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Showing 1-10 of 104 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 122 reviews
on September 2, 2016
Burned through this book really quickly. It was a good read and great insight in to the mind of someone who truly knows how to work game of life, Jay-Z really took hustling to the corporate world and he owned every opportunity he got. It's made me more aware of the things i need to do in my life to become more financially secure.
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on May 17, 2013
I loved this book and more power to him for the success he has, it is truly awe inspiring, proving that if you set your mind to something, there is absolutely nothing you cannot achieve.

BUT should Barack Obama be counting this man among his friends publicly? Jay Z started his illustrious career as a drug dealer, something he had to have his arm twisted to get out of and go half heartedly into the music business, if the book is to be believed. He stabbed at least one man and who knows what else, instead of allowing the legal system to assist him. Black, white or orange, why are we being told that this behaviour is OK?

As wonderful as this book is, it poses a number of questions regarding the direction impressionable readers will take to achieve their own goals in years to come.
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on June 11, 2015
I enjoyed this book very much. I'm a huge Jay Z fan and I enjoyed learning more about his business acumen. The writing was clear and easily understandable and it didn't feel biased. I would recommend this to friends who wanted to read about how Jay moves in business and what it motivations are (could be?). I'm still a fan afterwards. I'm still inspired by his moves.
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on April 20, 2011
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in business, the music industry, and obviously Jay-Z. It is a great read!

As both a business man and hip hop fan, I found this book to be really interesting, informative and well written. This book provides many business lessons to entrepreneurs. For example, failure is often part of the road to success, confidence in negotiations, importance of managing your brand (e.g. as never a failure), thinking a step ahead, diversification, and emotional detachment from business partners. The author's explanation of Jay-Z's story demonstrates how difficult times can help teach us valuable lessons that ultimately bring us success. There is a lot of interesting information about Jay-Z's background that I was completely unaware of even as a Jay-Z fan.
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on August 14, 2011
Greenburg's "Empire State of Mind" is a good expose' on rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z. Reportedly, Greenburg interviewed confidantes of Jay-Z as well as reviewed public documents chronicling Jay-Z's meteoric rise within the entertainment industry. Although Greenburg provided an excellent biographical account for neophytes of Jay-Z's success, Greenburg fell short in answering critical questions. Namely, what societal need did Jay-Z feed to become successful? And what relevance did drug dealing have for Jay-Z's iconic status in the music industry? If Greenburg had answered these two questions, he would have captured what Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G., and 50 Cent knew about the American creed and brand marketing.

Rapper Tupac Shakur consistently talked about learning "The Game," but few authors have addressed what learning the game really meant to the aforementioned entertainers. Jay-Z, Biggie, and 50 Cent learned that peddling lyrics and CDs to a niche market was no different than selling drugs to an addicted market. The rugged individualism of the American creed cheers for the underdog. More importantly, Reality TV ushered in the need for authenticity within entertainers. Art had to reflect true reality. The likes of charismatic figures that played gangsters from James Cagney to Marlon Brando made audiences sympathetic to the underworld. Audiences rooted for the bad guy not only to escape legal authorities, but to win. Real life drug dealers could rap about their exploits and keep audiences riveted by their lyrics, beats, and bravado. Jay-Z, Biggie, and 50 Cent realized that if they could capture American society's love affair with the underworld, they could legally sell their experiences of street life without selling the drugs. These rappers were into the drug trade for the money, not the lifestyle. They now sell rap music for the money and the lifestyle.

Greenburg missed this concept because he wanted to record Jay-Z's success as a business case study as opposed to delving into the psyche of what really makes Jay-Z tick.

Overall, "Empire State of Mind" is a good book for inspiration and the basic tenets of business. Greenburg would do well by contracting with Jay-Z to develop a joint venture where true hard-hitting questions about Jay-Z could be answered. Although "Empire State of Mind" is recommended reading, it leaves other questions to be answered.

Edward Brown
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute
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on December 22, 2013
A good read. A fair and accurate dedication of Shawn Carter (Jay-Z). An interesting look into the business acumen and the mindset of such and influential figure that has evolved past becoming just a pop icon within Hip-Hop culture. A story told through various quotes Jay-Z has expressed through interviews that have been shared with a focused audience. Personal recollections of countless moments told by the people who have known and know Jay-Z better than most. A motivating selection I would recommend to any person who has an interest in business.
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on August 21, 2013
Full disclosure - I am no fan of hip hop music or its practitioners. I became somewhat interested in Jay Z after seeing him interviewed by Charlie Rose and then hearing that he was now becoming an agent for some high profile professional athletes like Robinson Cano. The young author seemed handicapped in part by the fact that this is an unauthorized bio and some people close to Jay Z were reluctant to talk to him. We get the outlines of Jay Z's life but I didn't get the feeling that I know him very well. Marketing products through use of his celebrity persona seems to be his essence. The results are obviously financially impressive but it seems shallow and nothing that inspires admiration for him as a person. And one wonders about the mentality of the people who are influenced by this type of egomaniacal, narcissistic salesmanship. I will watch his future career with some interest and withhold a final judgment on him.
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on June 26, 2013
From some of the reviews I check the book was positioned to be awesome. However, me being a big fan of autobiographies and business related books, Empire State of Mind was a disappointment. Yes, it did give a glimpse at how Jay Z operates, but not too much. I expected much depth in this book. However, kudos to the author as he has done a lot of research (given that Jay-Z's office didn't cooperate). Three stars and nothing more as there was nothing to take away from this book!
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on February 23, 2014
This book is filled with plenty of insight into the mind of a man born to be a mogul. Jay-Z is a business man -- an entrepreneur. If I were a professor, I'd make this required reading. This really is a rags to riches story and proof you can build a lot of something out of nothing. It's always impressive to succeed when nothing was designed with your success in mind.
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on March 29, 2011
Empire State of Mind is a fantastic read! Zack O'Malley Greenburg offers sharp insight into how a man who began from the humblest of beginnings went on to become a formidable business force.

Some of the highest points of the book are the revelations of Jay-Z's failed business ventures. Without giving too much away, Greenburg's coverage of Jay-Z's car sponsorship and film projects, and how Jay-Z swept up the pieces, are incredibly telling.

This book has something to offer to anyone, from insiders in the industry to aspiring businesspeople, even to anyone just looking to read some fluid, attention-grabbing writing.
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