfect... he made mistakes but pushed through them and succeeded as a son, comedian, actor, father and new husband to his second wife. There is also a lot of wisdom Hart gives his readers and that really was what made this book a 5 star read for me.

    So if you want to read a memoir that tells more than his successes but failures too and hiccup moments, read this one. You won't regret it!

    5 awe inspiring and laughable stars *****!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Julie
    Jul 03, 2017

    I knew I would laugh, and I did - a lot! But more than that you learn that this funny guy isn't just some clown. He's worked and continues to work his ass off for his craft. The life lessons he shares are not revolutionary, however, when stated with his simplicity and humor you rewarded with some gems to live by. Awesome job Kevin Hart.

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