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6 Books That Helped Shape Michael Jackson

The love for reading

By Gal MuxPublished 2 years ago 7 min read
6 Books That Helped Shape Michael Jackson
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

“I love to read. I wish I could advise more people to read. There’s a whole new world in books. If you can’t afford to travel, you travel mentally through reading. You can see anything and go any place you want to in reading.” Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was not just a breathtaking entertainer, he was not just the most famous man to have ever lived, he was not just a wealthy, globally loved and adored talented superstar, he was also an avid reader.

Part of his training that allowed him to gain knowledge, power, influence and wealth and to rise above everyone else in his life, involved reading.

In his home Neverland, he had a library full of 10,000 books on various subjects which he read constantly. This habit contributed to his great wealth of knowledge on various subjects. It is this vast knowledge that must have consciously or subconsciously contributed to and was manifested in his great work.

He would visit book stores and leave with hundreds of books at a go. Jackson would also constantly read books to his children. Some videos of these readings are available online.

Jackson was well known for recommending books to his friends and associates. Kobe Bryant, Nephews Taj, TJ and Taryll Jackson and friend and associate Frank Cascio shared that Jackson introduced some books and the love of reading by extension to them.

Jackson’s love for books is well told in this excerpt from Frank Cascio’s book My Friend Michael.

Michael’s nephews were also really into books, and in this respect they were a further inspiration to me to read. At the bookstore, Michael would say, “Get whatever you want. It’s an investment."

So we’d all buy a bunch of books, then head back to Trump, where every boy would find a place to sprawl out with his books and pens and notebooks. We called this our “training.” We would say to one another, “Time to train,” find a comfortable spot, and read for hours at a time.

Michael told us to cherish our books. He got us into the habit of kissing every corner of a new book, as he did. When he read something incredible, he’d start clapping his hands, laughing, and kissing the book.

“What did you read?” we would all start asking. “What did you learn?”

“Don’t worry,” he’d say. “Just know it’s over. You all better watch out. I’m going to take over the world.” We’d try to grab the book out of his hands, but he’d hold it out of our reach, teasing, “No, no. You don’t get to read this yet.”

A lot of us wonder what it took to be Michael Jackson exactly. How could a poor boy from Gary Indiana rise up to be one of the greatest men to have ever lived? How did he gain so much power and influence? And how could any one ever attempt to be anything like him?

One way could be through reading the books that he read in the hope of finding the inspiration that Jackson did from them. Here are some 6 books that were core in Michal Jackson’s life.

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach

Jackson was said to have read this book several times. He also gave copies of it as presents to friends and associates to mentor and to encourage them in their lives and endeavours. Kobe Bryant shared that Jackson gave him a copy of the book.

Friend, associate and mentee Frank Cascio shared in his book My Friend Michael about Jackson’s love for this book.

One of the books Michael told me to read on that trip was Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Jonathan, out of all the seagulls, saw that there was more to life than just being a seagull—more than what was right in front of him. Michael wanted to live that way—to fly beyond all expectations, to live an extraordinary life. He instilled that ambition in me, often asking me, “Do you want to be Jonathan or one of the other birds?”

In a copy that he gave to a friend, Jackson annotates on the back cover,

“ True greatness is not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept were up toiling in the night.”

The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Green

This bestseller has sold 1.2 million copies worldwide and is popular among prominent personalities such as Hollywood stars and global world leaders.

A Michael Jackson annotated copy of the book was sold in auction for $15000. (A normal copy of the book is $10)

It is not clear when Michael Jackson read the book, but reading the book gives some insights into some of his career choices such as the military uniforms, rarely giving interviews and his limited public appearances among others.

The annotations in his handwriting on the edges of the book deserve a book of their own. I wish the owner of the copy that was sold in the auction could show all the other annotations as they give some insights into the workings of Jackson’s brain and his interpretations of the information in the book.

Some read :

No more talking. Silence is more powerful

The moon comes every night so people don't care to look to the heavens

Deer are special because they hide if they walked the streets like dogs no one would care

Even though the book is popular for its Machiavellian approaches and strategies, it is interesting to note that Jackson didn’t use its approaches to trump over others for personal gain. He gave the takeaway points from the book a twist and turned them into something positive. In his own way, the power he gained was to spread love and to inspire others globally.

The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Jackson who was a huge believer in the power of the mind read and recommended this book to associates. Particularly to Frank Cascio who had disclosed that he was dyslexic and did not like to read. He shares that after Jackson recommended this book, he read it and changed his mind about the subject of reading.

“We can fly, you know. We just don’t know how to think the right thoughts and levitate ourselves off the ground.” Michael Jackson

In the book among other things, the writer posits that letting positive thoughts in a person’s mind can change one’s outlook on life.

The book written in 1952, has been a bestseller selling up to 5 million copies worldwide.

The Law of Success Napoleon Hill

This book was written after the author had interviewed the great revolutionaries of the time that included Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller and Thomas Edison.

Nephew Taj Jackson in a YouTube video shared that Jackson loved this book and had several copies of it. He also shared several copies of it with friends and mentees and encouraged them to read it. Taj in the same YouTube video also showed his personally autographed copy of the book that he received from his uncle.

The Bible

Bodyguard Bill Whitfield has shared on numerous occasions in interviews that during the final years of Jackson’s life in which he was at his service, Jackson could constantly be seen reading the Bible.

As a Christian who had previously been a staunch Jehovah’s Witness, Jackson was a believer in God and a follower of the Bible’s teachings.

One of the people he attempted to emulate in his life was Jesus quoting him on several occasions especially about humility and about emulating the humble nature of children.

The Autobiography of P. T Barnum

According to biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, in the early ’80s, Jackson gave copies of this book to both his lawyer and manager and told them, “Make this your Bible. I want my life to be the greatest show on earth.”

Jackson did not disappoint!

Eleven years after his death, his name still makes headlines and his content still makes millions. In 2019 Forbes listed him as the highest-earning dead celebrity outearning even the most popular living celebrities. He had also been topping this list for the previous years in a row.

P.T Barnum had risen to be among the wealthiest Americans in the late 1800s. His business savvy and his marketing strategies are emulated even today. And a touch of P.T Barnum is evident in Jackson’s work. His use of grand marketing strategies like floating a grand statue of himself in London’s River Thames to promote his HIStory World Tour is straight from the P.T Barnum’s playbook where Barnum had an elephant mow his lawn to attract an audience for his Museum of curiosities.

Jackson was a marketing genius. An assertion that has been said on many occasions by his long time lawyer whom he worked since the early ’80s. The same lawyer who he gave a copy of P.T Barnum’s book to.

I did attempt to read this book in order to understand Jackson’s fascination with it. The book was fascinating containing the most eye-opening stories but the 1800s language and grammar made it a slow read. As the book is now in the public domain since the expiring of its licence, it can be easily accessible and is available online for free

book review

About the Creator

Gal Mux

Lover of all things reading & writing, 🥭 &

🍍salsas, 🍓 & vanilla ice cream, MJ & Beyoncé.

Nothing you learn is ever wasted - Berry Gordy

So learn everything you can.

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