Overview: When I started reading this book I didn’t realize that Jerry Weintraub passed away in July of 2015. I found out shortly after I got into it, but for whatever reason it made it seem a little more important to be reading it. This book is basically the autobiography of Weintraub’s life, and holy shit, what a life it seems to have been. He worked with some of the biggest Hollywood celebrities, in both the music and film industries. Early on he worked with Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Neil Diamond. Later he produced his own films, the Ocean’s series and The Karate Kid being the most notable. Reading about the journey Weintraub took through his career was extremely inspiring. He was a creative man who went to great lengths to make his ideas a reality. To me he seems to be a prime example of someone who had the skills and confidence to see his ideas through to fruition.
I recommend this to anyone. Jerry had a story worth telling, and his story provided an almost nonstop feeling of motivation as I read it.
Lessons: You can have control over your life and your career. There are things that may make it more difficult and obstacles will get in the way, but really with the right mindset and determination, we can take a hold of things and make even our wildest dreams come true.
Important Passages (Per Sean):
Now, at seventy-two, 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.”
You might have the greatest talent in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t sell it.
People will pay you to make their lives easier; always take the time to make the pitch; personal service is the name of the game; never get paid once for doing something twice.
There are all kinds of ways to deal with an adversary: fists, words, taunts, compromise, submission, complaint, and courts-martial.
This much I knew: As soon as you feel comfortable, that’s when it’s time to start over.
If you knew how time works, you would never do anything.
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.
It taught me about the rise and fall of empires, the fickle nature of fame. The point is, do not get attached to the world as it is, because the world is changing, something new is coming, every ten years a big hand comes down and sweeps the dishes off the table.
When the game changes, you have to change with it. The more you change, the more you risk in order to survive— and it gets harder and scarier as you get older.
It was exhilarating —not quitting Lew, because I loved Lew, but taking control of my life and my career, choosing, saying, “I want to do this, not that.” That’s freedom— that’s all it really is.
I don’t call it a mistake, because our son Michael, who is wonderful, my best friend in the world, came out of that marriage.
As I’ve said, my life has been a succession of mentors, but first among these, the person most responsible for making my career, was Jane Morgan.
A lot depends on who you know, who you can get to. If you have people who will open the door for you, literally and figuratively, you can make a pitch. It’s in your hands from there.
And, as I explained, nothing is more important than a relationship . It trumps politics, party, club. People are what matter.
Life is strange— you travel so far, do so much, but the people you look for at the end are often the same people you looked for at the beginning.
If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people, to kids trying to break out of Brooklyn and Kankakee, it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man says no, pretend you can’t hear him.
I would never sell an idea like this on the phone. It’s still that way. I need to sit with a person, to watch him, read his eyes and hands, see if he is just as excited as I am, if I’m coming across.
There’s something to be learned from this story. It shows how, even if you have the greatest script in the world, it won’t work if the actors don’t play their parts.
There is a lesson in this: Let the other guy save face with his people, but keep score.
This is another part of the job: being able to cross frontiers, move from culture to culture, making everyone believe you are a fully committed citizen of each.
He began to acquire things, which is how an ordinary man becomes a titan.
I’m not saying you should fake a heart attack every time, only in a pinch.
It was as if the president had died. The streets were lined with people, black people and white people and children and babies. In a crazy way, it was very much the ideal of America, what our country should be about.
The experience taught an important lesson: Work with the best people. If you have the best writers, the best actors, and the best director and fail, okay , fine, there is even something noble in it; but if you fail with garbage, then you are left with nothing to hang your spirits on. Besides, life is too short to be spent in the company of morons.
In the end, though, I think your outlook has less to do with money than with the values your parents exhibit and your own nature. In this, I’ve been neither perfect nor blameless. I love my children and I think I have been a good father, but there were times when I chose my career over the life of the house. Was I there for every recital, or play, or concert? No, I was working. It’s nearly impossible to succeed in the world and also succeed in the house , which means, at some level, even if you do not realize it, you make a choice. This is a regret . I wish I had been there more, had done better, had given my children as much as my parents gave me. I did not. I was always divided, being pulled away, on the phone, and so forth. But maybe you do best by being true to your nature. Whatever my children have lost to my work habits, they have made back in the privileges afforded them by my success . I could not give them what my parents gave me, so I gave them the world instead.
You have to be willing to walk away from the most comfortable perch, precisely because it is the most comfortable.
As long as you’re here, you might as well smile.
I don’t care if you get flattened a thousand times. As long as you get up that thousand-and-first time, you win.
Nowadays, with the medicine and the longevity we have, when you marry somebody , you are in it for a very, very long time. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not for me, anyway.
We are all walking on a wire. The key is to behave as if you will live forever.
Most important, I was never afraid to fail, which meant I was never afraid to try. I was never afraid to look silly, which meant I was never threatened by a new idea. I see the road ahead, too, a stretch that bends into the undergrowth. I do not know what will happen there, but I do know, whatever it is, I will rush to meet it with joy. This is, after all, a Jerry Weintraub Production.