Goodfellas might be the most quotable movie. People love it. And not for nothing. Goodfellas might be the best movie. It’s probably the best crime movie. It is the best mob movie. And — contrary to what you might reasonably assume — it is a profound and positive motivational resource. Or that’s what author Ferris argues in Good Advice From Goodfellas.
The new book is an unlikely, unprecedented, lengthy meditation on the 1990 classic film, which was created by director Martin Scorsese and co-writer Nicholas Pileggi. To begin, this new book recaps Goodfellas’ backstory, creation, reception, and legacy. Then, at length, Ferris dis-sects the rewatchable movie as a motivational manual.
Viewed through Ferris’ eye, the film addresses the same topics in your favorite self-help books, business podcasts, and startup bootcamps.
Good Advice From Goodfellas finds over 130 positive life lessons, teachable moments, actionable takeaways, and business best practices in the seminal film. No airport book about how to succeed in business was ever this fun.
Was Billy Batts out of line when he told Tommy DeVito to get his shinebox? Are shiny shoes a significant optic? What does Henry’s “You’re a funny guy” remark reveal about how to handle a hostile work environment? Is respect a useful metric? What does Tommy really mean by “He’s content to be a jerk”? How does “One dog goes one way...” reflect the utility of mindfulness? Did Spider have it coming?
This one-of-a-kind self-help manifesto recaps the landmark movie beat by beat. Ferris transcribes some of your favorite quotes, finding a valuable takeaway in each one of the mercurial characters’ successes, failures, outbursts, and acts of generosity. If you know what to look for, Ferris argues, Henry Hill is a mentor with lessons about goals, accountability, success, multitasking, stoicism, management, harmony, strategic thinking, customer service, loyalty, moderation, emotional intelligence, virtue signaling, side hustle, bootstrapping, the power of chosen family, and dozens of other topics. Many are timely. All are evergreen.
The book includes dozens of questions for discussion and further thought. In a final exam, Ferris asks readers to conduct a sports-style draft of characters from the movie — and other Scorsese classics.
As far back as he can remember, Ferris liked movies. Long before he wrote a master’s thesis about Quentin Tarantino, HBO and the silver screen kept the Pittsburgh native going through torturous stints in Catholic school, undergraduate college, and 9-to-5 suit life. As a struggling salesman, Ferris discovered motivational literature. It helped him reboot his life and emerge as an award-winning writer, experienced teacher, and organizational leader. Through it all, Ferris held Goodfellas near and dear, always appreciating it from fresh angles, whether he was writing or bartending.
“Henry Hill is an achiever,” says Ferris. “He has goals. He accomplishes them. Yes, he’s in a destructive business, and it ends badly. But we can learn a lot from his successes and failures, whether you’re a dis-ruptive entrepreneur or aspiring artist.”
To Ferris, it’s all the same: “I’m interested in what I call the dynamics of success: they’re universal cycles and challenges we meet in any kind of process that involves building, resistance, and growth. Maybe you’re recording a thrash-metal classic with world-class partners. Maybe you’re bootstrapping your own startup into existence. Maybe you’re a blocked writer, and you’re trying to break out of it — I know how that goes. People in all those situations wrestle with the same question: ‘How do I make something difficult happen?’ Goodfellas has answers.”
Ferris is happy to talk about any of those topics via email, Skype, or whatever you’ve got. Like Paulie Sicero, he hates phones — but he’ll gladly use one for you. He is a frequent podcast guest. As a guest blogger, ghost writer, and speaking coach, he views everything as issues of leadership and communication. He’s downright evangelical about independent media. Twitter was his favorite online outlet, back when social media was enjoyable.
“Good Advice From Goodfellas.” By D.X. Ferris. From 6623 Press. ISBN-10: 099759795XPaperback: 320 pages, 8.5 x 5.5”, $14.99. Kindle eBook $4.99 for a limited time. Available at Amazon.
Awesome cover art by Nicholas Higgins. 145 chapters, 34,000 words. 60 endnotes. Index.
6623 Press is publisher of creator-owned, reasonably priced, useful, unconventional books about popular culture, success, and other cool stuff.
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