Regular price: $20.72

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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But despite Jay-Z's success, there are still many Americans whose impressions of him are foggy, outdated, or downright incorrect.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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    148
  • 4 Stars
    120
  • 3 Stars
    59
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    15

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    124
  • 4 Stars
    91
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    135
  • 4 Stars
    89
  • 3 Stars
    48
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    13
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The book is good, but the guy who did the audiobook is clearly out of his element

I liked the book okay, some of the business stuff seemed pretty useless and didn't interest me. The audio book version has a ton of mispronunciations of A list celebrities names and the narrator doesn't seem to have any knowledge of hip-hop culture.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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!!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

It was ok

The book was written from a "outsider" perspective. Jay Z did not approve him writing this book. If you really want to understand the mind of Jay Z and how he went from Street corner to board room, then I was suggest that you read Decoded which is written from Jay Z's soul perspective. Personally I don't think that a Jewish boy could ever really understand the plight of a Brooklyn boys' hustle. While I appreciate what he has to add and offer, i'd rather hear it from the horses mouth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Disappointed

What was most disappointing about Zack O'Malley Greenburg’s story?

The book just talked about business deals and how much they were worth. I wanted to hear stories about Jay Z's actual struggles and how he overcame. Only delved into this a little bit.

What does Sean Pratt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

good voice

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good listen overall

The book was well-researched and written. I'll likely look into some of the other books by the author.

The narrator had a clear voice that was easy to follow along with, although it's clear he wasn't familiar with the subject matter. He mispronounced several names of people and brands, which disrupts the flow for listeners who are familiar.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Book...But....!!!

This book was a good read, but it was also a little underwhelming and slightly disappointing to me. I learned a great deal, but it wasn’t nearly enough information or insight into Jay-Z. Merely, I wanted more and more information.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great listen

Great audiobook to listen to on the go. Greenburg is a great story teller and really breaks down the rags to riches story of Jay. He did a great job including content from people close to Jay Z but it’s unclear if he spoke to Jay Z himself. I would have liked to hear a final chapter directly from the business..mannnnnn

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Jay zzzzzzz

The content of the book is now outdated leaves off at about 2010. The moderator was not suited for hip-hop book while he was in bad per se not someone that you want to listen tospeak about hip-hop for a few hours.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too much business talk?

I read some negative reviews that said this book was too much business talk. When I finished it my friend said, "what did you think?". I said, "Well it was mostly straight business deals and numbers... So I loved it.". If you're looking for a look into Jay Z's song writing process, this is not the book. If you want to have someone who's done their research explain Jay Z's empire building process, you'll probably like it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A deep look into the businessman Jayz

This book helps you truly understand what Jay-Z is trying to do and how likely he is to do it sooner than later.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Matthew Nix
  • 03-22-16

Interesting, but not especially useful

An interesting insight into the character and business dealings of the protagonist, but not a lot of useful lessons or insights. More on the entertainment side than the learning side but was still interesting and enjoyable.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ajay Sahota
  • 07-27-15

Superb

A fantastic audio, inspiring and entertaining. really enjoyed listening to this during my long drives.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Adam Evans
  • 06-30-14

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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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!

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • 12-23-12

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.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-18-17

boring

boring. struggled to finish. slow pace. probably a combination of the content and the speaker.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Andrew M
  • 09-11-16

Not a business book. Just a semi biographical goss

I thought this was suppoesed to be a business book. This is just a gossip book