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I Didn't Ask to Be Born: (But I'm Glad I Was) Hardcover – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892969202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892969203
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for I DIDN'T ASK TO BE BORN:


"This is a book with which everyone can identify on some level; it is humor at its best."—Library Journal, starred review

"George Booth's funny cartoon illustrations make a fine fit with these amusing essays, all written with the amiable and accessible lightweight lilt Cosby's eager readers expect."—Publishers Weekly

"The Cos again waxes funny on the commonplace happenings of life as we may know it."—Kirkus

About the Author

BILL COSBY is an American entertainer, comedian, actor, producer, author, educator, musician, and activist. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts.

More About the Author

The legendary comedian, author, and activist Bill Cosby continues to be as prolific and relevant as ever, reaching every generation and every audience since he began his career in stand-up four decades ago. He is one of the most influential performers of the second half of the 20th century. He has had an unparalleled career in television; has sold more record albums than any other comedian; his blockbuster books have sold millions of copies; and his generous support of numerous charities, particularly in the field of education, have endowed many Americans with the gift of hope and learning. Through his groundbreaking appearances on television, particularly in two landmark series each of which defined an American decade, Bill Cosby has touched the lives of millions of Americans. In the 1960s, "I Spy" broke the racial barrier in television by featuring Cosby as the first-ever black lead of a weekly dramatic series. In the 1980s, Cosby returned to television with a show that Coretta Scott King described as "the most positive portrayal of black family life that has ever been broadcast." "The Cosby Show" enjoyed years of number-one ratings and nearly unanimous critical praise.

Cosby's success on television has been matched in other areas. In 1986 he broke Radio City Music Hall's 53-year-old attendance record for his concert appearance. Cosby's also a giant in the publishing world. Fatherhood (1986) became one of the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time, remaining for more than half of its fifty-four weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List as Number 1. It has sold 2.6 million hardcover copies and 1.5 million paperbacks. Time Flies had the largest single first printing in publishing history--1.75 million. Now, I Am What I Ate,and I'm Frightened. A crusader throughout his career for a better world, his great success in the world of entertainment is complemented by his involvement with a host of charity organizations, making substantial gifts in support of education, most notably to predominantly black colleges and to various social service and civil rights organizations. On the evolution of his own style of comedy, Bill Cosby states that he was drawn at an early age to the masters of jazz, learning to emulate in comedy their ability to take an idea and continually find new and innovative ways of expressing the same theme. The legacy of Bill Cosby's comedic genius is as sweet, meaningful and universal as any piece of music ever played.

Customer Reviews

A light, easy to read, easy to relate to, book.
Gary M. Nelms
Once you've finished this book, you will feel as if you've just sat through one of Cosby's one-man-shows.
MasterAP
If you've seen Bill Cosby himself on dvd, you are sure to love his book.
D V

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kim Adams on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I recall how Cosby's TV series, THE COSBY SHOW, reassured American viewers through the politically charged 80s. Twenty something years later, our world is that much more on edge. Bill Cosby offers us a way to step away from daily turmoil through humor. I DIDN'T ASK TO BE BORN (But I'm Glad I Was) delivers Cosby's trademark quips that the entire family can enjoy. It is family, especially children, which tickles Bill's funny bone. I DIDN'T ASK TO BE BORN reflects on how to find the humor in everyday situations.

The title comes from a chapter in the book (and his life) when his 8 year old daughter defiantly claimed, "I didn't ask to be born." Cosby's response, delivered at the end of the chapter, is classic and one that I will use in the future. I suspect his subtitle has been his mantra throughout the highs and lows with his family and career. Can you think of a time that Bill Cosby wasn't laughing, encouraging, and loving those around him?

I DIDN'T ASK TO BE BORN (But I'm Glad I Was) is a perfect holiday gift, especially for the hard-to-shop-for person who seemingly has everything. That person can always use a laugh!

I received an ARC from the publisher for this review.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sapere Aude on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Like most of Cosby's books, this one mostly rambles through his thoughts and observations, telling stories from his life. The book contains numerous illustrations as well, by a New Yorker cartoonist which are very funny. Each chapter has a QR code which you can scan to get additional content and cartoons online.

My dad has always been a Bill Cosby fan and he got this book - I ended up with nothing to do and I read through it. I was pretty skeptical about how funny it would be given he's almost 70 now. I was pleasantly surprised and found myself laughing throughout the book.

I do remember listening to Bill Cosby's records when I was a kid (my dad had them), and I grew up watching the Cosby show like everyone in my generation. He hasn't lost his touch and has proven it with this book. He has an interesting way of looking at the world that just can't help get you chuckling. He draws so much of his humor from his life - you must wonder what it must have been like to have him as a father!

I think I enjoyed his humor especially now that I myself am a parent. His age definitely hasn't dulled his wit, its only given him more topics to joke about! His section on the bible's missing pages remind me of that old record of his ("Noah, build me an ark! What's an ark?" if you remember). I feel like saying any more would just be trying to tell you some of his jokes and I can't possibly do it as well as he does.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on December 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Like Bill Cosby, a fellow Philadelphia native, I'm getting up there in years. No, I'm a bit younger than Cosby but the eyes are getting weaker. When I saw that there was a LARGE PRINT version of this new Cosby book, I thought I'd try it for a change. And that's the major focus of this review.

I've enjoyed Cosby's gentle sense of humor since I bought his first vinyl L " Why Is There Air?". (See, I DO go back a few years.) And I actually had a pretty sizeable collection of his albums. Being a Philadelphian, I liked relating to the places he mentions in his "growing up" stories, though I lived in a much different neighborhood.

So I was really looking forward to this book. What I found, however was a hit-and-miss collection of 18 "funny" stories. Some run just two pages; others mostly 15, with a few longer. . And this is in the large print version that has 254 pages, versus the 208 in the regular print version. None take more than 8-10 minutes to read. In some stories like "If Only Native Americans Knew Then What They Know Now", he wanders away from the subject and comes back in the last two sentences to give the punch line. This story - which takes 26 pages - could easily have been done in four and been even funnier,

I will say that the large print was much easier to read and worked great when I just wanted to read something short before bedtime.

So, if you are a Cosby fan, you'll find enough here to keep you interested. Just be aware that nothing is here that is as funny as any of his records. (Note: Certain stories end with those "smart phone" codes that I think lead you to a related video. But I'm not a "smart phone" person so I can't tell you if it works.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By N. Gregg on November 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just LOVE Bill Cosby! He's smart, a man of great character and comedy talent - he's made me laugh for decades! So it's hard to say, but this book did not meet my expectations. It was easy to put the book down - which for me is never a good sign.

Bill rambled and wandered. Often he'd have a good subject, you'd start to smile thinking you're heading up to the chuckle and the mark was missed, so I found this book disappointing. There was some good in this, time spent reading was not a total loss - but it still needs honing and editing.

I still adore Bill and look forward to whatever he does next - I just can't recommend this book.

Do yourself a favor, go to the bookstore and read a chapter or so before you buy it.
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