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Beastie Boys Book

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  9,137 ratings  ·  1,474 reviews
A panoramic experience that tells the story of Beastie Boys, a book as unique as the band itself--by band members ADROCK and Mike D, with contributions from Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante, and more.

Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, t
Hardcover, 572 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Random House
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Popular Answered Questions
Holly I found a list of celebs involved, but not by chapter.
Steve Buscemi
Tim Meadows
Ada Calhoun
Bette Midler
Bobby Cannavale
Mix Master Mike
Exene Cervenka
I found a list of celebs involved, but not by chapter.
Steve Buscemi
Tim Meadows
Ada Calhoun
Bette Midler
Bobby Cannavale
Mix Master Mike
Exene Cervenka
Roy Choi
Yoshimi O
Jarvis Cocker
Rosie Perez
Elvis Costello
Amy Poehler
Chuck D
Kelly Reichardt
Nadia Dajani
John C. Reilly
Snoop Dogg
Ian Rogers
Will Ferrell
Maya Rudolph
Crosby Fitzgerald
Rev Run
Randy Gardner
Luc Sante
Kim Gordon
Kate Schellenbach
Josh Hamilton
MC Serch
LL Cool J
Chloë Sevigny
Spike Jonze
Jon Stewart
Pat Kiernan
Ben Stiller
Talib Kweli
Wanda Sykes
Dave Macklovitch
Jeff Tweedy
Rachel Maddow
Philippe Zdar
Michael Diamond
Adam Horovitz(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,137 ratings  ·  1,474 reviews

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Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, 2018
I wish MCA could have contributed. The whole book is a tribute to him. It’s as perfect as it can be without him.
Oh man, I loved this Beastie Boys history lesson! The audiobook is sooo pleasing to the ear. In addition to Diamond and Horovitz, there’s a full cast of narrators that will blow your damned mind. The essays and anecdotes are well-written, thoughtful, and often humorous. There are a few guest essayists as well. This collection takes the music memoir to a whole new level. On top of that, it’s a beautiful homage to Adam Yauch. This is one of my top reads of 2018!
Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
I'm sure you're scratching your head about right now thinking, "WTAF is even happening with you, Cupcake????!!!!"

What had happened was...

Audible sent me an email that essentially said: THIS IS THE BEST FUCKING AUDIOBOOK OF 2018!!! BUY THIS SHIT NOW!!!!!!! (paraphrasing since I'm quite certain Bezos wouldn't sanction such language, though evidently, dick pics are ok?)

My reaction was...

I mean, I'm not going to perpetrate and say I've been a Beasties fan since always cuz that's a damn lie. I didn'
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, 2020
It is occurring to people all over the city that rap is a sound that can be carved. And so it is occurring to three young city kids, lately in the punk-rock business, that they can use it to make anthems and stage sketch comedy and arrange pinpoint-precise repartee that wears a stupid hat to conceal its sophistication—and that’s just the beginning.

I had just turned 16 when Licensed to Ill came out. I was the target demographic, and I absolutely loved it. I still know every word of that album. So
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2021
For an audiobook, this one was one fantastic!

I became a Beastie Boys fan when I was 10 years old and I've loved their music ever since.
Of course, being 10 years old, I wasn't suppose to listen to this music.

But I had an ace up my sleeve.
I had an older brother.

Any new music that he brought into the house, I was lucky enough to experience it as well. He just couldn't let the 'rents know that he was corrupting his little sister.

So one day when Mom & Dad were out of the house, my brother said,
Kevin Kelsey
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2020
Reaally great.
Joseph Richardson
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just want to preface this by saying a couple of things. First of all, I don't really write reviews on here, as writing about music is more my forte. Secondly, Beastie Boys have been my favorite band since I was five or six years old, and Ill Communication was the third CD I owned as a kid. While my peers were listening to whatever was topping the charts in '97, I was listening to burned copies of Licensed To Ill, Paul's Boutique, and Check Your Head (thanks, Auntie). I didn't know why I liked ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to get this hefty (500+ pages) book, and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed it so much I devoured it in a weekend. Who would like this book? A Beastie Boys fan. Yes. A child of the '80s. Yes. A music aficionado. Yes. A New York resident. Yes. Someone who loves New York. Yes. A punk rock hip hop fan? Yes. Basically, you can love the Beastie Boys or not even care about the Beastie Boys and you'll enjoy this book. I happen to be a fan and grew up watching their escapades on MTV, atte ...more
Chris Bushman
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it

The Beastie Boys Book by Mike Diamond is a coffee table book full of pictures but it also contains quite a lot of thoughtfully written essays covering the life of the band in detail. This is a chance for the surviving members and close associates to tell their stories and they take full advantage. It really is very well done.

The perfect Christmas gift for the hard to buy for BBoy doin' the freak freak on your shopping list.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beastie Boys Book is wonderful. Just like the group, it's chaotic, kaleidoscopic and packed with humour.

The hard back edition is a surprisingly heavy coffee table type book packed with photos, essays, cartoons, recipes, trivia, mixtapes etc. The overall effect is a mesmerising panorama of memories, history and nostalgia.

Beastie Boys started as a teenage punk hardcore band in 1981 and, remarkably, in a couple of years, had metamorphosised into global hip hop superstars. This was just the start of
Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’re like me and Amy Poehler (see book), Beastie Boys—or as I often miscall them, THE Beastie Boys—were a central component of your teen and 20s DNA.

I was lucky enough to become musically aware well AFTER License To Ill. So the first Beastie Boys album that dropped FOR ME, was Check Your Head. It’s 1992. I’m going to be a junior in high school. I’m one of those kids whose musical identity isn’t just about music and whose identity isn’t about much else.

The bands I love teach me what to wea
Mattia Ravasi
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Video review

If this book were a Beastie Boys album (and it is as inventive, effervescent and FUN as their records), it would be my third favorite.
That sounds nonsensical but it's meant as high praise!
Michael Legge
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-books
It’s a shame he dies in the end.
Gary K Bibliophile
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What an entertaining book! I’m not used to seeing such a high rating on Goodreads. My initial thought was that it was artificially high because most of the first readers were fans - and maybe a little biased. Maybe there’s a little of that... but as I progressed through the book and nearly every story made me literally laugh out loud it quickly got my attention that this was something special.

Even if your not a fan of their music (and I am) - this is a great book. The description of the late 70
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A final love letter to a fellow band member, best friend, brother - one that will allow even passing Beastie Boys fans to rediscover what it was about these punks/rappers that makes them just as relevant 30 years later.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I laughed, I cried, I mourned MCA. I read this and listened to the audio version at the same time, which was a perfect way to experience the story.
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I READ A BOOK. Ok, listened. But we'll get to that. In 2020, the year that feels like 27 years...when I have had more free time than in my entire adult life...what is the one thing that I have not been able to do? Read. Or, rather, concentrate on reading.

Enter the Beasties. I'm not sure why I thought this was a good time to start an almost 14 hour audiobook, but I did. And it was.

This is one of the only times I can think of where I'd recommend getting both the print and audio versions at once. O
J.M. Hushour
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This photo sums up how great, incredible, and fun this book is. This is a picture of the Beastie Boys, Slayer, and Run-DMC. Yes, you read that right.
The Beastie Book was written by Adrock and Mike D and covers the gamut of their career, with a very welcome, intense focus on their early days in NYC when they were in various hardcore punk-rock bands. The late MCA is at the forefront, which is nice since he couldn't contribute for the obvious reasons and there is ever-present a nice warmth of the
Simon Sweetman
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book of the year for me. An emotional read, too. I realised, reading this, I grew up with this band - watched them grow up; they represent a lot to me - they have talent but aren't extraordinary, so it's believable, it always seemed achievable - they were flawed too. We heard them mature, musically, philosophically and spiritually across the albums. And the story was never able to be (correctly) finished. So there's a sadness there. Obviously. And you feel it through these pages and in these voi ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have the physical and listened to the audiobook for the Beastie Boys book. You need to see the photos and hear the stories read both by Mike D and Ad-Rock as well as by a cast of unexpected others (Bette Midler... what?). This book includes a Ate-O-Ate cookbook in the middler of it, photo essay by Spike Jonze (a highlight of the audiobook) and so many stories, memories and diverse music references (punk, reggae, ska, rap, funk, etc.) That I want to make so many mix-tapes right now. As Spike sa ...more
Dr. Detroit
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can stomach a few Beastie Boys songs - mostly for shits and giggles and after five or six bottles of suds. There's something about the blatant thievery (er, I mean sampling) of Zep in "She's Crafty" and the kiloton cretin teenage bop of "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" that still punches all of the neurons.

But damned if these guys don't know how to throw a bunch of stories, anecdotes, lists, and photos together, shake well, and spray it all over the ro
Jason Weber
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book! The whole complete history of the Beastie Boys. An absolute must read for any Beastie Boys fan, or music fan. It’s a shame that this did not come out prior to Yauch’s passing, because it would have been great to read his perspective. It’s big, it’s heavy, but you can NOT put this book down! I could read 500 more pages! RIP MCA.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Beastie Boys Book is a must read if any of the following are true:
1. You wore out your cassette of License to Ill in 1986
2. You miss referring to your friend group as your “posse”
3. You’d be amused by a mock investigation of Cookie Puss by Pulitzer Prize winning author Colson Whitehead
4. You’re interested in reading a (sweet, much
deserved) 500+ page love letter to Adam Yauch

I can’t believe I waited so long to pick this one up! I listened to the incredible audio AND flipped through the hard
Scott Semegran
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This massive book of essays, musings, comics, photos, recipes, and more tells the story of Beastie Boys, by band members ADROCK and Mike D (MCA passed away from cancer in 2012), with contributions from Amy Poehler, Spike Jonze, Kate Schellenbach, just to name a few. This book does chronicle the shenanigans most casual readers may expect from the Beastie Boys, but being that this book is a gargantuan 600-page Beastie tome, I don't believe it was intended for a casual reader. It is for beloved fan ...more
Kelda Giavaras
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
If I could give this book 6 stars I would! As a special shout out to myself, as I was listening to this book, I was reading War and Peace by Tolstoy at the same time....well not at the SAME time, but you know what I mean. Isn't that so punk rock of me? I can't say enough, about what intelligent, animated storytellers both Michael Diamond and Adam Horvitz are. I'm not even a Beastie Boys fan, but I was completely immersed in their tale. Reading about the music scene in the late 80's and 90's was ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is magnificent, the platonic ideal of the music oral history genre. It's a love letter to friendship, to music (all of it), to New York City, to beat-up musical gear, to mixtapes, to exploration. It is, most of all, a love letter from two fellow travelers to the companion no longer by their side. Every page explodes with joy and creativity and life. It perfectly captures the feeling of being 16 years old and finding music that's strange and foreign but also completely familiar, a kindr ...more
Scott  Hitchcock
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction

I highly recommend doing the audiobook for this one. They use over a hundred guest narrators in addition to the group including everybody from Ben Stiller, Wanda Sykes, Snoop Dogg, Chuck D.......all the way to Bette Midler.

Their influences are so vast and varied. They made me want to go out and listen to bands I haven't heard in years ranging from Sly and Family Stone, Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Jam, The Cure........crazy to think they started out as a punk band.

Being they're only 6-8 y
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, music
Absolutely Phenomenal. The cast of thousands reading the audio book completely enhanced the experience. They created such joy.

But most of all, I appreciated the love shown to Yauch. The loss of a close friend & collaborator, that really resonated with me. Feeling lost and bereft in the wake of a loss of that magnitude. The Beasties somehow remained celebratory, even after that devastation. Their lives are a tribute to their friendship. Something I hope that I can emulate.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So great! I am nowhere near what you’d call the Beastie Boys’ biggest fan. Still, I had no trouble following along, & thoroughly enjoyed hearing their story.
A tribute to MCA - an apology to the people they wronged - a yearbook full of scribblings from their peers - a love letter to their inspirations - it is full of awe at the life they led, the tricks they pulled off, and the things they accomplished. It’s also an immersion into a bygone era that may never come around again.

Listen to this on a
Jeff Cameron
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
You know, I didn’t know that much about the b-boys, but I really had fun reading this. “What would Yauch do?”
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