I just finished the heartwarming and inspiring book When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub and Rich Cohen. I heard about it from Ryan Holiday's reading newsletter.
This was almost my second book in a row about the entertainment business and true hustlers in that realm (the one I finished earlier this month was A Curious Mind by Brian Glazer). And both harken back in my mind to The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans, which I read in 2013. And just last week I watched Supermensch, about Shep Gordon, which my friend recommended to me and which I loved. So much can be learned about life from the crazy lives all these guys have lived!
I really, really liked this book by Weintraub. It was co-written with Rich Cohen, who wrote The Fish That Ate the Whale, which I really enjoyed reading last year. It was a combination of street-smart lessons, advice for business and personal life, and lots of hilarious anecdotes about crazy times with some of the most famous people ever (Elvis, Sinatra, etc.).
I was very sad to hear that only a couple months ago Jerry passed away. This book is truly a gift that he has left us. Below are some of my biggest takeaways from its many wonderful stories.
A close friend recently told me to read A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Hollywood producer Brian Glazer. It was a quick, light read, and I enjoyed its collection of stories and observations about curiosity.
Brian is right that little is taught or researched about this important power we all have. It was neat to see how one person's life was pretty much defined by this behavior and how he used "curiosity conversations" throughout his life to learn about others and seek inspiration from outside his field. It reminded me a lot of Tim Ferriss's podcast interviews and the Half Half Man Book Club.
Below were some of my notes on the book and biggest takeaways. I liked how honest and straightforward the writing was, and it was neat to take a deep dive into the mind behind movies like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.
Curiosity helped him become movie producer and tell stories
Sit down and have curiosity conversations with people in different fields
1 no cure for curiosity
Not embarrassed to ask questions
People like to talk, especially about themselves, and all you need is a simple pretext to talk to them
Curiosity as way of uncovering ideas
Did cold calls asking for 5 minutes with high level people; wrote intro, not looking for job, have specific question
Had to meet new person daily
At least one every 2 weeks
Spend time with people outside your industry
Ask questions to find stories
2: thinking like other people
Ideas as currency
3: curiosity insight
4: curiosity as superpower
Make the hardest call of the day first
5: every conversation is a curiosity conversation
Ask questions instead of giving instructions
6: good taste and anticuriosity
When settled mind on project u want, stop getting more criticism and feedback when someone says no
Need to develop some invulnerability
7 golden age of curiosity
A good friend recommended I check out the best Hollywood storyteller recount his life and the true grit of old Hollywood in The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans. It really was an awesome story, and it was a delicious experience to hear the author read his own book in the audio version -- complete with profanities and all.
I found the author's sense of individualism and never forfeiting his own opinions to be a great example to follow. He recounted a lot of what made him successful, and he also humbly admitted all the ways he really screwed up; I enjoyed hearing both sides of the story. I liked the many little aphorisms shared in the book, such as around the art of negotiation, dealing with the ladies, prioritizing family and health, and how to have a good time in life overall.
Below are some of the more funny or thought-provoking points that I took away from the book.