Biographies & Autobiographies
Others Have Paved The Way For You
Anyone who draws out their own substance and commutes it into a product the rest of us can enjoy, or learn from, is someone who deserves our close attention.
They’ve figured out a “trick” that makes life bearable, regardless of circumstances. This is beyond powerful.
Some of the best at this are performers.
I love reading how these people got to be where they are. Comedians, in particular.
They’re excellent at reformatting their pain, then sharing what they learned in a way that makes our own pains more bearable.
They find the good within the bad.
Great artists and actors do the same. And the way they do so moves us deeply.
Then there are those who haven’t created anything art-like, yet have survived the impossible and want to share how they did it.
They like creating hope for those who think they can’t do the same or are wondering if such is even possible.
They are the point people clearing the way for those following behind.
And everyone mentioned above could only do what they did by taking a fresh look at things.
Remember: life’s all about perspective!
Billy Crystal’s life story with a focus on growing old. If you’re too young to have witnessed Billy’s ascension to the halls of comedic godhood, I feel deeply sorry for you. He’s one of the funniest people ever born. But whether young or not so much, I feel everyone would benefit from reading this book. Billy crawls right inside your heart while keeping you screaming with laughter all the while. He shows what fortitude, vision, humility, and love can bring to the life of we who take the biggest chances.
This is a fucking dark read. It’s beyond hilarious. Otherworldly. IF you’re into dark humor. A tale of a comedian who keeps making the wrong choices even as he attempts to repair all the damage he’s caused. It’s sad, outrageous, pathetic and wild all rolled into one. It very much reminded me of myself. At least the younger myself.
Actually an addiction book. But the drug is movies. Patton has steady depression. It’s why he’s so damned funny. He’s also a professional level geek. But when he was younger he was addicted to catching every independent film he could (not to mention whatever was popular), the more obscure the better. It’s a fascinating look at a problem I never knew existed and it has a happy ending.
Allan is terribly brilliant and incredibly gay. His father was not a fan of either. What Alan survived to eventually share his incredible personality with the rest of us is the stuff of nightmares. If you’ve had a hard childhood or need proof that anyone can overcome anything with the right mindset and help, this book is for you. I loved it!
My book, focusing on bipolar, how it came to be, what it did to me and all those around me, how it killed me (literally) and how I eventually overcame it without the use of drugs. Everything in my world up until 2006.
I think I’m in pain over the fact that Illeana is not my next door neighbor. After reading her book, I wanted to become one of her best friends. Her story is beyond unique. The way she tells it kept me enthralled throughout. The famous people who’ve inhabited her world, be they friends, family, coworkers or bosses are a hodgepodge of people I also wish were my next door neighbors. The work she’s done and is still doing is artistically and soulfully powerful and incredibly interesting! Just go get a copy of this book already and enhance your level of joy.
Although I gave it my best shot, I never came close to abusing drugs to the level Nikki did. And I never used heroin. (Considered it once for about 45 seconds but that was it.) It’s stunning that Nikki Sixx is still alive. And, like me, he hasn’t always BEEN alive. He’s checked out a handful of times, only to be brought back by the paramedics. (Having experienced the same, can’t say I endorse trying it.)
This book is an actual journal. It’s long. It’s both devastatingly bleak and brutally entertaining. But it ends well. And if you’re into Metal, or at least Hair Metal, this will probably interest you greatly. Nikki is something else and he’s gone on to become a force for good in the lives of other addicts. Intense read.
First off, Steve Martin actually came to my base in Bahrain during the Gulf War to do a comedy show for us. The Bahraini’s wouldn’t ok his planned material. Too offensive to their religion. And Steve was wholly sick with heat poisoning as well. So he had us all (about 2000 guys) come in close and he just shot the shit with us. It was one of the most hilarious talks I’ve ever heard.
That aside, I’ve never cared for his type of humor or some of his earlier movies. I love what he started making as he got older. And to round it all out, this book explains why his career went like it went. And it’s fascinating! I already respected the man. But this book put a finer point on it.
For the musicians and performance artists: Amanda’s story. She was a “statue” performer, standing perfectly still in costume for various reasons. But she’s also a musician. And she suffered much hardship in pursuit of taking her musical career pro. She didn’t like to ask for help much. And she didn’t think anyone would respond if she did. This book is her story about how the opposite was true. She even gave a Ted Talk on the topic, which I found powerful and entertaining. Just more perspective on one way to get the Big Work done.
Movie makers!!! Another grimly dark (at times) and outrageously hilarious life story! I was screaming with laughter quite a bit as I read Barry’s book. I heard Barry get interviewed by Marc Maron on the WTF podcast. LOVED the interview! Book was pitched. Had to get a copy…immediately!
Years ago, I was inside the film industry in a way I could not possibly see coming. I wasn’t able to turn it into a permanent state of being. But I wanted to. And still fervently do. This book re-inspired that dream in me!
A few lessons in one here: Many years ago, I was hiking deep in the woods. This was not long after I’d initially overcome bipolar. I wasn’t quite ready for actual people yet. But one arrived, way out in the woods. A lady walking a dog. I knew I could easily scare people with my presence, so I went to great lengths to relax her assumed opinion of me.
Turned out, she was someone “different” as well, and was unaffected by my energies.
We ended up hiking together the rest of the day. Became hiking partners for a few years after that. And she actually proofread the first version of my book before I published.
Years later, she discovered Dharma Punx, which is about a punk rocker who went Zen, while somehow retaining his punkness. It reminded her of me and she suggested I read it. It’s a great story of this man’s journey to personal peace without discarding the rough edges of himself that he still enjoyed. He went on to create an organization that helps addicts from that perspective.
I’m that too. But with high functioning bipolar people. What might you become and still stay “you”?
Arnold got me into weight lifting, along with 4 bazillion other people, back in the early eighties. Probably when Conan came out or a little earlier.
I’ve been a devout fan my entire adult life and most of my teens. That’s about 40 years at this point. Why?
Because, regardless of all obstacles, Arnold wins at everything he attempts to achieve!
As I got older, I became more fascinated with how his mind worked. “How does Arnold pull all this off?”
If you only know Arnold from politics or some other thing he dopes that you disagree with, just remember: Arnold has built many institutions and entities that allow millions of us to do some thing or another in a way that was impossible before he arrived.
I admire his indomitable will. I admire his astounding ability to play the long game in the way that he does. And I admire his enduring spirit.