Week 3: (November 15-19) – Be/Ask/Become the Expert with Veronica at The Thousand Book Project: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 


I’m going super specific with this topic. I like learning about successful people who have been in the entertainment industry since they were children. So many stories of child stars don’t have good endings. If they are healthy and happy adults, they have generally moved away from show biz. When you find people who are thriving through circumstances that have derailed most other people, I like to read about why.

Because it is such a specific subset of memoirs, I can only think of two to recommend. If you know of others, I’d love recommendations.

I recently listened to the audiobook of The Boys by Ron and Clint Howard. They are two of the most successful ex-child stars in the business. Ron started out on The Andy Griffith Show and then Happy Days. Now he’s a superstar director/producer. Clint followed in his footsteps on Gentle Ben and guest starred on a lot of other shows. He’s still working all the time as a character actor.

They attribute their ability to stay grounded and successful to their father. Rance Howard was an actor who stepped back from his career to manage his children’s careers. He wasn’t a forceful stage parent though. He gave them a lot of time to be kids. They went to public school whenever they could and played and coached community sports. He taught them that there was a lot to life besides trying to be famous. Acting was just a job they did sometimes – not their reason for being.

Me by Ricky Martin is an older book now but it is the first I read that discussed the reasons for this type of success. His story is very different from the Howards’ though.

He became famous as a member of Menudo, a Puerto Rican boy band. Members were picked to join around age 12 and then they were replaced by 16. Ricky’s parents were divorced. They didn’t want either one to be able to accuse the other of mishandling the money that he was about to bring in. So they set up a system for all the money to go into accounts that he could only access when he was older. He got a monthly allowance when he was touring. He hated it at the time. All his band mates were partying and buying fancy things like cars they were too young to drive. He sat in the hotel room. However, when his time in the band came to an end, he still had the vast majority of his money and he hadn’t gotten used to a super lavish lifestyle. It set him up for success as an adult. He could take the time to study acting and record solo albums without having to worry about finances.

He also talks a good bit about making smart creative choices to stay relevant in the music business over an almost 40 year career.