Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book #40 - Empire State of Mind

After reading Decoded, I was looking for more. I wanted to learn a bit more about the business side of Jay-Z. His book seemed to cover more about the music, and how he grew up, but didn't really delve into the business side of his empire.

Empire State of Mind is written by Zack O'Malley and isn't authorized, but written more as a look at the Jay-Z empire and his growth mostly from when he started in the music business than his early life. It covers the time up through 2010, so it contains lots of recent information.

With research covering various business partners and companies, we learn that Jay-Z might not have been quite the hustler that he would like fans to believe, but he definitely was a drug dealer that struggled to leave the money he made in that business to move to the music business. However that background helped him since many companies were loathe to work with him and that drove him to build his own company. The lesson learned on the street seem to help Jay-Z grow, with one of the biggest ones being learn from someone as a mentor, but when you move past them, move on.

He's been successful in that way, growing and evolving, leaving behind the street lessons habits that don't fit his new life to grow into a 9 figure business. Not a businessman, but a business in his own words. It seems true, though it appears that he's also become focused on the goal of growing his income and empire to the point where he doesn't bother with anything that doesn't turn him a profit. Not the attitude I like, but it's worked for him.

I found the book an interesting look at his life, and at Shawn Carter the man. Not as much of a drug dealer, not as much of a player as many think. He's more introspective, more guarded, and more successful than most any other rapper. It's quite a story and brings another look at the man behind the music.

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