An inspiring, instructive, and ultimately triumphant guide to turning your life around, from a man who used hard work and his Master Plan to convert a life sentence into a second chance.
Like a lot of people, Chris Wilson didn’t have an easy start in life. But, unlike many, he has managed to overcome severe setbacks to achieve a life defined by material success and personal meaning. How did he do it?
When he committed a fatal crime at the age of 17 and received a devastating prison sentence, incarceration became the unexpected trigger that set Wilson off on a journey of self-improvement — reading, working out, learning languages, and starting a business. Creating a Master Plan for the life he wanted, he worked through it step-by-step to transform his reality.
In this gripping memoir, he tells his story and explains the thought processes and techniques he used to go from being in prison with no hope of parole to being a free man, a successful social entrepreneur, and a respected mentor.
‘The Master Plan adds a personal narrative to Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, making it equally important. Chris Wilson is our generation's go-to voice on mass incarceration and redemption. Not only does he brilliantly articulate his struggle, he offers a clear path to what needs to be done if we truly want reform. The difference between Wilson and other scholars is that he doesn't only talk about the ills of the system — he's survived that system and changed his life, and now spends his time helping other people do the same. This book will change the world.’
D Watkins, bestselling author of The Beast Side and The Cook Up
View all reviews
‘A brutally confessional indictment of mass incarceration America.’
Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Parting the Waters
‘The Master Plan is a bright light in a moment of moral darkness. Chris Wilson's story is both a triumph and a call to arms on behalf of the incarcerated. It is a love letter to the millions of people like him, languishing because of our inaction. With The Master Plan, Chris makes it clear he will not allow them to be forgotten.’
Nathalie Moliña Nino, CEO of BRAVA Investments and author of Leapfrog
‘I've admired Chris Wilson's work with the underprivileged and returning citizens for the last three years, but as this book proves, you don't really know a man until you understand his struggle. Do not miss this story of redemption, empowerment and giving back. It can change your life.’
Van Jones, TV show host and author of Beyond the Messy Truth
‘This is a brave book, full of thought-provoking insight on criminal justice, the modern prison system and the possibility of redemption. And yet, what sticks with me most is the beautiful, heartbreaking mother-son relationship. There is nothing more powerful than meeting the people we label to dismiss — addicts, criminals, convicts, etc — and getting deeply enmeshed in their struggles, successes and too-often-unrealised dreams. Thank you, Chris Wilson, for taking us into the cave, so that we can better understand the light.’
Beth Macy, author of Dopesick
‘Uplifting … Wilson candidly shares the eye-opening details of his time in prison with a prose style that moves with directness and refreshingly unfettered honesty … A smoothly written memoir steeped in positive reinforcement and hope for the future.’
‘The Master Plan is less of a roadmap and more of a philosophy that we should all take to heart: we are all better than our worst decision, our sense of justice should honour the redemptive possibilities inherent in every person, and our destinies are truly intertwined.’
Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore
‘Inspiring without being preachy, Wilson’s manifesto will greatly appeal to today’s youth.’
‘Truly inspiring. . . Wilson engagingly tells his riveting story while also exposing corrupt justice practices. . . Highly recommended [for] anyone who loves an uplifting life story.’
‘While behind bars, Wilson started a business, earned a GED and an associate's degree. Wilson wasn't a natural student, but he was determined. To pass a qualifying exam, he took and failed one math problem 67 times, eventually passing on his 68th try … Wilson's voice comes through loud and clear in this memoir that should have wide appeal.’