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When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man Hardcover – April 7, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 274 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hollywood power player Weintraub, now 72, is always in control and goes to great lengths to prove it: besides having managed musical legends like Presley, Sinatra and John Denver ("I cooked him from scratch"), Weintraub once closed a deal by faking a heart attack, and won the respect of one of Chicago's most powerful men, Arthur Wirtz, when he cursed Wirtz out for making him wait (Wirtz would go on to become one of Weintraub's mentors). Weintraub's also produced plays, TV shows, movies (from Nashville to the Ocean's 11 franchise), and more, summing up his talent simply: "When I believe in something, it's going to get done." Edgy and honest but refreshingly spare in his criticism of stars, colleagues and family, Weintraub can be forgiven for glossing over speed bumps in his career (one failed business lost $30 million before it closed in the mid-'80s) and occasionally showing his age with wandering rumination. As Weintraub repeatedly states, he is not a star, which perhaps that explains the disappointing omission of photos. Still, with a bold voice, a storied career, and a cast of superstars, his memoir makes a rousing insider tour of some five decades in the entertainment industry.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Now, I could tell you stories about Jerry, but Jerry is the first and best to tell them. He's funny and grumpy and perfectly inappropriate. When it comes to work, nobody works harder. When it comes to charities, nobody guilts better. And when it comes to friendship, he has no peers. That's Jerry's great talent. He doesn't just light up a room, he lights it on fire. He's a great producer, a great organizer, a great friend, and truly the greatest showman on earth." (George Clooney )

"He's somebody from another age." (Elliott Gould )

“Jerry has made a fascinating career for himself by finding ways to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. Jerry has bloomed wherever he's been planted. His life has put him in the company of greats like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack, Robert Altman, and Steven Soderbergh, to name a few. Jerry's story chronicles his journey that involved a lot of improvising, love, and of course, luck. This story isn't just for music or movie lovers, or entrepreneurs....it's for everyone. So, pick up your copy of When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub… If there was a Mount Rushmore of legendary show business figures, he'd be one of them.” (Don Imus)

"When I Stop Talking is anything but a rote, let-the-record-show memoir . . . Although it's packed with stories he's surely been telling at dinner forever, the book is also a modest set of guidelines for how you too can be a successful mogul . . . it's written with stealth and style, doubtless shaped by his co-writer, Rich Cohen . . . The book, really, is a performance, a monologue by a guy comfortable hanging with Armand Hammer at Leonid Brezhnev's funeral or with Joey Bishop at a deli. It's a show based on horse pucky on braggadocio.” ( RJ Smith, LA Times )

“This is a guy who can tell a story. And boy does he have stories to tell. Weintraub exhibits no false modesty—or illusions. ‘Pretend you don’t hear the word ‘no,’ he writes. ‘I have accomplished almost nothing on the first or second or even the third try.’ It’s called chutzpah, and it works.” (People Magazine)

“There are five massive flat-screen TVs hanging on the living room wall of Jerry Weintraub’s Beverly Hills mansion. Upstairs in the bedroom there are five more. The reason for all the high-def? ‘I like to bet on football,’ says the 72-year-old überproducer, straightening his shirtcuffs as he settles into a comfortable sofa. ‘I like it a lot.’ The guy can afford to lose a few bets. Over the years he has amassed a fortune gambling in the entertainment industry . . . The point is, Weintraub knows a thing or two about placing bets. And his latest venture sounds like a sure thing—an autobiography, pithily titled When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man . . . a gripping personal story.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Old chestnuts from this journey are lovingly, and often hilariously, burnished in Weintraub’s new memoir, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead . . . The book, which is in no way a scandalous, showbiz tell-all, but a good-humored, and often self-deprecating romp of outrageous will and amazing fortune, also paints a picture of uncanny bliss.” (Nicole Laporte, The Daily Beast)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; 1 edition (April 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446548154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446548151
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Rich Cohen--I've been reading him for ten years--is one of the country's best writers. Jerry Weintraub--film producer, musician manager, deal maker--is one of the nation's best livers. (Mention an event, a celebrity, the man has a story.) Cohen can write anything; Weintraub has done nearly everything. Which is what makes this book such a perfect match. Weintraub is the real deal--came up without money or the helping hands than can do the work of money; produced the three "Ocean's Eleven" pictures, also "Nashville" and "Diner" (two decades' great classics), also managed Elvis, also Sinatra, also the chess-champion Bobby Fischer at Reykjavik. It's an amazing story. Weintraub goes everywhere and does everything; he heads someplace, arrives, finds himself at the center. A gift, which he discovers in himself and develops. He found a way to take Elvis on the road at 26, to bring Sinatra's career back at 35; when he's watching the Fischer chess championship on TV, he just buys a ticket, flies to Iceland, and more or less enters the screen himself. (That's one lesson Weintraub teaches from his kind of life. Find what you love, trust it. Then act.) The story is filled with advice, plus advice-by-example: hustling in the beginning, finding the angle, picking your allies--"If you work with people you love, which, of course, is not always possible, the hard times become an epic adventure"--then getting to a place where your own work functions as an ad, as the attraction: "I did not have to hustle quite as much. Once you've established yourself, you can, to some extent, let business find you. You become a beacon, a door into a better life.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Based upon Harvey Levin's description of this as a "Great Book" on TMZ, I bought a copy. Unfortunately, it is not, for the following reasons:

1. The book was ghost-written by Rich Cohn and lacks the immediacy and integrity it would have had if Mr. Weintraub had written it himself;

2. There is an endless parade of all the important people Mr. Weintraub has run into during his life;

3. Mr. Weintraub uncritically fawns all over said important people; and

4. Mr. Weintraub tells us about all of his successes, but none of his failures.

In other words, the reader comes away with the impression that the book is dishonest.

For example, Mr. Weintraub spends a good deal of time eulogizing Elvis Presley's manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker, a bilious bag of gas who took far more than the traditional 10% of Elvis's earnings (reaching 50% by the end of Presley's life). After Elvis's death in 1997, Parker became embroiled in legal claims with Elvis's estate for overreaching, eventually agreeing to sell masters of some of Elvis's major recordings for $2 million and to drop any claims he might have against the estate. It was also later discovered that he was not a U.S. citizen (he was born in the Netherlands) a fact that many believe caused him not to seek concert opportunities for Presley abroad. Even his assumed title of "Colonel" was phony; he was, at best, a "Kentucky Colonel." But Mr. Weintraub discusses none of this in his extensive descriptions of his relationship with Mr. Parker.

There is no question that Mr. Weintraub has the experience to write a great book about the entertainment industry. This is not it.
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Format: Hardcover
Heard the CD version of WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW
I'M DEAD--written and read by Jerry Weintraub.

He's the legendary Hollywood producer, deal maker, and friend of politicians
and stars . . . as he notes:

* All life was a theater, and I wanted to put it up on stage. I wanted to set
the world under a marquee that read: "Jerry Weintraub Presents."

And present he did, beginning at age 26 with Elvis Presley, whom he
took on the road with Colonel Tom Parker's help . . . through his
days with Frank Sinatra when he was at the height of his career . . . and
including his role in such hits as OH, GOD!, THE KARATE KID, DINER, and

Along the way, the author shares his experience with such other personalities
as George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George W. Bush, Brad Pitt, Bob Dylan,
John Denver, Bobby Fischer and a whole host of others too numerous to
name . . . but you don't get the feeling that he's merely name-dropping; rather,
it almost feels like you are having a one-on-one conversation with Weintraub.

I also liked the advice that he shared throughout the book, including:

* People will pay you to make their lives easier.

* Never get paid one when you can get paid twice.

* Every 10 years, something new is coming . . . a big hand comes down
and pushes the dishes off the table.

* An idea is only crazy until somebody pulls it off.

* To be successful, you need to have a certain "screw 'em" attitude . . . in
politics, entertainment, sports, etc.

There were some great stories, too . . . one I especially remembered
involved Weintraub having difficulty selling Presley scarves; i.e., until
he got Elvis to ask all those in the concert to wave their scarves
so he could see them better . . . the scarves sold like crazy during
an intermission.
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