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Ryan Holiday (Founder / Brass Check)
Just because I didn’t want this list to be all stuffy old classics, I thought I’d put this interesting (and unofficial) biography of Jay-Z on here. This is a biography that also functions as a business book. It shows how Jay applied hustling techniques to the music business and eventually built his empire.
I’m not a businessman—I’m a business, man. —Jay Z
As much as Martha Stewart or Oprah—and perhaps more than any musician—Jay Z has turned himself into a lifestyle. You can wake up to the local radio station playing his newest hit, spritz yourself with his latest cologne, slip on a pair of his Rocawear jeans, lace up your Reebok S. Carter sneakers, watch baseball star Robinson Cano smack a couple of hits in an afternoon game, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig. On the way to Jay Z’s 40/40 Club for a D’Ussé cognac nightcap, sign up for streaming service Tidal and hear his latest collaboration with Beyoncé. He’ll profit at every turn of your day.
Empire State of Mind reveals the story behind Jay Z’s rise as told by the people who lived it with him, from classmates at Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse High School and the childhood friend who got him into the drug trade, to the DJ who persuaded him to stop dealing and focus on the music. Now with new interviews with industry insiders like Russell Simmons, Alicia Keys, and J. Cole—more than one hundred in total—this book explains just how Jay Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world.
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