5 Books Jay-Z Thinks You Should Read

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Rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, business owner, record executive—Jay-Z has mastered many roles and industries. The Brooklyn-born musician is tied with Kanye West as the rapper with the most GRAMMY wins in history, Jay became the winner of the NAACP Image President’s Award in 2019 and he has been recognized by Forbes as hip-hop’s first billionaire. With so much talent and drive, we were curious to get our hands on the highly-acclaimed artist’s reading list.

Here’s what we found:

'The Seat of the Soul' by Gary Zukav

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In an interview with Oprah Magazine, Jay-Z coined The Seat of the Soul as one of the two books that he lives his life by. The guide explores karma, temptation, and how it can take a lifetime to master. “I believe in karma and doing the right thing even if it may not advance you as far as you want. If every single person felt the same way about karma and intention, then the world gets fixed tomorrow,” Jay told Oprah of the book. Written by New York Times mega-bestselling author Gary Zukav and his spiritual partner Linda Francis, The Seat of the Soul is a perfect read for anyone looking to conquer a new emotional awareness and intelligence.

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'Purple Cow' by Seth Godin


Purple Cow is a cult classic responsible for major influence in the world of marketing. In this guide, author Seth Godin labels businesses as either remarkable or invisible and encourages readers to reconsider what their marketing tactics say about their product. It comes as no surprise that Jay-Z is a huge fan of this book, given that he passed on being the face of Rocawear back when he first launched the clothing brand. As he told Oprah Magazine, “I cared more about the quality than the face in front,” the same message Godin wants readers to use to transform their business through the help of his guide.

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'The Celestine Prophecy' by James Redfield


This number one bestselling international fiction novel is the second book Jay-Z swears by as a life guide. In The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure, author James Redfield explores the fact that there are two sides to every choice we make and encourages readers to take beneficial steps in directing their life’s individual path. With nine key insights about taking control of your life, Redfield creates a fictional story for realistic manifestation.

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'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell


In Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell asks readers what makes high-achievers different? With a focus on people who have obtained a high level of fame and success, Gladwell notes that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from and how that plays a role in their accomplishments. Jay-Z, who says the book resonated with him because he was born during a time when there was an influx of remarkable music, grew up listening to the records of iconic artists like Prince, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye which directly influenced his musical talent.

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'The Odyssey' by Homer


This New York Times Notable Book of 2018 hits home with Jay-Z as he can easily relate to Odysseus’ longing for strength and loyalty in a love interest. The rapper has without a doubt obtained that relationship with his wife Beyoncé, making this poem an identifiable read. This 2018 translation makes the timeless text digestible for modern-day consumption, telling the stories of the aftermath of war, wealth, violence, poverty, marriage, family and more.

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