Undisputed Truth – Mike Tyson – Scribd

Mike Tyson
Undisputed Truth – Mike Tyson

Undisputed Truth is Mike Tyson’s biography which is now available for free on Scribd as an audio book.  Mike Tyson originally grew up in Bedford Stuyvesant.  It’s a well known part of Brooklyn, NY.  His mother didn’t like to hold steady jobs.  It was difficult for her to keep a steady relationship as well.  She looked for relationships only to find a source of income for her kids.  Tyson’s family couldn’t find enough money to stay in Bedford Stuyvesant.  They would move to Brownsville, NY. Bedford Stuyvesant isn’t the best area in Brooklyn.  Notorius BIG raps about it.  However, compared to Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant is a country club.  I was fortunate enough to work in Brownsville for a little while and it is a really scary place.

Mike Tyson, learned to fight from an early age.  He had to defend himself from the constant bullying.  He lived in a violent neighborhood, was overweight growing up, and had that distinctive funny voice. Tyson made friends with hooligans in the neighborhoods.  They taught him about pigeons.  In that neck of the woods, it’s a gang hobby to be able to control and catch pigeons.  A bunch of people release their pigeons together and the plan is to catch other people’s pigeons.  This is why you hear Mike Tyson talking about his love of pigeons.  Spending so much time with the birds, he learned quite a bit about them.  These kids would teach Mike Tyson how to rob.  Since he was young, he would usually sneak into the windows and open doors for his partners in crime.  His life of crime caught up to him and he was sent to  juvenile detention center.  He would stay at that center for some time. At the juvenille detention center.  Bobby Stewart discovered Mike Tyson’s boxing skills at the center.  He would introduce Mike Tyson to Cus D’Amato.  Tyson would describe Cus as more than a boxing educator.  He was more of a father figure to Mike Tyson.  Cus had opened up his home to Tyson.  Mike loved Cus, but he also talked about Cus’ dark side.  Cus didn’t take crap from anyone and forced Mike Tyson to do the same. As everyone knows, Mike Tyson would become the heavyweight champion of the world.  He would beat his competition in great fashion.  He would perform knockouts in the first round.

Throughout the book, Mike Tyson is very in-tune psychologically.  He has been on psychiatric medication from a young age.  He describes everything with a perspective of how it made him feel mentally.  From the great boxing performance, to the women, to the drug use everything is described psychologically.

Mike Tyson’s two big downfalls were the women and the drugs.  In this book he makes himself out to be a sex addict.  I read an audio book about an adult film star and Mike Tyson’s book seems to have more sexual relations in his book.  He travels the world and hangs out with very rich individuals (which is definitely factual based on his stardom at the time).  He also, goes back to Brownsville to hang out.  In both scenarios, he is constantly chasing girls.  Even when he gets locked up he manages to fornicate with another inmates girlfriend.  When that comes to an end he manages to create a sexual agreement with a penitentiary officer.  Many of the women he slept with would take advantage of him financially.  He would by many women expensive gifts that included luxury cars, jewelry, and expensive fur coats.  Many one night stands concluded with a female suing him for rape.  Based on the facts that were given in court, it’s safe to say that Mike Tyson didn’t rape these women.  However, many of them managed to get some sort of payout after a court ruling. Mike Tyson wasn’t a recreational user of drugs, he was addicted to them.  If you lookup Mike Tyson YouTube videos or Mike Tyson quotes, there are some funny items.  Most of these great comments were fueled by a liberal use of Marijuana.  He would talk about getting very high before interviews and press conferences.  This led to him saying things that just didn’t make much sense.  Mike Tyson also liked to use cocaine.  But once again not recreational use.  He would talk about getting pulled over by police for driving erratically because he was high.  When he got pulled over he would be carrying a brick of the white stuff.  But he managed to sweet talk his way out of a cop searching his vehicle. This book concludes with Mike Tyson going in and out of rehab.  He chronicles his struggles to stay clean.  He managed to sort of successfully finish a program, but then went out in Vegas and had another drug fueled evening.  I believe at the end of his book, he is clean for 6 months. This is one of the most interesting books I have ever read.  The stories told are great, but to me it’s Mike Tyson’s connection to his personal feelings and emotions that he shares throughout the book.  He is constantly referring to himself as a failure.  He was the heavyweight champion of the world, an actor, and now a great writer.  A failure he is not.  Please, read this book if you get the opportunity, you won’t regret it.

Becoming Steve Jobs – Scribd Audio Book

steve jobs - Apple - iPhone
steve jobs – Apple – iPhone

 

In this audio book memoir, Brent Schlender gives us an account of the person Steve Jobs was.  Schlender was a long time journalist who focused on technology.  He interviewed Steve Jobs many times.  The first time Schlender interviewed Steve Jobs, he felt like he was being interviewed.  Steve Jobs was a very confident individual that asked others many questions.  Additionally, he liked to tell people what they should do in their personal matters.

Steve Jobs was born in 1955.  He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs.  When interviewed he said it never bothered him that he was adopted.  Steve Jobs was a brilliant student.  The school had recommended that he skips two grades based on exam scores.  His parents agreed to let him skip one grade.  In high school he met Steve Wozniak.  Wozniak liked to build computer circuits.  Jobs would attend Reed college after high school.  He would drop out after a semester, but kept attending classes here and there.  Steve told Schlender that he wasn’t certain what he wanted to do.  Reed college was not cheap and he didn’t want his parents wasting money on college tuition.

Steve Jobs would get one of his first jobs at Atari.  He showed them a board that Wozniak created and Atari hired Steve.  Atari thought Steve created the board.  Steve succeeded at Atari.  He worked on special projects for Nolan Bushnell, to earn enough money to take a spiritual enlightenment trip to India.  After the trip to India, Steve Jobs got into meditation and psychedelic drugs.  During interviews he spoke about the use of LSD in opening up his creative side.  I am not advising the illegal use of psychedlic drugs.  I am repeating what Steve Jobs thought about them.

Bushnell offered Steve Jobs $700 to help him make circuit boards for a new Atari game.  Jobs had to reach out to Wozniak for help and offered to go 50/50 with him ($350).  Bushnell was so pleased with the work that he gave Steve Jobs an additional $5K.  Jobs still only gave Wozniak $350.  This financial inequality was the way of Steve Jobs and would follow him for the rest of his career.

The Apple I was built in Jobs garage by Wozniak.  It was Steve Jobs that was working on selling the product.  They were able to produce more systems because they were funded by an Intel employee.  They achieved greater success when they unveiled the Apple II, also created by Wozniak, except for the unique case the system was in.  To grow the company further, Jobs recruited John Sculley from Pepsi to serve as CEO.  Steve Jobs was a difficult person to work with.  Two years after Scully became CEO, Scully and the board decided to remove Steve Jobs from the company that he started.  Steve Jobs was devastated and looked for a way to come back.

In 1985, Steve Jobs founded NeXT computer.  His expenses in the new venture were through the roof, as he was trying to depict perfection.  Perfection from the building that they worked in to the computer itself.  The original $7 million invested in the new venture was depleted quickly.  Ross Perot stepped in to bail Steve Jobs out.  NeXT achieved success when the company fully transitioned into Software development.  They released WebObjects.

In 1986, Steve Jobs bought a company which he later renamed Pixar.  In the mid-90s Pixar studios was utilizing a new graphics technology that would allow the use of cartoon rendering mixed with realistic depictions.  In partnership with Disney, Pixar released some great movies that made the company a significant amount of money.  The first two enormous hits were Toy Story (1995) and A Bug’s Life (1998).

In 1997, Apple purchased NeXT.  In the deal, Steve Jobs once again was an employee of Apple.  Shortly thereafter, he got his CEO position back.

In the late 90s, Shawn Fanning had achieved great popularity by introducing us to Napster.  It was peer-to-peer software that allowed users to download music from other users.  Steve Jobs did not like the idea that people were restricted to their computers to listen to MP3s.  Technically, at the time it was possible to store MP3s on a CD and listen to a portable CD player.  But Steve Jobs had a revolutionary idea in mind.  He learned that a technology came out that could store 2GBs on a mere 2 inches.  In 2001, this led him to the creation of the iPod.  It was a device that used the small hard drive to create a small portable mp3 player.  It had a single track wheel that could be used to browse through the stored songs.  It was marketed so well, that everyone had to have it.  Steve Jobs utilized WebObjects to create the iTunes store.  He revolutionized the sale of MP3s.  Previously, people bought a CD for about $15 which may have had give or take 15 tracks.  He worked out deals with record labels that would allow people to buy only the track they wanted at 99 cents.

The later iPod models had the ability to look at photos and watch videos.  Steve Jobs wanted 1) for people to have the ability to purchase items in the iTunes store directly on their device and 2) to have access to the internet at all times to connect to photos and videos.  In 2004, the creation of the iPhone had begun.  They stalled on the project a bit because Steve Jobs wanted the technology to be out there for the phone to work the way he wanted.  In 2007, Apple had an exclusive agreement with AT&T to sell the iPhone.  With that exclusive agreement Steve Jobs managed to get many financial benefits.  A nice percentage of sales, part of all new contract agreements, only Apple can set the price on the phone, etc.

In 2004, Steve Jobs had successful treatment for his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.  Unfortunately, it would come back and he would succumb to it on October 5th, 2011.  The book shows Steve Jobs as an interesting character that may be hard to deal with, but a creative genius.  He found a great company.  When ousted he founded the best animation studio Hollywood has.  Then he found a computer company which was failing.  Then he turned that around to a successful software company that built the software to create iTunes.  He revolutionized the way we listen to and buy music.  Then, he went ahead and revolutionized the way we use our cell phones.  At one point Apple’s computers weren’t really selling.  Steve Jobs changed the look , utilized a linux based operating system, and now Apple systems are used by most creative thinkers.  He definitely didn’t do everything himself.  But he was creative and knew how to spot it in others.  He always expected and returned perfection in his products.  This book was far more in-depth than any Steve Jobs based movie or special that I have seen.

Disney War – James Stewart – Scribd – Audiobook

Disney War
Disney War – James Stewart

 

In this depiction of Disney, James Stewart gives us an insider’s guide to the management of the company.  In 1984, Roy Disney (Walt’s nephew) brought in Michael Eisner to help revive the Walt Disney brand.  In the beginning, Eisner is depicted as a humble individual who is very thankful for the opportunity that Roy Disney has given him.  He tells Roy that at any time he doesn’t think that Eisner himself is doing a good job, Eisner will leave.

That would be the last time in this book that Eisner appeared humble.  His 1984 salary was negotiated at $750,000, plus an additional $750,000 as a sign-on bonus, and options on 2 million Disney shares.  Ironically, Eisner was very frugal with business decisions.  Perhaps, he needed to make sure Disney had plenty of cash available to pay his salary.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit was using new technology mixing cartoons and humans.  Robert Zemeckis led the budget of the film.  However, Michael Eisner was trying to cut expenses as much as possible during the filming.  Fortunately, the movie was a huge success.

Jeffrey Katzenberg was Michael Eisner’s right hand man.  He was brilliant and did things when told.  Katzenberg believed he would eventually succeed Frank Wells as the President of the company.  In 1994, Frank Wells died in a helicopter accident.  Eisner did not appoint Katzenberg to the position of President.  Katzenberg left Disney and started Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.  Michael Eisner hired his friend, Michael Ovitz for this role.  The book goes into detail about how they went on ski trips together, spent the holidays together.  14 months later Ovitz would be forced out of the company.  Ovitz was very angry with the way Eisner had backstabbed him.  But Ovitz also managed to leave the company with a $38 million severance payout and stock options worth $100 million at the time.

Disney had acquired ABC television.  They had caught great success when they created ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’.  The show’s popularity had a good run.  A few years later, a new writer from Las Vegas had pitched the show CSI to ABC.  Michael Eisner did not want to pick it up.  Eventually, CBS would acquire CSI.  Unfortunately, CSI ran the same prime time slot as ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and CSI would get the better ratings.  In early 2005, Roy Disney had successfully went after Michael Eisner to get him to leave his position.

This book shows us the greed that goes on in the board room of America’s most well known children’s entertainment brand.  I found it interesting that the theme parks themselves were hardly mentioned.  The only mention was the failure of Euro Disney under Michael Eisner.  It looks like Disney’s production studio is much more important to the success the company.  In this book Michael Eisner definitely plays the villain.  But he also was the CEO of the company for over 20 years and that was during the time that Disney had achieved success.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose your own Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris - NPH
Neil Patrick Harris with Family

Once again, a Scribd Audio Book.  Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant.  He talks about his life as an actor.  He speaks in the third person, as he talks to himself about himself.  This book is literally at least 90% about him being an actor.

He starts the book out about talking about giving a great monologue in a school play.  His confidence boosting monologue is what he attributes to the great lesson leading to his career.  His first big break as Doogie Howser, MD was actually by luck.  It was his agent’s assistant’s boyfriend or something similar that landed him the interview.  I say the interview and not the gig because Neil Patrick Harris earned that role.  If you watched the show you would surely agree.

Neil Patrick Harris began the show at the age of 16 and it lasted until he was 20.  He talks about episodes where he had to play the doctor that delivered the baby.  After the show had come to a conclusion, NPH did not have any great gigs lined up.  He did what most actors did in their 20s.  Neil Patrick Harris hit the Hollywood club scene.  The Roxy and Viper Room at least one night of the week.  In this book he confirmed that Shannen Doherty was a handful and loved getting into fights.  In past business relationships that he made, he was able to get spots on TV shows and made for TV movies.

In 2004, he caught a big break by playing himself on the blockbuster movie, ‘Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle’.  However, himself in this movie, was depicted as a drug user who was desperately in search of a strip club.  In a great scene he is snorting cocaine off a strippers behind, while traveling on top of a stolen vehicle.  He would find great fortune in 2005, by playing the role of Barney Stinson in ‘How I Met Your Mother’.  2006, was the most important year in NPH’s life, he had come out of the closet.  He spends a good part of this book discussing how he had hooked up with girls, but found real attraction to certain males on sets that he was on.  Earlier in life, he had told his mother about his homosexuality.  Her response was that he may not be sure of his sexuality yet, but if he was gay his mother would still love him.  NPH talks about how supportive both of his parents were.

In 2004, he began seeing David Burtka.  In 2010, they had twins through a surrogate mother.  In 2011, NPH opened the Tony Awards with a controversial, comical gay song.  Their were certain lyrics he was asked not to use, but decided to use them on live television.  Some of the producers weren’t to pleased.  However, NPH managed to host the 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Tony Awards.

Great actor, Great book.