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Brothers of Iron: Building the Weider Empire Hardcover – September 1, 2006
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About the Author
Joe Weider has long been recognized for his leadership, dedication, and outstanding contributions to the field of physical fitness. The honor that he is perhaps most proud of is the Distinguished Citizen Award presented to him by the Boy Scouts of America in 1991 that refers to him as "the father of fitness." Past titles include Joe Weiders Ultimate Bodybuilding (McGraw-Hill, 1989). Joe lives in Los Angeles, California.
Ben Weider is the president of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB), which he founded in Montreal in 1946. The IFBB has over 170 countries as members and was granted official recognition in 1998 by the International Olympic Committee. Past titles include Assassination at St. Helena Revisited (Wiley, 1995) and The Murder of Napoleon (Book Sales, 1986). Ben lives in Hampstead, Quebec, Canada.
Mike Steere is a professional freelance writer who writes for Outside, Worth, and other magazines. Mike lives in Los Angeles, California.
Top customer reviews
OF COURSE - this book only gives the Weider brothers version of history. You must keep that in mind when you read this or you might go crazy. However, I did find that the Weider brothers were more honest than I expected. It was good to read about their early lives and how it shaped the men they became.
Actually I thought that Ben came off a more complete and interesting person as he had more interests than just lifting weights. Joes part seemed to be more guarded and filtered (if you know what I mean). But even he admitted several things that surprised me - like the story about Larry Scott retiring after wining his second Mr O - he announced from the stage his retirement from bodybuilding and stated that it was due, in part, to the steroids. I found it interesting that Joe Weider would tell that story.
I've always felt that that Joe told a lot of tall tales but now understand that there was a reason for that - and for the most part that reason was valid. It worked eventually - perhaps even too well as the drugs have taked over the sport. In order to win today you must have the very best genetics and use very high doses of the steroids, diuretics (more commonly known as a 'water pill'), insulin, HGH (human growth hormone), etc, etc. The big winners today have gotten so freaky that they are in danger of being a subculture into themselves. When Steve Reeves, etc ruled the world I always felt that the average man could at least approach that look with a lot of hard work done properly coupled with the right suppliments, diet, etc.
Today there is just no way the average person could ever get that big, etc. And the whole female Ms O - well - they look more like men than women and that's a turn-off for most people. Weider had a opportunity to control this and quite simply didn't. Now the genie is out of the bottle and it's nearly impossible to do anything about any of this.
Of course both Weider brothers are dead now so history will be the final judge of the world they created.
I would rate this a pretty good 8 to 8.5 - well worth the read if you love lifting weights and grew up in the 1960's to about 1990 - RECOMMENDED!
This book is extremely well written. I suspect that's because a professional writer was brought in to make that happen and Mike Steere did a wonderful job. However, one can certainly see the different styles in communication in the chapters written by Joe and by brother Ben.
The really fun reading, the wonderful reading was that in the chapters written by Joe. But one will notice soon into the book that it is a love fest by Joe Weider to Joe Weider.
Weider blames other people for his failures, including a near bankruptcy and a failed first marriage. He also shows an incredible lack of love or human caring for his one and only child by his first wife. He mentions the child in passing and with no emotion. One wonders why he married a woman he didn't love or resect.
All through the book Joe Weider brags about all he did for the sport of bodybuilding and he takes full credit for it all. He puts down numerous other people in the business.
When Arnold was giving a speech and didn't give Joe credit for making it all happen for him, Joe was angry and upset. He wanted the credit and he wanted it publically. Well, truth be told, he deserved the credit. Arnold would still be a nobody in Austria without Joe Weider. And one needs to understand that egos are as huge as muscles in bodybuilding.
This book gives us a look at the golden years of bodybuilding. It gives us the history of bodybuilding. It's an incredibly powerful and exciting book that gives us an insiders view into bodybuilding from the beginning.
There has been a lot said about Joe Weider. Much of it bad. Bodybuilding is perhaps the only sport that has no sanction against the use of anabolic steroids.
The articles we read in Muscle and Fitness, while great reading, offer workouts that the average person can't do. One has to be juiced to be able to handle all the reps and sets and gym time advocated in the articles. And one certainly has to be juiced to gain the mass of a Ronnie Coleman and the other greats of today. Even Arnold admitted taking steroids in his day and he was nowhere as big as the guys (or some of the gals) today.
Weider comes off as a bit of sexist. He also comes off as very tight with money. Perhaps one can forgive that in a man of his age as long as you don't have to live with him or be around him.
Anyone who is the least bit interested in bodybuilding, in running a business, in the magazine business or sports business should read this book. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time.
You can't help come away with inspiration if you're a businessperson and a glowing love and respect for bodybuilding if you love the feel of iron working muscle and know the value of regular lifting.
I highly recommend this book. It's perhaps the best book of the year --- at least out of the books I've read.
This book was an inspirational story of commitment, courage, tenacity and guts. The Weider's ultimate success was the result of overcoming many hurdles and obstacles along the way. In their final chapter, Joe Weider cites his "lessons of bodybuilding: Determination, Persistence, Concentration, Focus and Patience." I will add one more -- Resilience - the ability to bounce back after getting knocked down.
The only reason I didn't rate this book five stars is that I would like to have liked to have seen more content and photos regarding the early bodybuilders who were foundational to the success of the Weider empire.
Most recent customer reviews
THIS IS AN EGOTISTICAL, SELF SERVING WASTE OF TIME.Read more