I must first admit that I did not know who Elon Musk was. I had seen him on the ‘Secret Lives of the Super Rich‘ TV show. This is why I searched for him on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Elon Musk is South African born with a Canadian background. He is a smart and stubborn individual. Doesn’t particularly like to follow orders. The book describes a situation where he was punished. He secretly left his house during the punishment and walked for 4 hours to attend a party. He taught himself computer programming at the young age of 12. Elon Musk created a game using BASIC and sold it to a computer magazine for $500.
Elon Musk attended UPenn and obtained his undergraduate degree in Physics and Economics. He started his Physics PhD program at Stanford University but left after 2 days to become an entrepreneur. In 1995, His brother Kimbal and Elon would start an internet city guide called Zip2. Compaq would acquire the company for $341 million. This would make Elon Musk $22 million. At that point most people would by a nice home and work out their retirement. Not Elon Musk. In 1999, he poured $10 million into X.com to be a co-founder. The company worked with financial services and e-payments. They would merge with a company that created Paypal. The company was renamed Paypal and sold to Ebay in 2002 for a mere $1.5 billion. This would make Elon Musk $165 million. At this point, I would believe at least 99% of people with this amount of wealth wold consider retirement.
Elon Musk, was hungry to pursue another dream that he had. He believed that we could bring crops with us in a certain form to another planet. He would want to start creating this crop on the other planet, to bring us closer to living outside of Earth. He believed that the current way Space Rockets were created was inefficient. He wanted to change the supply chain integration of creating the rockets to get a better price. He would throw $100 million of his own money into SpaceX.
In 2004, Elon Musk would make a large investment into Tesla Motors. He would be Chairman of the Board and would not be involved in Day-to-Day operations. During the financial Crisis of 2008, he took a CEO role and would become the chief architect. In addition to creating great electric cars, they also sell electric powertrain systems to other major automobile manufacturers.
What sets Elon Musk apart from other wealthy powerhouses is his desire to help society in his actual work. Bill Gates, does it through a separate Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. But Elon Musk is open to people using his Tesla patents in Good Faith to speed up the process of creating electrical vehicles. I don’t believe Bill Gates had ever opened up Microsoft patents in Good Faith. Another venture he is in is SolarCity. This company provides Solar Power. Elon Musk’s main goal is to combat global warming. He is actually working on providing California very cheap options to upgrade their homes to Solar Power to show his concern for global warming.
If you watch ‘Secret Lives of the Super Rich’, Elon Musk does have some expensive toys. But he also has enough money to do the right thing even if it impacts profit negatively. Read Elon Musk: Renaissance Man by Nathanial Oliver if you want a succinct Elon Musk biography.
Richard Branson is the only billionaire that I would want to have a drink with. He is a good mix of wealthy and fun. Which is also where his success comes from. In 1970, he got into record sales by setting up a mail-order system. His first venture was successful in sales. Unfortunately, he obtained low import prices on the records because tax was not charged. He would spent a night in jail and the courts would rule that he owed quite a sum of money to the government. In quite a pickle, his mom would step in. She remortgaged the house to help Richard Branson pay this fine. He would later open up a record store. What differentiated his record stores from others was the experience. He would fill the store with comfortable chairs for people to come in and listen to music. It was a social gathering place. And he always placed the most importance on the customer. He would open up more successful stores. The stores were name Virgin Stores.
By 1972, he took some of his earnings and ventured into creating the Virgin Records recording label. He leased out studio time. Mike Oldfield was their first successful recording artist. Richard Branson’s business was based on making being different from their competitor. He understood that controversy would be good business for the industry that he was in. Richard Branson signed the Sex Pistols when no one else would. In 1982, virgin purchased the gay nightclub Heaven when homosexuality was vexed. He would use the nightclub to promote acts.
In 1992, he would sell Virgin records to EMI. Richard Branson would use the money to start Virgin Atlantic Airways. Similar to previous ventures, customer comfort came first. The airline comes with 3 different flight classes. Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer personal entertainment to all classes. He also made money by entering the media market with Virgin Mobile and selling the company UK Cable.
Richard Branson is a thrill seeker. He tried to break world records in racing his boat across the ocean and speeding in hot air balloons. He owns Necker Island, which he purchased for a mere $180,000 back in 1978. Similar to Elon Musk and Bill Gates, he also has his initiatives that he is willing to put his riches into. He is the founder of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Similar to Elon Musk, he is looking for solutions to global warming.
Richard Branson: The Life and Lessons of Richard Branson is a short, but great biography written by George Ilian. It is free to Kindle Unlimited users and goes for a low price of 99 cents to non-unlimited users.
Stephen Curry, is the son of former NBA player, Dell Curry. His mother, Sonya had met Dell Curry at Virginia Tech. While watching Dell play basketball, Sonya was on the volleyball team herself. Stephen grew up in a strict, devout Christian household. Chores came first. He wasn’t allowed to play basketball unless his chores were done. Curry, went to Charlotte Christian high school. He led his team to three conference finals. Since, he was only 6’0″ tall and 160 lbs, he did not have too many college scouts taking him very seriously. His first choice would have been Virginia Tech, but they only offered him a walk-on role. He would take a scholarship offer from Davidson.
Freshman year, he was the 2nd leading scorer in college basketball behind Kevin Durant. Sophomore year, Stephen Curry led the Davidson Wildcats to the NCAA tournament. They were knocked out by top seeded Kansas. That year (2008) he was named most outstanding player in the midwest region. By Junior year he was the NCAA scoring leader.
Stephen Curry opted out of his Senior Year in college. In 2009, he was drafted 7th overall by the Golden State Warriors. Curry finished the season averaging 17.5 points and came in 2nd for the NBA Rookie of the year award. The following year he got the Golden State record for free throw percentage. He also earned the sportmanship award that season. The 2011-2012 season was a difficult on for Stephen Curry. He suffered a terrible ankle sprain and played only 26 of 66 games in a shortened lockout season. The following year he agreed to a $44 million 4-year contract extension. This would be less money than teammates David Lee and Andre Iguodola. But, he accepted the offer. He wasn’t one for trying to make the most money. That year they would make it to the playoffs, but were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs.
Around this time, Under Armour would give Stephen Curry a $5.5 million endorsement offer. He could have made significantly more by signing on with another company. But Stephen Curry, liked the way Under Armour was all about his needs. Stephen Curry, needed special sneakers to be made to work with his ankle injuries.
Stephen Curry, is a master of the three point shot. He was the youngest to make 1,000 three pointers in the NBA, the youngest to 100 three pointers in playoff games, and made 11 three pointers in one game (record is 12). He is still a devout Christian and writes biblical verses on his sneakers before playing basketball games. In 2011, he married his high school sweetheart Ayesha Curry. They have a young daughter, Riley Curry. At the time of this article they are leading Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2 in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Clayton Geoffreys, is a great writer that loves to write about basketball stars. His books give lots of interesting information and are available for free with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription.
Clayton Geoffreys writes small books about current basketball superstars. Lebron James was raised solely by his mother, Gloria Marie. They struggled with poverty. At times they couldn’t even afford to heat the house. A local football coach had his eyes on on Lebron James. He was scouted to play youth football. This coach would open his home for Lebron James to live in. He would also introduce Lebron James to basetball. They put Lebron James on a youth team that would represent Northeast Ohio. Lebron and 3 close friends on the team would name themselves the ‘Fab Four‘. They collectively decided to go to St. Vincent – St. Mary high school to play basketball. In that neighborhood, black people didn’t typically attend St. Vincent – St. Mary. There was another school nearby that were more accepting of black people. So, the “Fab Four” did stir a little controversy.
The Fab Four would excel in high school basketball under the leadership of Lebron James. Lebron’s game play would fill the bleachers with fans. The games would have to be played at University of Akron to ensure that all fans were able to see Lebron James. Some of these tickets would be selling for $100 each. This team won the Ohio state championship 3 out of the 4 years that Lebron was on the team. Sophomore year was very successful. Lebron James gained a great deal of media attention. He attributes this superior confidence building to not winning the championship Junior Year. He said that junior year, the team wasn’t working as hard. They were just expected to win.
In 2003, Lebron James signed a $90 million contract with Nike. That was before he entered the NBA draft. Lebron James then entered the draft right out of high school. He was selected first overall by his home state’s Cleveland Cavaliers. In his first NBA game ever played he put up 25 points. By 2006, he was averaging over 30 points and have led the Cavaliers to their first playoff appearance in 8 years. In 2007, he had led the team to their first NBA finals. Unfortunately, San Antonio took the title in 4 games that year.
In 2010, Lebron James became a free agent. He would join the Miami Heat that year. He would be joining other fell free agents Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. In the 4 seasons that he spent with Miami he had led them to the Finals each year. The Miami Heat would win the NBA championship in 2012 and 2013. For the 2014-2015 season he comes back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Once again, he brings the team to the NBA finals. The prior season Cavs had 33 wins and 49 losses.
Lebron James may easily be the best basketball player ever. He came from poverty, but managed to accomplish so much through the help of good people from Akron, Ohio. He had been the youngest player to break many records. Moreover, he is a great team player as evidenced by the amount of assists he has. Clayton Geoffreys write many books about basketball stars. His book provides a thorough background, great insight of Lebron’s development, and details about specific games that were important.
Coming soon to FOX is Wayward Pines. Executive Producer M Night Shymalan. This is what caught my attention when I noticed this was an audio book included in Kindle Unlimited. If FOX is going to create a prime time tv show based on the novel, I figured it has to be pretty good.
Spoiler Alert – there may be items in this article that you should not read if you want to wait for the FOX show and not know about the premises of the story.
Ethan wakes up confused. It’s mainly due to waking up to amnesia. He tries to get some facts by going to a coffee house. The cashier is horrified and Ethan is nervous. He starts wondering if he did something wrong that he can’t remember. Ethan soon realizes that one side of his face is completely messed up. He checks into the nearest hospital. The nurse at the hospital works with him to try to help him remember things. All he remembers is Mack. This is because a Mack truck hit him.
Throughout the interaction, Ethan feels strange in Wayward Pines. Something in the town seems off. In his exploits throughout the town he has to deal with a difficult sheriff. He tells the sheriff that he is a federal agent to ward off any questions about his strange behavior. He tries to get information from a bartender, but just ends up pissing her off because he has no money. He tries to hot wire a car to leave the strange town, but is caught in the act. He will also end up fighting strange beasts in this unknown land.
In other scenes in the book, Ethan has flashbacks from his time served in the Gulf War. Also, the book skips to portray his grief stricken wife and son because they have not seen Ethan. His wife has lost hope and is at the point where she just wants to see his dead body for closure.
Dr. Jenkins starts informing Ethan of what’s going on. He is the Wayward Pines psychiatrist. Even though we come to a realization that he is not really a doctor. Wayward Pines, Idaho is the only place left that houses mankind. They are actually living in a time period where humans are almost extinct. To preserve humankind this small area was created. They try to get people to stay because all the other parts of the earth are surrounded by people that tried to kill Ethan.
It’s a very addictive book and I look forward to seeing where Blake Crouch takes us in the 2nd book.
Wonder Boys is about a middle-aged author who had successfully published a book in the past. Recently, he is spending many years writing a book that he can’t complete. Grady Tripp, the main character, is also a college professor. Some of the students he teaches have an easier time writing novels. That is expected, since Tripp has a maturity level lower than most of his students and seems to be addicted to marijuana.
Tripp is having an affair with Sara. She is the school chancellor and her husband happens to be Chairman of Tripp’s department (English) at the school. During a party at the chancellor’s/chairman’s house, Sara informs Tripp that he had gotten her pregnant. The only member of the household that seems to know about the affair besides the people involved is the dog. When the dog attacks Tripp, James Leer shoots the dog dead. Leer is one of Tripp’s suicidal students. Leer is so obsessed with suicides that one of his talents is recalling facts about suicides from different movies.
Tripp’s agent Terry Crabtree comes to town. Crabtree brings with him a transvestite, Miss Antonia. Crabtree is very similar to Tripp. They are both men that act like kids. Crabtree is in town with hopes of making money. He goes through Tripp’s 2,000+ page draft for his novel, but doesn’t like it. He finds more interest in what Leer is able to produce.
While all of this is going on, his wife had dumped him that morning. His in-laws invite him over to Passover dinner. His wife is an Asian women that was adopted by a Jewish family. Chabon’s writing style is random humor. The whole book is quite random.
Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde – on Kindle Unlimited with WhisperSync
This was the next book I found on Amazon Kindle Unlimited with WhisperSync (which means free audio book when you have the Kindle Unlimited subscription). Take Me With You is a coming of age story about someone who gets stuck watching someone else’s sons for the summer.
WARNING: There are some spoilers in this article.
August, is a science teacher who likes to spends his summers taking journey in his RV. Some vehicle troubles bring him to an auto mechanic. He has a Jack Russel Terrier named Woody. The auto mechanic’s two sons Seth (12) and Henry (7) take a liking to Woody. Wes, the auto mechanic, takes this opportunity to coerce August into taking his boys for the summer. It sounds a little strange, but Wes is going to prison, and he doesn’t want to send his boys to an orphanage.
August takes the boys with him on his RV road trip and realizes that the kids have great manners, even though their father is in prison. Henry is really shy and quiet. After some investigating, August realizes that Wes is in prison for multiple DUI violations. This is ironic because August is a recovering alcoholic himself. We learn that August had a son who died in a car accident. The car was driven by August’s ex-wife who also was and still is an alcoholic.
The premises of their RV summer trip is that they are taking Phillip’s (August’s son who passed) ashes to Yellowstone Park. They go hiking and do some rock climbing. Seth accidentally spills Phillip’s ashes over a peak. Seth is devastated, but August tells him that’s what his son would have wanted. He describes his son as a dare devil that would love to go down Niagara Falls. August is making this all up as he doesn’t want Seth to feel bad for spilling the ashes. Through this journey August ends up falling in love with the boys. After the trip is over they agree to stay in touch. August’s Alcoholics Anonymous mentor tells August that staying in contact with the boys is probably a bad idea. The mentor advises August that they have a father and that August should just let them be.
Even though August’s relationship with the boys was distant they still kept in touch. Years later when Seth is in college he reaches out to August over Skype. August is now having physical difficulties due to an ailment. But August is more in a position to say Take Me With You. Seth and Henry surprise August by taking him on an RV trip instead. They blind fold August to surprise him, as Seth drives diagonally cross country to reach Niagara Falls.
Take Me With You is a great read for someone who is looking for a heartfelt book. I look forward to reading other Catherine Ryan Hyde books in the future. If I don’t get a chance to read her Pay it Forward book, I will definitely put it on the Netflix Queue.
In Kimberly Rae Miller’s biographical book she describes what it was like to live with hoarding parents.
Before reading this book I always saw hoarding as an inconvenient way to live as things are constantly in the way and items are regularly disappearing. In Miller’s childhood account she tells a story of living in a flea infested house. Then she goes on to tell us about other serious issues that result because of the hoarding. For example, the family lost use of running water because the house was so cluttered that they couldn’t get a plumber to get into fix pipes. Her father became very defensive when Kim tried to help out by throwing unnecessary stuff away.
Miller’s father was a former veteran who listened to NPR everyday. He had his mental issues and struggled to throw out any paper. Her mother was someone that should have had spinal surgery at a young age, but did not and had become handicapped because of it. Kim’s childhood had given her nightmares about walking through the sludge of the dirty home she lived in.
Kim is frequently called upon to help her family clean the clutter that is their home. She is embarrassed to show her friends her parents home. Eventually she has to ask her friends to help her out with cleaning her parents house. In one part of the book, Kim talks about throwing out 70 construction bags of trash in one day.
This book also addresses Kim’s interests in acting. She starts landing off-Broadway roles. She finds her true calling as a blogger and web show host for a Conde Nast entity.
This is a very well written book. Miller‘s writing style is very witty keeping the reader engaged. The book is very successful on Amazon, as evidenced by all the positive reviews. Her LinkedIn profile is very impressive.
Monica Mayhem had put together this biography to help the reader understand what had driven her to pursue a career in the adult film industry. In her 7 year span as an adult film star Mayhem had roles in approximately 300 films.
Born in Australia, Mayhem was the daughter of an abusive, alcoholic mother. When she was very young her father had moved out of the house. Her mother did not like to work and she did poor job keeping steady jobs. The family was subjected to live on welfare. Any money that was received from Mayhem’s dad for child support was spent by her alcoholic mother.
Mayhem ended skipping class time quite a bit and then got into drugs. She had dropped out of school altogether. She started taking jobs that used her looks to make money. This was appealing to her. Her father had tried to get her into administrative work to get her foot in the door into the corporate world. Eventually, she would get involved in Futures trading. This even led her to a stint at Salomon Smith Barney.
In her head, she always wanted to go back to work that utilized her looks to get attention from others. She got into nude modeling. Her photographer got her connected to a videographer. She realized that she could make much more money doing adult films, than photography and the rest is history.
The next two-thirds of this book goes into her actual career as an adult film star. She gives us a perspective of her peers. Mayhem said most of the female adult film stars are uneducated crackheads. They are extremely dirty and there homes are kept the same way. She writes about the out-of-pocket expenses involved in this industry, which mostly make up looking good and getting tested monthly for STDs.
Mayhem is happy with the path that she has chosen because she loves the attention and enjoys the fornicating part of the job as well. But she gives us insight as to the cutthroat nature of what she does and talks about how many days can be 12 hours of filming which takes its toll on you.
Overall, the book is well written by someone who is intelligent. It’s an interesting topic because I am sure many people wonder what would drive someone into this field and what happened in their lives to get them there.
Doc: A memoir was the next book I decided to listen to on Kindle Unlimited with WhisperSync. I was drawn to this book because I am a big NY Mets fan and I figured it would be an interesting biography due to Doc Gooden’s drug problems.
Becoming a Mets fan in the mid-80s I felt an instant connection to Doc Gooden‘s story. He was the youngest All-Star pitcher in MLB and a member of the last Mets World Series team (unfortunately almost 30 years ago). This biography changed my assumptions/perceptions on quite a few things.
Since Doc Gooden was a major league star with drug problems, I had originally assumed that he may not have had the best parents. After this book I realize that Gooden had exceptional parents. His father was a great guy who seemed to be a great listener, as well as a great teacher. Doc’s father was able to give his son great advice in his succinct messages. His mother was a tough woman and a very loving parent. The challenging parts of his Tampa’s upbringing included his sister getting shot and his drug dealer/pimp cousin.
The books begins with a great story. Something I didn’t specifically remember, as I was only 5 when the Mets won the World Series. When the Mets celebrated with their NYC parade, Doc Gooden was not there. After winning the world series he celebrated near a project development partying with Cocaine. The next day was the day of the parade and Doc was too paranoid from the Cocaine to make it to the parade.
In my youth, I knew that Doc Gooden had a cocaine problem. His biography made me realize the extent of his addiction problem. He always had his drug dealers phone number on his mind. Doc seemed to have serious addictions to alcohol, cocaine, and women.
I would say that everyone believed that Daryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden were like brothers. Based on this biography, Daryl seemed jealous of sharing Mets fame with Gooden, and back stabbed Doc every change he had.
I didn’t realize that Doc Gooden was in Season 5 of Celebrity Rehab. In the book this program seemed to get him back on the right track the most. He still keeps in touch with councilor Bob Forrest. This book is great for Mets fans and has the power to inspire people with addiction problems.