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Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office | [Zack O'Malley Greenburg]

Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office

Some people think Jay-Z is just another rapper. Others see him as just another celebrity/mega-star. The reality is, no matter what you think Jay-Z is, he is first and foremost a business. And as much as Martha Stewart or Oprah, he has turned himself into a lifestyle. This audiobook explains just how Jay-Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world.
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Publisher's Summary

"I'm not a businessman. I'm a business, man."
—Jay-Z

Some people think Jay-Z is just another rapper. Others see him as just another celebrity/mega-star. The reality is, no matter what you think Jay-Z is, he is first and foremost a business. And as much as Martha Stewart or Oprah, he has turned himself into a lifestyle. You can wake up to the local radio station playing Jay-Z's latest hit, spritz yourself with his 9IX cologne, slip on a pair of his Rocawear jeans, lace up your Reebok S. Carter sneakers, catch a Nets basketball game in the afternoon, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig before heading to an evening performance of the Jay-Z-backed Broadway musical Fela! and a nightcap at his 40/40 Club. He'll profit at every turn of your day.

But despite Jay-Z's success, there are still many Americans whose impressions of him are foggy, outdated, or downright incorrect. Surprisingly to many, he honed his business philosophy not at a fancy B school but on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and beyond as a drug dealer in the 1980s.

Empire State of Mind tells the story behind Jay-Z's rise to the top as told by the people who lived it with him. This audiobook explains just how Jay-Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world. He also includes new information on Jay-Z's various business dealings, such as:

  • The feature movie about Jay-Z and his first basketball team that was filmed by Fab 5 Freddy in 2003 but never released
  • The Jay-Z branded Jeep that was scrapped just before going into production
  • The real story behind his association with Armand de Brignac champagne
  • The financial ramifications of his marriage to Beyonce

Jay-Z's tale is compelling, not just because of his celebrity, but because it embodies the rags-to-riches American dream and is a model for any entrepreneur looking to build a commercial empire.

©2011 Zack O'Malley Greenburg (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"[A] fascinating, well-done biography of one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of our era." (Steve Forbes)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (98 )
5 star
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4.0 (74 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Briana Myricks Carson, CA USA 01-09-13
    Briana Myricks Carson, CA USA 01-09-13 Member Since 2012

    Book nerd for life!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    107
    27
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    "Interesting Story About My Favorite Businessman"
    If you could sum up Empire State of Mind in three words, what would they be?

    A push to really be a great business woman.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Empire State of Mind?

    Hearing about what exactly happened to the Jay-Z jeep.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sean Pratt?

    No, thank you. He messed up several names and words, and it would throw me off each and every time.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Learning about how he was able to score so many business ventures, including one I didn't know about (his street basketball team).


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony E. Evans Hyattsville, MD United States 01-23-13
    Anthony E. Evans Hyattsville, MD United States 01-23-13 Listener Since 2002

    My goal is to complete 24 books this year.

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    "Unauthorized Business Biography of Jay-Z"
    If you could sum up Empire State of Mind in three words, what would they be?

    Captivating, Interesting and Brilliance of mega proportions.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a great story about a former drug dealer who has become a multimillionaire and is married to one of the most beautiful,talented, megastar, and wealthiest women in the world - Beyouce. I really appreciated learning from the authors perspective on Jay-Z and his business and marketing acumen. Jay-Z is a marketing genius and I really appreciate that he did not participate in giving away free information for this book because he would not benefit from it financially. Makes sense. Now my question is how do I apply the principals that made Jay-Z millions? I respect Jay-Z and rap so much more because it has become mainstream. It is not a black thing, a white thing, or a purple thing is is a young thing with International flavor. A nice read, opps, I mean a really nice listen.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Nope.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanna Chicago, IL, United States 01-29-13
    Joanna Chicago, IL, United States 01-29-13 Member Since 2011

    Traveler. Artist. Dreamer.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "He's not just a businessman. He's a business, man."

    Fascinating story about Jay-Z's business approach. He truly has a 360 degree mentality, meaning that he incorporates his friends with his business with his interests with his home life and then capitalizes on it all. It tells you how Jay-Z intertwined all the important things in his life and still made crazy amounts of money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeananne Las Vegas, NV 01-23-13
    Jeananne Las Vegas, NV 01-23-13 Member Since 2011

    I am a solo truck driver in the U.S. and I LOVE to listen, learn and go on adventures with audiobooks while I drive! :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I wanted to understand Jay Z."

    I listened without knowing anything about him except that he is a famous rapper and it seemed like he was respected. This book outlines his business mind and how he has used it over the years to be #1 in everything he does. Even his music is only a means to an end to be #1 in his venture to rise to the top of the business world. Unfortunately his story seemed to be without heart and the people that talk about him describe him as wanting nothing more than money and power. I need to do more research if I am to understand him as a human being. Still, it is and interesting book to listen to because you learn about the world of hip hop music and it's culture via his journey in helping to shape it!!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy LAWTON, OK, United States 01-23-12
    Timothy LAWTON, OK, United States 01-23-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "jay z "the man""
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, It confirmed what I had already believed about the guy.


    What other book might you compare Empire State of Mind to and why?

    Don't know


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When dame and jay was in the elevator at the same time. Dame realized j was on a different level then.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The man behind the name


    Any additional comments?

    Thought the writer made to long of a read about the whole whine conspiracy.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabriel La Jolla, CA, United States 01-17-12
    Gabriel La Jolla, CA, United States 01-17-12
    ratings
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    "Interested in the man behind the Music? Buy it."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This audio book is pretty thorough and gives a great insight to Jay-Z


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Empire State of Mind?

    Leaning about his marketing tactics was fantastic.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Building an Empire State of Mind


    Any additional comments?

    Easy to listen to. Great quality. This is an in-depth look at the man behind the music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna UPPER MARLBORO, MD, United States 01-02-12
    Donna UPPER MARLBORO, MD, United States 01-02-12

    Listen... Can you hear that???? Stillness speaks.

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    "Excellent listening."
    Would you listen to Empire State of Mind again? Why?

    I would listen to


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jay-Z was my favorite character. I selected this audio book because I wanted to know more about him.... as an individual and businessman.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Man-to-man talk with his father.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes... I wanted to listen to this book all in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    I admire Jay-Z and wish all the best to him and his family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eugene CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States 11-30-11
    eugene CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States 11-30-11
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    "very informative"

    I enjoyed this story. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that I didn't know. It was helpful to listen to the audio book after seeing the artist preform live. I have a better appreciation for his talent and business acumen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WOLFE glenview, IL, United States 09-19-11
    WOLFE glenview, IL, United States 09-19-11

    THE WOLF

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    "facinating subject...Water-downed story"

    It was hard for me to keep listening to the boring narrator to tell the story. It didnt make sense becuase he was to "bland"
    Jay-Z has a great interesting story to be told...but this was like eating something delicious while having a bad cold. Learned a little but it was no "Decoded"

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darren Glenside, PA, United States 03-17-13
    Darren Glenside, PA, United States 03-17-13 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Had High Hopes...But Disapointing"

    There is nothing in this book you can't find in the first page of Google results. Don't bother.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Adam Evans
    Birmingham, UK
    6/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A biography with a business twist..."
    What did you like most about Empire State of Mind?

    It's focus on the business rather than personal life of Jay-z and the authors well researched insights into deal making in the music industry. It does also go into some detail about his early life before music though which in itself is an interesting rags to riches story.

    If you are in the music industry the business advice contained within is indispensable. Lots of great examples of how to turn your popularity into a stable business enterprise and set yourself up for life. If you are new to the music industry he also explains common practice before going into the details of the deals.

    Also the story is told from a wide variety of view points. Jay-z did not support this book though! Which was a shame but I think makes the book quite a different read, in that it discusses his failures in as much detail as his successes and gives some very detailed facts and figures about his business deals.

    The author went to a lot of trouble to uncover things that Jay-z was gone to great pains to keep hidden. He presents the facts and his opinions on Jay-z's previous dealings and habits and leaves you to make up your own mind about things where he can't prive it one way or another.

    I haven't read Jay-z's own offering but I will be comparing it to this to see how biased it is.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Empire State of Mind?

    The fact that he managed to own his own masters and keep control of his career. He was always in charge and never let a record company or in fact anyone "manage" or direct his progress. He always had a plan and knew where he was going.


    What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

    I've heard his performance in other books. I was surprised to hear him here! I didn't know how he'd handle this genre but it was read well. When slang and hip hop lingo was used he didn't make it cheesy or try too hard. He read with passion for the subject and it was very clear well paced and easy to listen to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The parts where he talks about family and people he has lost. He is very intelligent and very human despite his image. Also the book talks a lot about people underestimating and misjudging him. I have to say I learned things about him I never suspected. He is an amazing individual. A business and music powerhouse


    Any additional comments?

    Really worth a listen whoever you are. I wasn't massively keen on Jay-z when I started but I had friends who worship him. This books turned me into a fan from many angles.

    There is something for everyone from every background in here. From aspiring recording artists to seasoned business professionals or fans. A very surprising and informative read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Interesting listen"

    I haven't really been a fan of Jay Z, but over time I had heard a bit of his achievements in the business world to give this book a try. Not disappointed at all. There is the good and bad from his early days but a lot to respect and admire as well. Interesting to understand how his early days shaped him and how he has moved on from the stereotypical Rapper to a respected business icon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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