Mike Tyson Has Better Taste In Books Than You Do

Picture: Octal (CC)

Picture: Octal (CC)

Mike Tyson isn’t just a former champion heavyweight boxer, he’s also a heavyweight reader, too. What are some of the books on Tyson’s nightstand right now? Napoleon’s letters to Josephine, a little Kierkegaard, and more than a few volumes devoted to Alexander the Great.

Via Open Culture:

I read everything about Alexander, so I downloaded “Alexander the Great: The Macedonian Who Conquered the World” by Sean Patrick. Everyone thinks Alexander was this giant, but he was really a runt. “I would rather live a short life of glory than a long one of obscurity,” he said. I so related to that, coming from Brownsville, Brooklyn.

What did I have to look forward to—going in and out of prison, maybe getting shot and killed, or just a life of scuffling around like a common thief? Alexander, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, even a cold pimp like Iceberg Slim—they were all mama’s boys. That’s why Alexander kept pushing forward. He didn’t want to have to go home and be dominated by his mother. In general, I’m a sucker for collections of letters. You think you’ve got deep feelings? Read Napoleon’s love letters to Josephine. It’ll make you think that love is a form of insanity. Or read Virginia Woolf’s last letter to her husband before she loaded her coat up with stones and drowned herself in a river. I don’t really do any light reading, just deep, deep stuff. I’m not a light kind of guy.

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  • mannyfurious

    I just finished his autobiography a couple of weeks ago. It’s a great read of a complicated individual. He quotes everyone from Nietzsche to Napolean to, like, Plutarch.

    • American Cannibal

      Like, awesome.

      • mannyfurious

        That’s what I thought. Thanks for, like, confirming….

    • Rus Archer

      so he’s like the tarantino of boxing?

  • VaudeVillain

    Everything I’ve ever seen, heard, read, or otherwise learned about Mike Tyson has pretty much flown in the face of the media image of him as nothing but a foolish thug with an unexpected falsetto. Clearly, he was not blessed with a strong traditional education, and he definitely has his demons, but if you actually listen to him, it’s obvious he’s a lot smarter than most people give him credit for.

    One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen was a montage of him training with his favorite coach through carrying his casket. You could actually see the Darkness taking hold in his eyes, the loss of someone he genuinely Loved leading him toward the seriously fucked up behavior that would follow.

    • Rus Archer

      have you seen the documentary he narrates?
      halfway through i realized he was telling the story of karate kid
      but in his version, daniel is a closeted gay kid

      • VaudeVillain

        No, I’ll have to check it out.

  • Ted Heistman

    I always knew he was intelligent. He is just an “all or none” type dude. Goes to extremes in everything.

    • Andrew

      Going to extremes in everything doesn’t sound very intelligent to me.

      • Ted Heistman

        Those are two different things. Some people are just wired that way.

        • Andrew

          Perhaps.

          • Ted Heistman

            A lot of people with similar personality traits also become extremely successful in other fields and many more, probably the majority end up dead or on skid row.

      • heinrich6666

        On the contrary, extremism is a sign of authentic engagement with today’s world. I’d say it’s the minimum requirement for intelligence.

        • Lookinfor Buford

          I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong – Bertrand Russell

        • Andrew

          I disagree.

        • Dingbert

          Truth begins in the extremes and ends in moderation.

          • heinrich6666

            Maybe in antiquity. Today, intelligence is automatically a provocative (and extremist) act.

          • Calypso_1

            In the majority of cases my experience bears this out.

      • echar

        I agree. This is demonstrated adeptly by none other than M. Tyson and his extreme manner of sexual advances.

        • Ted Heistman

          I don’t think that’s necessarily true that he raped that chick.

    • Dingbert

      He’s bipolar. Comes with the territory.

  • BuzzCoastin

    I heard he keeps a copy of Spengler’s Decline of the West
    in the shitter

    • heinrich6666

      Funny how ‘in the shitter’ means bathroom, but ‘in the pooper’ means rectum. If you had said, ‘in the pooper’, I’d have said: how’d he fit it in there?

      A linguistics parable.

  • heinrich6666

    The comments over at OpenCulture are just as pretentious as you might expect — with a sort of hateful pissiness.

    I’ve always thought that Mike Tyson is a saint. But I suppose you have to come from a certain background to see it. Human depth is more a function of raw, unmerciful experience than anything else.

  • Rus Archer

    nah, i still prefer pkd and joyce and raw