Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska, or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"
In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.
Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.
And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come."
As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead."
With wit, wisdom, and the cool confidence that has colored his remarkable career, Jerry chronicles a quintessentially American journey, one marked by luck, love, and improvisation. The stories he tells and the lessons we learn are essential, not just for those who love movies and music, but for businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists . . . everyone.
The film is The Firm. Jerry Weintraub has been cast as mobbed-up client Sonny Capps, who is having a rather contentious meeting with his lawyers - played by Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise:
In my scene, which comes halfway through the film, I grow increasingly irritated as Hackman and Cruise, lawyers at the firm, try to sell me on a course of action. I finally snap at Cruise, who, in his response, demonstrates his mettle. We rehearsed it, then filmed it, then filmed it again and again and again...I was tired, spent, at the end of me. Then, finally, after the who-knows-what take, Tom Cruise turned to me and said, "You know, you've got some nerve!"
"You heard me," he said, "you've got some nerve coming onto a set with real actors, using up our energy and wasting our time."
I turned and looked at him, goddamn piece of garbage, talking to me this way. I flushed red. I could actually feel the blood running into my face. "Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?" I said. "Do you know what you're doing?"
Just then, Sydney yelled, "Cut - we got it."
I've watched this movie more than once. I recall the scene, and the shift in intensity of Weintraub's line reading. There's the explanation. But do you know what always stands out for me whenever I encounter that exchange? Hackman's wince. Hackman's wince saved that scene. Hackman's wince was gold.
Jerry Weintraub was never going to win any awards as an actor. His bones were made on five decades of negotiating, producing, promoting, and investing in the entertainment industry. Weintraub made it to the top of the ladder; among his music management clients were Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, his film credits filled with commercial hits including both the Karate Kid franchise and the monster Ocean's Eleven remakes. He was as far through the door as you could get, and knew just about everyone of any consequence in show business.
This memoir, written with Rich Cohen, is his effort to leave a little wisdom behind. He gives us a series of meaty vignettes to illustrate what it takes to succeed in this fickle profession, and goes a long way toward explaining the value of authenticity in an environment designed almost exclusively to toy with that concept.
It's a pretty decent read...from a man who recently stopped talking.
Jerry Weintraub loves Jerry Weintraub and believes that Jerry Weintraub has led a fascinating life. As a result, Jerry Weintraub loves to tell stories about Jerry Weintraub. Here, Jerry Weintraub tells a lot of them, about promoting stars and making deals. Most are quite short. Many are compelling. Weintraub dispenses show business gossip, Mafia talk, family tales, accounts of rock music and movie excesses, and instructions for a successful career in promoting, agenting, managing and producing, all of which he carried out with astonishing success. getAbstract recommends Weintraub’s insider yarns and finds that mostly what Weintraub presents is his joy at being Weintraub. That this delight remains for the most part charming underscores a continuing theme: His charm allowed Weintraub to pull off career moves few others would have dared.
I'm not sure why I put this book on my list from the library. Inasmuch as it was insight into the world of a person I'd never meet (nor want to), it only supported the cliche that movie/Broadway show producers are fast-talking and self-glorying. Weintraub seems to have no doubt that he was a good and faithful husband (despite tales of 1970s debauchery), though admits he might not have been the best dad because he wasn't home a lot of the time (ever). Reflection isn't his strong point.
My favorite passage was when his parents come to Beverly Hills to visit him at his mansion and after a few days of treating them to the high life his dad (who had been a jewel salesman) takes Jerry aside and says, "I want to ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the truth...Are you in the Mafia? How did you get all this? You were never that smart."
"I stammered, 'Oh, no Dad. I'm creative. I did it.'
'Well, where's your inventory?' he asked, 'How can you have this much money and not have any inventory? It doesn't make any sense to me.'
I laughed and pointed at my head. 'It's up here,' I said, 'All my inventory is right up here.'
Then he laughed, too, saying, 'Well, I guess there was always a lot of space for it, anyway.'"
This book is not really a biography, it's more of a compilation of important lessons from a man who followed his passions to the core and changed the world in many ways. Jerry Weintraub isn't just another rag to riches story, this book will among many other things teach you the massive value of having people skills and strong integrity. As I was listening to the audiobook in many ways it was like speaking to an old friend. I really recommend you to check it out and definitely get the audio version!
Showbiz stories and reflections from one of the top Illuminati figures in Hollywood. Lots of name-dropping and self-aggrandizement. But damn are these good stories. You might not know Jerry Weintraub by name, but trust me: this guy had his hand in some of everything. No Boutros? He started out as your typical lowly, madd suspect Broadway Danny Rose-style talent manager, putting on puppet shows and shit. Then he married a much older woman who happened to be friends with George HW Bush, back before he was the head of the CIA, ambassador to the UN, drug czar/dealer, so on and so forth, and his career took off. And when I say took off, I mean took the fuck off. I can't convey via hyperbole the level of deals this guy did and the amount of money he must have made; I don't have the writing talent. He used to kick it with the likes of Armand Hammer, the aforementioned President Bush, Marshal Tito, Fidel Castro and the late, great (misunderstood I'm sure) Moammar Gadhafi. At one point, back in the mid '80s, he had his own movie studio, Dreamworks-style. And he'd probably still have it today if he actually had any talent for producing movies.
• Opportunity cost: "I have a philosophy of life, but I don't live by it and never could practice it. Now, at 72, I realize every minute doing one thing is a minute not doing something else, every choice is another choice not made, another path grown over and lost. If asked my philosophy, it would be simply this: savor life, don't press too hard, don't worry too much. Or as the old timers say "enjoy." But, as I said, I never could live by this philosophy and was, in fact, out working, hustling, trading, scheming and making a buck as soon as I was old enough to leave my parents house" My comment: have a sense of urgency! • Mentors: "this has been a theme in my life: somehow, I have attracted mentors. Again and again, who knows why, older men have taken me under their wing." • Economy: "….at the end of the day write down exactly what you have. Put that number in your left pocket. Then write down exactly what you owe. Put that number in your right pocket. As long as the number in your left pocket is bigger than the number in your right pocket, you will have a good life" My comment: very good practical tip
”The jobs I had taken to buy the jacket had become more important to me than the jacket itself had ever been. At some point, you forget the object, and the means become the end. You work for the joy of the work. My father must have known this would happen.” 16
“Relationships are the only thing that really matters, in business and in life. That’s what I learned from Abraham Levitt.” 17
”I always sleep with a notepad on the table so I can write down ideas that come in the night.” 74
“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people, to kids trying to break out of Brooklyn and Kankakee, its this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man says no, pretend you can’t hear him. Look confused, stammer, say huh? Persistence - it’s a cliche, but it happens to work. The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit. This is more important than intelligence, pedigree, even connections. Be dogged! Keep hitting that door until you bust it down! I have accomplished almost nothing on the first or second or even the third try - the breakthrough usually comes late, when everyone else has left the field.” 75-76
I so enjoyed listening to this book; I can't imagine anyone but the author reading it. I don't think people live lives like his anymore - talk about doing everything and knowing everyone! Hearing his story was a little like being swept away on a glamourous mini-vacation. However, I'm not sure I'd like to know this man in person. I was left thinking, "Well! Isn't he the delightful little sheister!" He's probably not actually "little", per se. Still. From my perspective, he seems just this side of shady. He's a funny guy, though, and I doubt he has any trouble laying on the charm. I'm so impressed with all the things he's tried and everything he's accomplished. Of course I'm left wishing I'd have had the wherewithal to know what I was doing and where I was going from such a young age. It's a futile wish, of course - I rather like who I am today and it's my youth and my leaving-youth that made me. But it's hard to not wish for a Golden Touch like Mr. Weintraub seems to have. And I have to admit, I came into work every day excited to hear what he was going to tell me next. It was definitely a very entertaining and illuminating book. Thank you for telling your story, Mr. Weintraub.
Jerry Weintraub has led an almost Zelig like life, in the room with all the big names of the past 60 years, intimates as diverse as Led Zepplin, Jimmy Carter, Sinatra -- the list is endless and fascinating. His chapter about experiences with Armand Hammer reads almost like fiction. He is the beneficiary of more than a little luck, and if the word chutzpah hadn't been invented, it would have to have been made up for him. But he is more than an operator, a player -- his basic honest nature forged through strong family times also play a part in getting him where he is. His father believed in always having an inventory, and Jerry's inventory is his amazing talent for seeing the possibilities, whether it's an unknown singer he spots singing for nothing to empty tables that he turns into a superstar called John Denver, or an already established star like Elvis that he puts on tour. The book is a pop and political history from the 50's on to today. And he's not through yet.
This book was a page turner .. especially for someone in my age group (and older). Weintraub drops names like crazy ... musicians, actors, politicians and directors. He's 74 now, has a wife who was a music star in her day (they have been married for over 50 years) plus a girlfriend for over twenty years!
He promoted Elvis (was partners with the Colonel and was one of the first people they called when Elvis died), was the driving force behind John Denver, brought Frank Sinatra out of retirement to make him a bigger star than he ever was, promoted both Jimmy Buffet and Bob Seger and Led Zeppelin. When he was tired of the music business he moved on to movies, making all of the Karate Kid movies and the Oceans movies with Clooney, Pitt and Damon (all who are like sons to him now).
The book reads like you are sitting in his living room listening to him telling stories about his life chasing dreams, always moving forward and usually feeling like the luckiest man in the world.
Note to self: Don't take no for an answer. Keep pushing people and DON'T stop until they say yes. Ask when you don't know. Tell the truth. Listen when someone else is talking. Never afraid to look silly. Don't know what isn't sound to you. Don't be afraid to try. Be willing to be lucky. Talk yourself into a career. Interesting is valuable. First one gets served, first. If you're going, no one will stop you. Mr. Disney was intense. have good mentors in your life. Get people that will open the world for you. "I spent all night asking and got turned down over and over again." Believe in yourself even if the world is against you. No matter your age-you never stop looking for teachers.
I have a feeling me and Jerry wouldn't get along very well. Was excited at first, until I realized this book is pretty much a self-glorifying bible about how Jerry Weintraub got super lucky and you didn't. Taught me to try and be a persuasive motherducker like this guy is. Favorite thought: seek luck, don't wait for it to come around.
As soon as you feel comfortable, that's when it's time to start over. Stay until you got what you want, then move on.
The key to Jerry Weintraub's success is building network. A lot depends on who you know and who you can get to.
Everyday for months and months, Jerry kept calling Colonel Tom Parker who had managed Elvis Presley for years. Jerry was just 26 years old, a talent manager, with only a few bucks to his name. Jerry wanted to take Elvis Presley on tour and had a strategy in mind, but Tom kept rejecting him. Tom already had other people lined up who can do the job properly. Jerry was a nobody. So Jerry kept calling until all Tom ever thought about was Jerry so he could never forget it. One morning Jerry gets a call saying "if you could get me $1 million in 24 hours, he's yours." Jerry had people who said would help him back in New York if he ever need a hand. So after making phone call after phone call he finally found someone who could help him. Jerry made his pitch and made the $1 million and took Elvis Presley on tour and became a millionaire. For nearly 2 decades he’d managed Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and John Denver. In the 80’s he then went on to produce “The Karate Kid” and “Oceans” franchise.
Jerry Weintraub's advice for young people: "persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man says no, pretend you can't hear him. The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit. This is more important than intelligence, even connections.
Jerry was never afraid to fail, which meant he was never afraid to try. He was never afraid to look silly, which meant he was never threatened by a new idea.
Jerry Weintraub led a remarkable life and some of his stories are captured in WHEN I STOP TALKING. Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, his parents , Samuel and Rose, built amazing lessons and practical teaching into his life. Samuel built a jewelry business from the ground up and has a selling skill that Jerry learned at an early age.
Starting in Hollywood as a page at NBC in the late 50s or the Golden Age of television, Weintraub learned about the rise and fall of fame. “Do not get attached to the world as it is because something new is coming. Every ten years a big hand comes down and sweeps all the dishes off the table.” Within a year, he traded his blue page coat and began to work in the mail room of the William Morris Agency. It was a grind. He arrived early and stayed late, delivering packages and studying the politics of the place. “Grunt jobs are often the most instructive. They allow you to flow through an organization unnoticed.” Weintraub was only there for two months.
The stories in this book give profound and fascinating lessons for any entrepreneur or small business person about the importance of persistence and networking and using what is in front of you. I loved hearing these stories and the creativity that Weintraub poured into his deal making and business. Here’s another example, Weintraub discusses a period of his life where he was making movies that failed to attract audiences. He learned the movies themselves were not good movies. As he said in the book, “You learn more from failure than success. That’s true.” As he gave one of the great lessons of business: “If you find something you love, keep doing it.”
Subtitled, Unusual stories from a persuasive man, the audio book contains an additional with Weintraub in the final minutes (recorded in 2010). This interview alone is full of great information. He tells the story that if you feel like instantly messaging or emailing or calling someone with something confrontational, Weintraub counsels—“Don’t do it. Wait 24 hours and then if you still feel like it, do it.” Wise counsel from Weintraub is throughout this audio book. I’ve heard a number of celebrity biographies and memoirs—but never heard a book like this one—with more than stories but pointed lessons for every reader about life, entrepreneurship and business. I learned a great deal from these stories and highly recommend this fascinating book.
An entertaining read. Weintraub is ridiculous, but also charming. Everyone is his friend whom he loves like a family member. When I say everyone I mean everyone. The list of people he considers like a brother or father or son goes from John Denver to the Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, from George Bush the elder to Bob Dylan, from Colonel Tom Parker to George Clooney. There is Forest Gump quality to some of this, but Weintraub verifiably had close relationships with all of these people (Clooney wrote the Forward) and presumably at least a healthy percentage of this is true.
Most everyone is portrayed as being wonderful, Weintraub does talk about Bobby Fischer not being particularly lovable, but he also makes clear that the man was truly mentally ill. He professes neither love nor hate for Led Zeppelin, but it's clear he did not adore them, in part because the word "love" is thrown around with wild abandon, and never in regard to anyone in that band. He says negative things about no one except his own children, (nothing super nasty, just oblique references to them having had "troubles) which is a little odd. It would have been easy to have left that out since he leaves out everyone else's skeletons. Weintraub glosses over the fact that he is married (to a woman for whom he professes true love) and has a very long term girlfriend, a successful producer in her own right,(for whom he professes real love.) In all things that went wrong he holds himself largely blameless with some two-bit rationalization. But we all rationalize away a pretty good sized chunk of our lives so I can't get upset about that. All in all he is has some great stories to tell, really wonderful and interesting, and he tells those stories well.
Jerry Weintraub is probably the greatest Hollywood and show business legend that you have never heard of. He's got his hands in every piece of the pie and unabashedly so. In his autobiography, Weintraub details key stories and funny moments throughout his life. We journey through the mean streets of mafia-laden New York City and the forgotten blur of midwestern america.
The book starts very strong, offering incredible business stories and an uncanny business perspective. The writing is decent, but the star of the show are the stories. The stories are absolutely unbelievable. I think the most important lesson to take away from Weintraub's business adventures is that "packaging is everything" as he says. Perception = reality.
Unfortunately the book falters a bit in a few key categories. The biography reads more like an old man telling you stories at a pub than as a full length autobiography. While this is exactly what he set out to do (this was stated in the foreword), the second half of the book seemed to have very disjointed stories that were completely out of order. Furthermore, although this isn't really a business book, it's framed as useful stories, which the second half is completely removed from. The stories are so absurd that it's hard to call them useful at all for any regular guy. Finally, and this isn't really a knock but something to observe, Weintraub's personality is very...strong. He can be a hot head at times and is certainly not always in the right throughout his stories. He doesn't really shy away from this fact at all, even occasionally embracing it. If you hate Tim Ferris, you will hate this guy 100x more.
All in all, I enjoyed this fun and easy read. Great perspectives and great stories all around.
I really liked this book, maybe even loved it. Jerry Weintraub is a fascinating man, who has some fascinating stories, and he knows it. He is a man that could be described as having his hand in everything in Hollywood/showbiz, or his finger on the pulse of it. His stories reveal his insistence on going with his gut and reaping the benefits. Persistence, hard work, persistence, confidence, persistence, integrity, and persistence is what is needed to succeed. Just to get an idea of the breadth of connections he has made throughout his life one only needs to flip to the acknowledgement portion (or should be deemed chapter) of the book nearly accumulating ten pages of names.
The book is a compilation of stories that guide you through the important moments and interesting sidebars of Jerry's life. By the time you are done you will refer to him in first name only, because it's as if he is a long time friend who has been telling his story to you and you alone. He is fascinating, captivating, humorous, and so much more. I also get the sense that he realizes himself how incredible his life has been, what he has seen, what he has accomplished. He seems as humbled as someone could be who has lived his life and succeeded in life as he.
So yes, I liked, maybe even loved, this book. Yes, I recommend this book. Read, laugh, be fascinated, be captivated, be inspired.
This was an interesting and well-written book. I had never actually heard of the author before I read the book, so I was astonished to learn that he was such a Hollywood insider. He worked on Oceans 11 with Brad Pitt, et. al. and the guys liked him so much that when they were given spaces to put their hand prints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater, they actually insisted that he join them and put his hand prints in as well. He was friends with Armand Hammer and actually accompanied him to Brezhnev's funeral. He was also good friends with George Bush, who attended the funeral. Bush couldn't get him an invitation/pass to the funeral, but as it turned out, the invitation from Hammer landed him a front row seat, so he sat in front of all the presidents and statesmen. You have to admire a guy who is so persuasive and hard-working and apparently likable that he worked his way up from nothing to be a big movie producer and friends with stars, statesmen, and world leaders. He has a smooth style and is savvy enough to use humor and admit his mistakes so that he doesn't end up sounding like he is bragging all the time.
NOSAUCE BOOK REVIEW - WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU WILL KNOW I’M DEAD by Jerry Weintraub
So I bought this because Jerry was on Ellen (I am obsessed with Ellen) and his life sounded so interesting. He co-managed Elvis. He managed Frank Sinatra. He managed Led Zepplin. He managed so many actors, celebrities, personalities, it was amazing. He also directed the Oceans movies (11, 12, and 13).
The early years, him growing up, his family, learning the business, starting out and working with these legends was fascinating. Towards the end it sort of dies out. He is married but has a girlfriend and apparently everyone (wife, gf, kids, etc) all seem to be totally okay with this. Things that just sort of bothered me. He is a really good friend of George Bush Senior. Things that I just thought weren’t as interesting as his plans when he was running with the Rat Pack.
I did not know who Jerry Weintraub was, but I read the book for a challenge where I needed a humorous book. Turns out this guy has been an agent, a concert promoter and a movie producer. He had an intuition for what it took to make money in the business. He worked with Elvis, John Denver, and many others and also managed people who were not musicians, such as Joey Bishop, George Burns, Dorothy Hamill, and produced the Oh God movies and the Ocean 11,12, and 13 movies among others. Actually, this is the most name-dropping book I've ever seen, as the last 5 pages of the book list all the people he has ever worked with. In addition he has met presidents and was good friends of George H.W. Bush. Judging by the title, I'll bet you would assume this guy is quite a talker and you would be right. He has many stories to tell and is quite the go-getter. He doesn't take no for an answer. Hope this is not a spoiler, but this guy did pass away about 5 years after he wrote the book.
Weintraub tells his story in a bold,a tad arrogant and un-politically correct voice. When I Stop Talking is an edgy and honest (but refreshingly spare in his criticism of stars, colleagues and family,) memoir of Weintraub's own life swings into the rat pack of the Sinatra days, to the rat pack of the George Cloony-Brad Pitt days, and everyone else he managed or "created" ranging from John Denver to Elvis Presley. What I liked most about this book is Weintraub's flaming entrepreneurial spirit, although he doesn't call himself an entrepreneurial; just a ballsy kid from Brooklyn. This should be a must read for anyone starting their own business or who needs a little pushing in the risk-taking department.
Probably the most entertaining memoir I have ever read. Jerry is not the best writer, but he has a wonderful voice that brought the story alive. I loved all of his stories and each chapter made me either laugh or cry. Jerry's anecdotes were never long or boring - they all had good meat, and all added something to the story of his life. There were even a few key points that I took away from his life that I jotted down as notes to myself. Jerry has gained a lot of wisdom from doing what he does for as long as he has. A person would be foolish not to stop and listen to a couple of his stories and see what the world has taught him. That's what this book felt like, a conversation after dinner with a couple of nightcaps.
By the end of the book, I really, really liked it, but the beginning was a little rough. My problem is in the tone; I heard Mr. Weintraub interviewed on NPR, telling some of the stories, and was immediately engrossed. Reading the book, however, was exactly like reading dictation; this is not a written-word book, it is spoken word translated, and that gives it an odd feel. This is most likely a fantastic audio book, but even though the stories are amazing and his life rich, it does not read well.
I read this book while I was on a hike through the Great Smokey Mountains and something about the juxtaposition of his wild adventures in the urban jungle against my own adventure through the wilderness made this book an even more memorable read. I love Jerry's "I can do anything" attitude and it was a great reminder that good things happen if you never quit. It was like he was there in the room (or the tent) just telling me stories.
This book feels like one of Jerry Weintraub's self-acclaimed "big sell" jobs -- he plants the seeds for a great read, sets up the beginning with a lot of strength, and then figures the job is done, and the book just melts away. Many of the remaining stories don't carry any weight. It's as if the set-up is always his main point, not his actual journey. Weintraub does a decent narration of the audio book.
I loved this book, it's one of the most inspiring books I've read in a long time. This guy is a total hustler, in booth admirable and not-so admirable ways. His stories of perseverance and creativity on the spot are really impressive, but in a lot of ways I don't want to be this guy. Definitely a very fun read though, I think it can inspire anyone to pursue their dreams and create the life they want and hustle and persevere until you get it
So Jerry looks and talks like every man want to look and talk in their 70's. Other than that, he acknowledges his life has been proof that Luck works. He chronicles the many people he knows, while revealing very little about them. All this is the more disappointing b/c Weintraub has known an eclectic and powerful group of folks.