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Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office

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3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  652 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
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 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, s ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 17th 2011 by Portfolio (first published March 16th 2011)
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When You're Gone by Avril LavignePieces by John von DalerEmpire State of Mind by Zack O'Malley GreenburgLike It or Leave It by Hannah AndronicBlinded by the Sun by Adam Salomon
Music's Books
3rd out of 14 books — 8 voters
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5th out of 20 books — 1 voter


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Amar Pai
Oct 05, 2011 Amar Pai rated it really liked it
I found this book quite fascinating. Greenburg writes a monthly column on rappers and their finances for forbes.com. (I love that Forbes has someone covering the "rap/finance" beat.) Among other things, he puts together a yearly list of the wealthiest rappers in the game, by overall net worth. This year, Puffy came in at #1 ($475 mil). But close behind was Jay-Z, who came in #2 with $470 mil. To repeat: $470 mil!!! Empire State of Mind is the story of how that came to be.

The most remarkable thin
...more
Tanja
Jun 09, 2013 Tanja rated it really liked it
Empire State of Mind is a ‘business biography’ of Jay-Z. It explores how Jay-Z’s mind works, so I was disappointed to read that Jay-Z refused to be interviewed for the book. But the reason for that is actually really obvious: there was nothing in it for him. The book describes many of Jay-Z’s business ventures (the ones that were successful and the ones that failed), and makes it quite clear that Jay-Z doesn't bother with anything that he can’t profit from.

The author’s primary source of informat
...more
Byron
Feb 28, 2014 Byron rated it liked it
I'd say this is almost as good as Jay-Z's own Decoded, and if anything that just goes to show what a wasted opportunity that book was.

The author couldn't get the rapper to participate in the making of the book, because what was in it for him (literally, that was Jay-Z's response), and one of the best parts of Empire State of Mind is the author barely concealed contempt. We need more books about rappers by people who aren't there to perpetuate the myth. The last thing we need is the literary equi
...more
Sheldon
Feb 04, 2012 Sheldon rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book even though Jay-Z didn't actually contribute to it. I've read some reviews and think a lot of what you get out of this book is based on what you come in expecting. If you are looking for a Jay-Z biography... this will disappoint you. If you are looking for a telling of some of the more key events in his life from a business perspective and a bit of insight into how he deals with people and ventures, you'll find it interesting.

I think the author talks to some people who provid
...more
Mike
Sep 06, 2016 Mike rated it did not like it
I guess the book accomplishes what it proposed to deliver: a story of Jay Z's ascent from drug dealing to sitting courtside at Nets games and being paid millions of dollars to mention particular champagne brands in his songs. But you can learn most of that from a Wikipedia entry or a few magazine articles, so I'm not certain why writing Empire State of Mind was all that necessary.

The author went well out of his way, throughout the book, to insert himself into the story, add silly personal vignet
...more
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Zack O'Malley Greenburg is a Forbes senior editor and author of the Jay-Z biography Empire State of Mind. His second book, Michael Jackson, Inc, will be released in June by Simon & Schuster. Zack covers the business of music in The Beat Report at Forbes; in five years there, he's tackled topics from public pension fund scandals to Justin Bieber's budding career as a venture capitalist. He has ...more
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