My Rating: 8 / 10
Stories I Only Tell My Friends is an apt title and written by just an apt personality. I have seen many of Rob Lowe’s movies and TV appearances and generally like him. He also comes with a reputation of substance abuse and contract disputes due to pay issues. Perhaps this was the book to provide insight into those areas and clear up what person Rob Lowe really is?
Lowe’s book was an enjoyable read given the plethora of stories he tells from his childhood to his adult life as a entertainment actor. Lowe details his steps to becoming an actor on the stage, to making it as a young movie star and finally making it his goal to try maintain this position. He traverses you through the process of casting against similar actors trying to make it such as Tom Cruise and Sarah Jessica Parker. Lowe also discusses the aspects of drugs and alcohol in his life in an effort to provide transparency versus what has been published over the years in the tabloids.
Although I generally liked Lowe in his many films I’m a big fan of his role in the West Wing. Lowe spent a few chapters describing his time at the West Wing. One of the most mind-blowing stories he told was how he ended up on Flight 93 in First Class that happened to be the practice flight for the 9/11 terrorist attack. Only after being questioned by the intelligence community did he realise his life could have dramatically changed. A what-if scenario if that practice flight was the real flight which happened only a couple of weeks later.
For me there were many parallels from the entertainment industry to my working life and ethic. Working in the right location, being good to people at all levels, constantly learning and challenging yourself are all facets that Lowe points out as key areas of focus. I appreciated Lowe’s openness and honesty into his family life and the career he has pursued since a young teenager.
Three key takeaways from the book:
- Those who know Rob Lowe knew he played a big part in The West Wing. Lowe has visited both the real Oval Office and the fake Oval Office on the set at Warner Bros. When he visited the real Oval Office he was mesmerised by the ceiling; when everyone else was captivated by the desk, the art and the carpet. Why? The fake Oval Office at Warner Bros had no ceiling!
- Your location in relation to your industry is important. Lowe’s mother decided to move to Malibu early in Lowe’s life and this provided him with much opportunity. For example, becoming friends with the Sheen family (Martin, Charlie and Emilio), meeting John Belushi, meeting Sarah Jessica Parker a young age, getting on the sets of Star Wars and the Muppets etc. The list goes on….
- Hollywood stars are generally the most gracious people on the set. It is part of their job and they know it. You don’t survive as a star if you’re not gracious. There is something to be said about anyone in any industry behaving appropriately.