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In one of the wildest and most entertaining sports memoirs that will ever be published, legendary center fielder Lenny Dykstra offers a no-holds-barred account of his larger-than-life journey, a Shakespearian tale of highs and lows spanning his years with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, through his headline-filled post-baseball career. Nicknamed “Nails” for his In one of the wildest and most entertaining sports memoirs that will ever be published, legendary center fielder Lenny Dykstra offers a no-holds-barred account of his larger-than-life journey, a Shakespearian tale of highs and lows spanning his years with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, through his headline-filled post-baseball career. Nicknamed “Nails” for his toughness and grit, Lenny Dykstra approached the game of baseball (and his after-hours activities) with mythic intensity. In his decade in the majors (1985-1996), he was named to three All-Star teams and played in two of the most memorable World Series of the modern era: winning the championship with the iconic 1986 New York Mets, and playing a starring role in the 1993 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies, a Fall Classic that inspired Roger Angell to write, “This series will linger in mind not just for its immoderate events but for its panoply of featured players and character actors . . . a double touring company seemingly assembled by Hogarth or Fellini.” Known for his clutch hits, high on-base percentage, and aggressive defense, Lenny was later identified as the prototypical “Moneyball” player by his former minor league roommate Billy Beane. Tobacco-stained, steroid-powered, and booze-and-drug-fueled, Nails also defined ’80s and early ’90s baseball’s culture of excess. Then came a second act no novelist could plausibly conjure. He threw his energies into several lucrative businesses, was touted as an investment guru by Jim Cramer, and launched a magazine for professional athletes. The New Yorker ran a 5,000-word profile under the headline: “baseball’s most improbable post-career success story.” But when the real estate bubble burst, Lenny lost everything, eventually serving two and a half years in prison for bankruptcy fraud. Now, he’s ready to tell all. An epic tale of winning big and losing it all, Lennyball is the eagerly anticipated first-hand account of a most remarkable American life.


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In one of the wildest and most entertaining sports memoirs that will ever be published, legendary center fielder Lenny Dykstra offers a no-holds-barred account of his larger-than-life journey, a Shakespearian tale of highs and lows spanning his years with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, through his headline-filled post-baseball career. Nicknamed “Nails” for his In one of the wildest and most entertaining sports memoirs that will ever be published, legendary center fielder Lenny Dykstra offers a no-holds-barred account of his larger-than-life journey, a Shakespearian tale of highs and lows spanning his years with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, through his headline-filled post-baseball career. Nicknamed “Nails” for his toughness and grit, Lenny Dykstra approached the game of baseball (and his after-hours activities) with mythic intensity. In his decade in the majors (1985-1996), he was named to three All-Star teams and played in two of the most memorable World Series of the modern era: winning the championship with the iconic 1986 New York Mets, and playing a starring role in the 1993 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies, a Fall Classic that inspired Roger Angell to write, “This series will linger in mind not just for its immoderate events but for its panoply of featured players and character actors . . . a double touring company seemingly assembled by Hogarth or Fellini.” Known for his clutch hits, high on-base percentage, and aggressive defense, Lenny was later identified as the prototypical “Moneyball” player by his former minor league roommate Billy Beane. Tobacco-stained, steroid-powered, and booze-and-drug-fueled, Nails also defined ’80s and early ’90s baseball’s culture of excess. Then came a second act no novelist could plausibly conjure. He threw his energies into several lucrative businesses, was touted as an investment guru by Jim Cramer, and launched a magazine for professional athletes. The New Yorker ran a 5,000-word profile under the headline: “baseball’s most improbable post-career success story.” But when the real estate bubble burst, Lenny lost everything, eventually serving two and a half years in prison for bankruptcy fraud. Now, he’s ready to tell all. An epic tale of winning big and losing it all, Lennyball is the eagerly anticipated first-hand account of a most remarkable American life.

30 review for House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terynce

    What a tool. Self-centered, egotistical, nightmare of a human being. Professional athlete and all, but gracious me. I was expecting him to explain how he single handedly ended the Strike/Lockout of '94 by demanding a meeting where he could address the players. It's lucky he was as good at baseball as he was because he has, apparently, nothing else to offer in the way of personality or literary talent. "Felt like I had a 15 inch cock" or "cock-swinging Gulfstream" is the extent of his figurative What a tool. Self-centered, egotistical, nightmare of a human being. Professional athlete and all, but gracious me. I was expecting him to explain how he single handedly ended the Strike/Lockout of '94 by demanding a meeting where he could address the players. It's lucky he was as good at baseball as he was because he has, apparently, nothing else to offer in the way of personality or literary talent. "Felt like I had a 15 inch cock" or "cock-swinging Gulfstream" is the extent of his figurative language. I'm a Mets fan. I heard about this book watching the Mets broadcast when Ron Darling made mention of it. He didn't seem impressed and I fully understand why. The only redeeming quality about this book is that it brings me one book closer to my reading challenge goal.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Things you will learn about Lenny Dykstra in this book: 1. That his uncle played on the Red Wings in the 1950s & helped win the Stanley Cups 2. How he (Lenny, not Uncle Tony) lost his virginity 3. That he is incapable of using any other word but "pussy" to describe women 4. He tried to get Charlie Sheen clean but it didn't work 5. That he is apparently a self-taught investment whiz kid 6. Despite his amazing financial skills, he went to prison for bankruptcy fraud 7. That he didn't read any books unt Things you will learn about Lenny Dykstra in this book: 1. That his uncle played on the Red Wings in the 1950s & helped win the Stanley Cups 2. How he (Lenny, not Uncle Tony) lost his virginity 3. That he is incapable of using any other word but "pussy" to describe women 4. He tried to get Charlie Sheen clean but it didn't work 5. That he is apparently a self-taught investment whiz kid 6. Despite his amazing financial skills, he went to prison for bankruptcy fraud 7. That he didn't read any books until he went to prison 8. That he has a son named Cutter who is married to Meadow from the Sopranos (so I guess that thing with Turtle was just a storyline on Entourage?) There you go, I saved you from reading it. It's short and self-aggrandizing, but it's not completely uninteresting. I liked the chapters describing the World Series and actual baseball the best. The test is eh. You know he didn't really write this, which is good in some ways. It's definitely a Nobel Prize in Literature compared to Greg Louganis's autobiography, but it's also pretty much just cotton candy when compared to normal books.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barry Bridges

    I have to admit that I did not finish the book. I write this to protect other readers. Don't buy the hype and don't waste your time. It is not even worth one star. I kept plowing ahead, hoping to find what Stephen King liked about it enough to write a blurb. The only reason I can find that he would do so is he owed the publisher some kind of favor or was being held for ransom. I love a good sports story and I love baseball. I am not so blind as to think my sports heroes are perfect gentlemen, so I have to admit that I did not finish the book. I write this to protect other readers. Don't buy the hype and don't waste your time. It is not even worth one star. I kept plowing ahead, hoping to find what Stephen King liked about it enough to write a blurb. The only reason I can find that he would do so is he owed the publisher some kind of favor or was being held for ransom. I love a good sports story and I love baseball. I am not so blind as to think my sports heroes are perfect gentlemen, so it did not remove any rose colored sunglasses. I got to the point that I just could not pick it up anymore, so it threw me off my reading game. Better to let it go and get on with life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lance Cornell

    Nails nailed it...in more than one way! I've got to say that I loved Dykstra as a ball player. If all athletes gave it what he gave the games would be so much more entertaining. As a person though...😬 Cocky, arrogant, egotistical, brash, crass, lewd...and a handful of other not so flattering adjectives describe could be used to describe him. Not someone I would hang out with but that I didn't judge his book based on his character. The book was good, especially the parts about baseball. The fact tha Nails nailed it...in more than one way! I've got to say that I loved Dykstra as a ball player. If all athletes gave it what he gave the games would be so much more entertaining. As a person though...😬 Cocky, arrogant, egotistical, brash, crass, lewd...and a handful of other not so flattering adjectives describe could be used to describe him. Not someone I would hang out with but that I didn't judge his book based on his character. The book was good, especially the parts about baseball. The fact that he didn't hold back and offered his thoughts on players, managers and more made it more interesting to read than the normal sports biography where they just gloss over controversies and relationships with other people that aren't positive in nature. Outside of the provable, stats backed parts of the book, is the rest of it fact or fiction? Hard to tell but, if true, very fascinating. Blackmailing umpires? Wow! How deranged do you have to be to even think of that but actually doing it? I do wish he would have went with more detail on his prison time though.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brett Rohlwing

    Jeez, what an enormous asshole. I didn't expect much beyond bragging and self-absorption from former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, member of the 1986 World Champion Mets squad. And that's what I got. I hoped to learn a bit more about his post-baseball life as an entrepreneur and investing guru (careers which both landed in the toilet after a grand theft auto conviction - long story), but he had nothing to offer there except excuses and evasions. Lame. The book is nothing more than a Jeez, what an enormous asshole. I didn't expect much beyond bragging and self-absorption from former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, member of the 1986 World Champion Mets squad. And that's what I got. I hoped to learn a bit more about his post-baseball life as an entrepreneur and investing guru (careers which both landed in the toilet after a grand theft auto conviction - long story), but he had nothing to offer there except excuses and evasions. Lame. The book is nothing more than a cash-grab, though in fairness, the guy is probably hurting for cash right now. For that, he has no one to blame but everybody else - certainly not the guy in the mirror!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    OK, I'm going to lead with the good. As a dedicated Mets fan up through the mid-90s and an obsessive baseball fan up until I became a dad a few years ago, it's great reading some insight into one of the most colorful characters around. I will give Lenny that. And the book is certainly entertaining in the way that I kept turning to my wife and saying, "Oh my God, you have to read this page." Here's the bad. Lenny is such a pig in so many ways, I just felt gross reading the book. If you love Donald OK, I'm going to lead with the good. As a dedicated Mets fan up through the mid-90s and an obsessive baseball fan up until I became a dad a few years ago, it's great reading some insight into one of the most colorful characters around. I will give Lenny that. And the book is certainly entertaining in the way that I kept turning to my wife and saying, "Oh my God, you have to read this page." Here's the bad. Lenny is such a pig in so many ways, I just felt gross reading the book. If you love Donald Trump, you will like Lenny. He is one of those guys who bulls through life doing whatever he wants to anyone because he can and for his own benefit. He goes on and on about his philandering, drug abuses, and just general low behavior... I mean blackmailing a closeted umpire to out him in order to get borderline pitches called his way. Ugh. And, just as I'm realizing how much like Trump he is, well there's a couple pages on how much he admires Trump. Lenny dedicates about 10 times as much writing to his plane than he does his wife of 20+ years and his children. As a book, there are some chapters that have a lot of material clearly written by his editor. The tone changes to a dry, reporter-like style. Then there's a "big reveal" chapter about his secret to playing baseball successfully and that's clearly written by him: Just an ambling repetitive litany of basic wisdom underneath vast piles of build-up and self-congratulations. It's kind of an amazing chapter in a way. I read it twice just to try to glean something out of it because he spends so much time talking about how you're getting this amazing secret. But there's nothing there. I'm glad Lenny seems to be gaining some self-reflection now on how his life decisions and behavior have led to a lot of bad things: bankruptcy, prison, isolation but there's something calculated and cunning even when he's offering his mea culpas. It reminds me of an addict saying he's changed his ways but really, he just wants it on record that he's saying that. It doesn't actually seem that much like he's changed. He wraps up the book by having a friend write about how Lenny stalked John Grisham, who he discovered in prison, along with the concept of the written word, to get him to write a foreword. But Grisham didn't and then the friend says it's ok because he really wanted Stephen King anyway. It's just more and more bluster and hot air and doesn't seem like it's going to end. I'd always preferred Mookie. Dykstra says he had the worst breath of anyone he's ever met.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I suppose it takes all types to make the baseball world go round, but I could have given this one a miss and been no poorer for it. Everything you need to know about Lenny's world is here: **The self-aggrandizement **The bromance with Charlie Sheen **The lame excuse for cheating with PEDs (lots of other guys were) **The preposterous excuse for cheating with PEDs (it was the only way I could provide for my family) **The fixation with large penises: “I felt like I had a 15-inch cock;" “…a 14-inch cock I suppose it takes all types to make the baseball world go round, but I could have given this one a miss and been no poorer for it. Everything you need to know about Lenny's world is here: **The self-aggrandizement **The bromance with Charlie Sheen **The lame excuse for cheating with PEDs (lots of other guys were) **The preposterous excuse for cheating with PEDs (it was the only way I could provide for my family) **The fixation with large penises: “I felt like I had a 15-inch cock;" “…a 14-inch cock;" "hung like a swamp mule;" "Gulfstream is the big swinging dick of private aviation;" etc. **The denigration of women **The disparagement of teammates **The self-aggrandizement **The admitted extortion of umpires **The name-dropping - Jack Nicholson, Michael Jordan, Robert DeNiro, etc. Did I mention there’s some self-aggrandizement? It was a relief to turn this one off.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mayra

    I finished this book in a day while vacationing. It's a remedially told story, with holes large enough to fit a semi, but interesting due to the baseball nuggets Lenny managed to uncover for us. It's a tale of a narcissistic athlete first and baseball second. The baseball portion which covers Dykstra's careers in high school, the Mets and Phillies is delicious and left me wanting more of that. His lack of awareness really began to grate my nerves towards the end, but there was a redeeming moment I finished this book in a day while vacationing. It's a remedially told story, with holes large enough to fit a semi, but interesting due to the baseball nuggets Lenny managed to uncover for us. It's a tale of a narcissistic athlete first and baseball second. The baseball portion which covers Dykstra's careers in high school, the Mets and Phillies is delicious and left me wanting more of that. His lack of awareness really began to grate my nerves towards the end, but there was a redeeming moment or two that made plowing through worth it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kennedy

    I can sum up Lenny Dykstra in three words....Ego, Ego, and Ego. He might have a bigger ego than our current president. Will give him credit, he is very persistent and driven. The book covers Dykstra from his youth through present day. If half of his stories are to be believed (not sure if They should be, although some of it is public record), he has led one heck of an interesting life. I should replace heck with some other four letter words to better reflect the author's writing style. To say Le I can sum up Lenny Dykstra in three words....Ego, Ego, and Ego. He might have a bigger ego than our current president. Will give him credit, he is very persistent and driven. The book covers Dykstra from his youth through present day. If half of his stories are to be believed (not sure if They should be, although some of it is public record), he has led one heck of an interesting life. I should replace heck with some other four letter words to better reflect the author's writing style. To say Lenny swears a lot is an understatement. I think a painting sailor would blush to read some of the passages in the book. I'll leave at that since I don't want to offend anyone. If you would have asked me what I thought of this book after 100 pages, I would have put it at a solid 4-4.5, but unfortunately the book goes on and it now sits in the 2.5-3 range. The baseball stuff is interesting from his hate of, in his words, his "alcoholic manager" Davy Johnson on the Mets to his recalling the '86 and '93 World Series (Both extremely memorable). I wish there was more talk about his on the field exploits. He spent chapters talking about celebrity friends (Charlie Scheen and Jack Nicholson) and people he knew or saved (in his mind). As he gets into his life after baseball his ego starts to become somewhat annoying. He is the best at everything, just ask him. He also seems to use this book to settle scores with people who wronged him or he didn't like. There is also a chapter which is basically a pitch for you to give him $1000 for stock tips. He mentions his website twice. He goes out of his way to make himself look good, including adding how he gave his wife his MLB pension. It didn't add to the book really at all, it was more him saying look at what a good guy I am now. I think if he had toned down the ego some with some more baseball, it would have been a really good book. In the end it was an okay book with lost potential. It was sort of disappointing because I remember the 1993 Phillies and I really liked them. This book does not better my opinion of one of their stars. He is an egomaniac who was wrong by everyone (in his mind). As he said many times in his book....."it's not like I am an idiot" Mr. Dykstra, a good amount of your thoughts/logic are bias and self serving. I don't regret reading this book, but I would recommend moving it down on your list for when you are digging deep for something to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim Patton

    Dude worked and played HARD!! Not sure we are seeing the whole story on his bankruptcy troubles, but he certainly held very little back on everything else.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I am giving this book three stars because it was highly readable and the first half was really interesting. However, the second half was downright depressing. I was 11 years old in 1986 and I was a huge Mets fan. So I was curious to read what happened to Lenny Dykstra in his own words. He was one of my family's favorite players (We had that Nails poster hanging up and seeing it in the photo section gave me a smile). My aunt even changed alliance to the Phillies when he was traded. That being sai I am giving this book three stars because it was highly readable and the first half was really interesting. However, the second half was downright depressing. I was 11 years old in 1986 and I was a huge Mets fan. So I was curious to read what happened to Lenny Dykstra in his own words. He was one of my family's favorite players (We had that Nails poster hanging up and seeing it in the photo section gave me a smile). My aunt even changed alliance to the Phillies when he was traded. That being said, I thought the background on his childhood was really interesting, along with his early years, meeting Teri and of course reading about baseball. However, the rest of the story is really a great testimony as to why sports players should not be receiving such massive salaries. These guys will do anything for the money, including stooping to drugs and cheating to get it. Then, once they have it, they aren't very bright and they use it for more drugs, partying and whores. They know everyone around them is using them for money, but they don't care because they are using the users as well. It's fucking sad. Imagine the world of good these men could do with these awesome sums of money instead of spending it on hookers and drugs. It's ironic too, because Dykstra complains about selfish baseball and players who play selfishly, but his whole LIFE is selfish. Also, in answer to his rant about the hall of fame, none of these men who took steroids belong. They cheated. None of the fans consider those records as really have been broken. You guys ruined baseball permanently. I stopped watching way back then and never went back. Who wants to see a bunch of hulking oxen on the field? Baseball players used to be attractive, slim men. Now they are mostly big fat foreigners who all need translators to talk to each other. The big money ruined it all and that is why the stadiums are empty. My three year old daughter saw Dykstra's picture on the cover of this book and thought he was a monster. I also thought that the whole tax evasion thing was glossed over and not really explained. Either Dykstra doesn't understand it himself or maybe he does all too well. In short, Dykstra started off as a great player, but became instrumental in the fall of baseball. He's not very bright and is a very, very flawed person. Overall, this book saddened me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex Rivas

    A tell all and blunt account of Lenny Dykstra, a scrappy center fielder for the World Champion New York Mets in 1986 and the runner ups Phillies in 1993. Very entertaining read, not a dull page in the book, highly recommended to baseball fans. Favorite Quote "Don't give up your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you" John Wooden. A tell all and blunt account of Lenny Dykstra, a scrappy center fielder for the World Champion New York Mets in 1986 and the runner ups Phillies in 1993. Very entertaining read, not a dull page in the book, highly recommended to baseball fans. Favorite Quote "Don't give up your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you" John Wooden.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Stetz

    I call bullshit on some of his stories but some were still funny.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Baseball memoir meets rich-celebrity-rock-star-drug-addict-tell-all. I was not familiar with Dykstra. I did not follow him as a Met or as a Philly, and knew of him in name only. Still, it was a good story. It is always interesting to see the way an athlete’s talent, discipline, and world-class hard work can make him one of the world’s greatest on the field, and then he abandons all those qualities off the field, and lets himself go completely off-the-rails with partying and drugs. To Dykstra, ov Baseball memoir meets rich-celebrity-rock-star-drug-addict-tell-all. I was not familiar with Dykstra. I did not follow him as a Met or as a Philly, and knew of him in name only. Still, it was a good story. It is always interesting to see the way an athlete’s talent, discipline, and world-class hard work can make him one of the world’s greatest on the field, and then he abandons all those qualities off the field, and lets himself go completely off-the-rails with partying and drugs. To Dykstra, over-the-top partying was a sign of consistency—he says he is an “all or nothing person” so he was “all in” for cocaine and women and partying. I disagree. A wiser view would be that the self-discipline that made you great on the field should cause you to avoid drugs, get some sleep, and come to work healthy all season long. (Why not be "all or nothing" about being "all" disciplined, healthy, and family-oriented, as he is now?) Nevertheless, some of the most interesting parts of the book involved off-field shenanigans, particularly Dykstra’s friendship with Charlie Sheen (a would-be baseball player with what Dykstra acknowledged was a “major league swing”), his trips around the world on his own jet, and of course, his time in prison. There's an interesting tale of trying to track down John Grisham to coerce him into writing a foreword for this book. But I preferred the story about one late night in solitary confinement: "Hey man, you all right over there?" "Yeah, uh, I guess." I replied, not sure who it was. "You read?" the low, rough voice said. "No, not really." "Man, you gotta learn to read in here, or you're gonna do some hard time." Then I heard a noise outside my cell, and there before my door was a book that he had tossed to me from his cell. I opened the food slot in my door and snagged it. It was THE KING OF TORTS, by John Grisham. What a great f*** read. Never having read before, I got sucked into the world of well-written fiction, hard and fast. ... Prison changes a man, and it made me a bibliophile. Dykstra tells an interesting story I had read bits of in Billy Beane's MONEYBALL. Billy and Lenny were roommates in the minors, and though Billy was the stud up-and-comer, expected to far outpace Lenny, Lenny had the “ability to instantly forget any failure and draw strength from every success.” Or, in the words of one of my son’s baseball coaches, Lenny knew how to “flush it.” That is a WINNERS' trait. Losers can't do it. Dykstra discusses steroids, cheating, and other controversies, though it's hard to know whether you are getting the full story. One interesting tale involved hiring private investigators to trail umpires and learn their secrets. Once Dykstra discovered a certain umpire had a gambling habit, he used it to get a fair strike zone during his at-bats, by subtly letting the Blue know that he knew the man's secret. It worked. Interesting STAT--the average pro career is six years.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul Mashack

    About a year or two ago, I visited one of the local libraries and there was a shelf of free "retired from circulation" books. As a bibliophile, I never turn down an opportunity for free books. I picked this book up, on a whims, thinking it might provide some entertainment and insight into Dykstra's career and life both on and off the field. As a baseball nut growing up, I did remember and and admire Dykskra's scrappiness. But this book languished on my book self. Mostly lacking any incentive to c About a year or two ago, I visited one of the local libraries and there was a shelf of free "retired from circulation" books. As a bibliophile, I never turn down an opportunity for free books. I picked this book up, on a whims, thinking it might provide some entertainment and insight into Dykstra's career and life both on and off the field. As a baseball nut growing up, I did remember and and admire Dykskra's scrappiness. But this book languished on my book self. Mostly lacking any incentive to cracking it open. With some extra time on my hand during the holiday season along a desire to slowly clear out some of my collection of unread books, I thought this was a great opportunity to finally delve into the life and times of Mr. Dykstra. Where do I begin? Well, the first chapter or two starts out solid. I am, after all, a sucker for a good memoir. Learning about the hard lessons from individuals. Taking a hard punch to the chin--a knockout--then slowly rising from the canvas to become a better person in life. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right? Maybe not for Lenny. First of all, I was turned off--majorly--how he threw Davy Johnson, the manager with the Mets, under the bus (yeah, I know, that's a tired cliche.) Perhaps Johnson's moves in the 1988 NLCS weren't the smartest, but him and the other eight players on the field are the ones who actually PLAY the game. The manager doesn't. It is his job to put them in the best situation to win, yes, but they can still overcome that perhaps ineptitude (again, this is Lenny's point of view. I know for years Johnson was a respected manager; He obviously had a different managerial plan). For me, it basically unraveled from there. Dykstra seemed petulant, constantly placing blame on others. I did lightly scan through the entire book, just to say I read it, but would not recommend it to others. If you're in the waiting room at the dentist and you have a choice between this book (why this not-so-family-friendly book would be at a dentist is beyond me, but indulge me a minute) and a Highlights for Kids from ten years ago that has all the hidden animals already circled in crayon, I would still chose the latter. As an aforementioned book hoarder, I harbor no personal sentimental loss by donating this at the nearby Little Free Library. But if you find yourself perusing the same circulatory neighborhood book stand, I would advise you not to waste your time on such drivel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Hallstrom

    I read this book in a day. Not exactly demanding literature. The book offered a lot of promise and began very well but failed miserably at the end. I was a Phillies season-ticket holder and 1993 was one of my favorite seasons. Dykstra was a big part of what made that season so special. The book is engaging when he is writing about baseball. He obviously loved the game and speaks well of most of his teammates and managers. But it is the off-the-field stories where the book fails. Too many of the I read this book in a day. Not exactly demanding literature. The book offered a lot of promise and began very well but failed miserably at the end. I was a Phillies season-ticket holder and 1993 was one of my favorite seasons. Dykstra was a big part of what made that season so special. The book is engaging when he is writing about baseball. He obviously loved the game and speaks well of most of his teammates and managers. But it is the off-the-field stories where the book fails. Too many of the stories are unbelievable - they may be exaggerations or they may be outright lies. And he chooses to name names only when it makes the name look bad. (That Dykstra is a petty man is no surprise.) The book fails at the end as Dykstra is not honest about his financial and legal troubles. No innocent man has as many allegations leveled against him as did Dykstra. But all we learn about is the one allegation for which he went to prison. I do not disagree with Dykstra's contention that the US Government has the power and resources to bring you down. But why would they want to bring down Lenny Dykstra? It's more likely that they looked at all of the potential things for which they could charge him and went with the one that would be easiest to prove. And seeing as Dykstra pled No Contest, he as much as admitted his guilt. I don't think this is a spoiler alert but: Dykstra publishes a sworn affidavit from a lawyer that he claims proves his innocence. The affidavit, according to Dykstra, was presented at his sentencing hearing. It was not, he points out, entered as evidence at his trial. Dykstra is either lying or he had the worst lawyer ever. What lawyer would save up irrefutable proof of a client's innocence for the sentencing hearing? Dykstra was a gifted ball player. If you read this book you will realize his gifts began and ended on the diamond. He is not a likable person and he is not ultimately honest.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris Heim

    Sigh. I picked up this book because, as a Phillies fan who grew up during Dykstra's nadir as a ballplayer with the team, I was curious to hear what he had to say about the team, the rest of the National League, etc. This turned out, I felt, to be an underrepresented portion of the book, which largely focused on his fall from grace. The book is surprisingly equal parts "classic Lenny", for those who have come to know him as the lowlife that he has become, and "clearly ghostwritten" (the parts tha Sigh. I picked up this book because, as a Phillies fan who grew up during Dykstra's nadir as a ballplayer with the team, I was curious to hear what he had to say about the team, the rest of the National League, etc. This turned out, I felt, to be an underrepresented portion of the book, which largely focused on his fall from grace. The book is surprisingly equal parts "classic Lenny", for those who have come to know him as the lowlife that he has become, and "clearly ghostwritten" (the parts that are eloquent). There is more lewd content than I would have hoped, though it would be ignorant to say I was "surprised", and a lot of excuse-making for his off-the-field problems, particularly after his career. Occasionally slightly apologetic, the book also walks a confusing line when it comes to his marriage. For example, in the early part, he talks with great adoration about his wife. Then it's clear that he begins to cheat on her (rampantly) and he doesn't deal with his wife's reaction to that, or his subsequent divorce (which we only hear about much later via the mention of his "ex-wife"). In fact, she's one of the least-mentioned central characters in the book. (He does bring her back at the end to demonstrate how generous he is in signing over his MLB pension checks for the remainder of his life to her.) If you were thinking about reading this because you're a baseball fan who's interested in Lenny Dykstra, I'd say don't bother. While he bashes Davey Johnson for being drunk every night, and rips Fred Lynn for big-timing him as a high school phenom, there is very little else of intrigue about Dykstra's teammates or others around the game. If you're genuinely curious about his life story, focusing at least equally on the non-baseball parts, and you're able to tolerate his vulgarities, then you might be able to say you enjoyed this book, which unfortunately, I cannot.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bill Krieger

    Lenny Dykstra is: 1) completely out of control, and 2) as selfish a person as I've read about. He manically pursued his baseball career and... booze, drugs, gambling, women, fame, etc. Like any addict, Lenny has tons of excuses about the havoc he wreaks on himself and those close to him. It all leads to a very unflattering tale of self-destruction. But Lenny has one thing going for him: his stories. Oh, and one more thing: Lenny has no filter. He'll say the craziest, most obnoxious stuff without Lenny Dykstra is: 1) completely out of control, and 2) as selfish a person as I've read about. He manically pursued his baseball career and... booze, drugs, gambling, women, fame, etc. Like any addict, Lenny has tons of excuses about the havoc he wreaks on himself and those close to him. It all leads to a very unflattering tale of self-destruction. But Lenny has one thing going for him: his stories. Oh, and one more thing: Lenny has no filter. He'll say the craziest, most obnoxious stuff without blinking. His life is a trainwreck and at times we can't look away. The cherry on top―after going through all the turmoil he's gone through (bankruptcy, divorce, addiction, jail, etc), Lenny is still pretty much unchanged and raving. My favorite story in the book―Lenny would tell his wife that he was going to rehab for a month. Instead, he'd go on a month-long sex and drug bender/vacation. I'll still can't get over that one. (ha!) The worst part of the book is the baseball part, oddly. His recaps of game action are generic, like a summary you'd read on Yahoo. Lenny is a major star-f'er. One of the longest chapters in the book is "Charlie Sheen", talking about drugs and rehab with the TV star. (lame) QOTD Gambling is all about ego and the three p's: power, partying, and pussy. But not necessarily in that order. - Lenny A good read. Even though the honesty in Lenny's autobiography is mostly between the lines, there are some entertaining, manic stories in the book. It's almost like Lenny himself... both colorful and sad at the same time. thanks... yow, bill

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm torn on how to rate this book (2 r 3 stars) as the story was somewhat interesting yet written (Lenny, here is an example of an adverb-->) poorly. His editor should have informed Lenny that adverbs and adjectives are different words. "More important," adjectives in place of adverbs were used "constant" throughout this book. I was a Mets nut in the '80s through 2000. I was saddened the day he and Roger McDowell were traded to Philadelphia for Juan Samuel (who?) in 1989. Lenny has a toxic and vo I'm torn on how to rate this book (2 r 3 stars) as the story was somewhat interesting yet written (Lenny, here is an example of an adverb-->) poorly. His editor should have informed Lenny that adverbs and adjectives are different words. "More important," adjectives in place of adverbs were used "constant" throughout this book. I was a Mets nut in the '80s through 2000. I was saddened the day he and Roger McDowell were traded to Philadelphia for Juan Samuel (who?) in 1989. Lenny has a toxic and volatile mix of naiveté, arrogance, narcissism, immaturity, and stupidity. He is a gifted bullshitter. E.g. at the end of the book when he was informed $6,000 a month of his pension was no longer required to go to his son as his son turned 18 and the administrator required an account in which to deposit the funds. He told the pension fund representative to "Call me back in 15 minutes" and he'd have an answer. Lenny then claims "after thorough soul searching" he decided to give the money to his ex-wife "because it was the right thing to do." He did "thorough soul searching" in 15 minutes? All his life he never did the right thing or soul searched. Now he decided to change and is was a savant at soul searching? I call Bravo Sierra on that claim. He completely lacks self-awareness to recognize any of these character flaws. In short, he is a a major jackwagon. The book is a good read to learn more about the crazy lives of 80's-90's baseball players. It's another story of hard living and paying the price later.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rory Costello

    Going in, my interest was rubbernecking...and that is indeed what I got. It's little surprise that Donald Trump is mentioned at a couple of points in this story, including a Trump quote to introduce one chapter. Lenny Dykstra is incredibly crass. His love of gauche conspicuous consumption is nearly on par with the 45th President's. His view of women is quite similar. Despite what he says about being a straight shooter, he still comes across as a BS artist much of the time. Yet there is an essent Going in, my interest was rubbernecking...and that is indeed what I got. It's little surprise that Donald Trump is mentioned at a couple of points in this story, including a Trump quote to introduce one chapter. Lenny Dykstra is incredibly crass. His love of gauche conspicuous consumption is nearly on par with the 45th President's. His view of women is quite similar. Despite what he says about being a straight shooter, he still comes across as a BS artist much of the time. Yet there is an essential difference between "Nails" and Trump -- at least Dykstra owns up to his mistakes (to a pretty fair degree) and has self-awareness. The candor about drug use is refreshing. There's some good baseball stuff here too, especially if you're a Mets or Phillies fan. I absolutely loved the 1986 Mets and was at Shea Stadium for Dykstra's great game-ending homer in the playoffs. I would have welcomed more of his insights on that club. Unfortunately, the discussion there and elsewhere is pretty thin. It's also got factual error (for example, Nails forgot that Sid Fernandez was his teammate in 1985). The shifts in voice are odd too. I can believe that Dykstra read a lot while he was in prison and that he may have developed his vocabulary, but the contrast between the f-bombs (which are countless) and the almost erudite tone at times is really peculiar.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Asa McMahon

    Lenny Dykstra’s book, “House of Nails” is filthier than a game-used #4 Philadelphia Phillies jersey from the early nineties. Here’s the dirt (or at least some of it): -Robert De Niro only likes you if you have something to offer (like cocaine). -Jack Nicholson’s voice on speaker phone can help seal the deal with any woman. -Dykstra chewed tobacco (even though he didn’t like the taste of it) because his idol Rod Carew did. My question is if Dykstra didn’t like the taste of it did he think more was b Lenny Dykstra’s book, “House of Nails” is filthier than a game-used #4 Philadelphia Phillies jersey from the early nineties. Here’s the dirt (or at least some of it): -Robert De Niro only likes you if you have something to offer (like cocaine). -Jack Nicholson’s voice on speaker phone can help seal the deal with any woman. -Dykstra chewed tobacco (even though he didn’t like the taste of it) because his idol Rod Carew did. My question is if Dykstra didn’t like the taste of it did he think more was better? -Canadian Sprinter Ben Johnson “inspired” Dykstra to use steroids so he could become an everyday player. Dykstra basically blamed MLB for the steroid epidemic and nobody can argue with his point that “dingers equal dollars”. And for Mets fans: -Despite his appearance, Sid Fernandez actually wasn’t fat. -Davey Johnson was a terrible communicator, a “lucky” manager and drunk every night. -Mookie Wilson had really bad breath, like ”death fumes”. -Kevin McReynolds was a redneck who hated baseball. -Gregg Jefferies was a “whiny little bitch” and a losing player who can be blamed for the Mets downward spiral in the early 90’s. If you’re easily offended then don’t bother with this book. Reading Dykstra’s memoir made me cringe many times over but it also entertained the whole way through.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    This was not a good book and left me with a worse impression of Dykstra than before I started reading it. First, the guy only cares about himself. That is evident when he keeps talking how selfish he is. Just read about the day he got married for the best example of the type of person he is. Second, he skips over stuff. He seldom mentions his wife, but spends a lot of time talking about he was constantly on the hunt for other women. He doesn't bring up their divorce, and I didn't realize he had a This was not a good book and left me with a worse impression of Dykstra than before I started reading it. First, the guy only cares about himself. That is evident when he keeps talking how selfish he is. Just read about the day he got married for the best example of the type of person he is. Second, he skips over stuff. He seldom mentions his wife, but spends a lot of time talking about he was constantly on the hunt for other women. He doesn't bring up their divorce, and I didn't realize he had any kids until the last chapter when he talks about they could be professional baseball players someday. He spends chapters talking about how he would lie to his family and say he was going to rehab, only to fly around the world to party. Then at the end, he talks about how his six months in prison robbed him of his time with his family. I'm pretty sure he robbed himself of time with his family. By the way, nothing is ever his fault, and he neglects to mention very important facts to try to get you to believe his stories.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jason Zaikov

    I had to split this up into two different sections, baseball career and then post-baseball career. One thing that doesn't have to get split up is that Lenny Dykstra is a TERRIBLE writer. I guess that's not really surprising. He's got a hell of a story, but good lord. The baseball career part of this book was great and really interesting and entertaining. I really enjoyed his honesty, he certainly doesn't hide his steroid use. But after his retirement, he's just kind of another millionaire lifest I had to split this up into two different sections, baseball career and then post-baseball career. One thing that doesn't have to get split up is that Lenny Dykstra is a TERRIBLE writer. I guess that's not really surprising. He's got a hell of a story, but good lord. The baseball career part of this book was great and really interesting and entertaining. I really enjoyed his honesty, he certainly doesn't hide his steroid use. But after his retirement, he's just kind of another millionaire lifestyle living pig of a man. I had no idea he taught himself how to be a great investor, but that stuff all bored me. His relationship with Charlie Sheen was interesting, and his crazy surgery story with a random doctor in Israel was a thing, but everything else bored me. I'm gonna check out "Nailed! The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra" soon and see if that story is any better written by an actual author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Silver

    This is one of the worst books I've ever read. It's one of those memoirs that you find yourself getting angry as you read it. Mr. Dykstra comes off as one of the biggest pieces of shit I've ever read a book about. I admired the way he played baseball and I was hoping this would be more of a story of redemption, but really it just shows that he is an arrogant prick who is quick to take all the credit for anything that went right for him or with other people around him, yet quick to deny fault whe This is one of the worst books I've ever read. It's one of those memoirs that you find yourself getting angry as you read it. Mr. Dykstra comes off as one of the biggest pieces of shit I've ever read a book about. I admired the way he played baseball and I was hoping this would be more of a story of redemption, but really it just shows that he is an arrogant prick who is quick to take all the credit for anything that went right for him or with other people around him, yet quick to deny fault whenever anything goes wrong. He has excuses for everything bad that he's done and shows absolutely no remorse, in fact most of the time he doesn't even think he's done anything wrong. Then the last 25% of the book becomes an advertisement for his business endeavors. I strongly recommend staying far away from this pathetic excuse for a book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    A little conflicted on this one. It was an entertaining read and covered a lot of players I used to collect baseball cards of. My main problem was Lenny just came off really unlikable. He has no problem bad mouthing ex teamates or friends or telling stories about Charlie Sheen, Michael Jordan and Robert Deniro that i'm sure they wouldn't want told. He tells stories of cheating on his wife while she thinks hes in rehab with no remorse. He credits any success in his career to steroids. He just was A little conflicted on this one. It was an entertaining read and covered a lot of players I used to collect baseball cards of. My main problem was Lenny just came off really unlikable. He has no problem bad mouthing ex teamates or friends or telling stories about Charlie Sheen, Michael Jordan and Robert Deniro that i'm sure they wouldn't want told. He tells stories of cheating on his wife while she thinks hes in rehab with no remorse. He credits any success in his career to steroids. He just wasn't vulnerable enough in the book for me to believe everything he wrote in the book, Great library read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Can't say I recommend it, but it sure was entertaining to read. A lot of reviewers seem to be coming to the realization that Nails is a tremendous jerk which is surprising. Although, I knew it ever since the time I saw him at the RBI Baseball Academy batting cages and he told me and my friends to "Shut the [expletive deleted] up" and "Leave him the [expletive deleted] alone." That said, I'm sure we were being annoying. We were kids! Personal anecdote aside, Nails comes off really poorly througho Can't say I recommend it, but it sure was entertaining to read. A lot of reviewers seem to be coming to the realization that Nails is a tremendous jerk which is surprising. Although, I knew it ever since the time I saw him at the RBI Baseball Academy batting cages and he told me and my friends to "Shut the [expletive deleted] up" and "Leave him the [expletive deleted] alone." That said, I'm sure we were being annoying. We were kids! Personal anecdote aside, Nails comes off really poorly throughout the book but being the least self-aware person in the world also has its charms. I honestly believe the singularity will occur before Lenny becomes self-aware.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Ely

    This is a very entertaining memoir by Lenny Nails Dykstra. I was a big fan of his during his playing days in the 80s and 90s as he played all out all of the time. And I followed his next career as an investment adviser talking with Cramer on CNBC during the 2000s. So I knew that this would be an interesting recap of his wild life. Dykstra tells it like it is and shares a lot of behind the scenes stories, good bad and ugly. I'd recommend this book to baseball fans especially, but also to anyone w This is a very entertaining memoir by Lenny Nails Dykstra. I was a big fan of his during his playing days in the 80s and 90s as he played all out all of the time. And I followed his next career as an investment adviser talking with Cramer on CNBC during the 2000s. So I knew that this would be an interesting recap of his wild life. Dykstra tells it like it is and shares a lot of behind the scenes stories, good bad and ugly. I'd recommend this book to baseball fans especially, but also to anyone who wants to read about an adventurous life. This is definitely a page turner and fun read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jon Moeller

    Just finished this book. If I put a baseball team together, Nails would be on that team. He is a grinder, a playmaker and a man that is all in and on a mission. Problem is, his life is lived the same way. This book is filled with his pride and extreme egotism. Reading this is like watching a plane circling-- waiting to crash into a train wreck. Yes, his life is and was that bad. I can only hope that he comes to grasp ahold of Christ's grace and mercy that will save his soul while filling it. Just finished this book. If I put a baseball team together, Nails would be on that team. He is a grinder, a playmaker and a man that is all in and on a mission. Problem is, his life is lived the same way. This book is filled with his pride and extreme egotism. Reading this is like watching a plane circling-- waiting to crash into a train wreck. Yes, his life is and was that bad. I can only hope that he comes to grasp ahold of Christ's grace and mercy that will save his soul while filling it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I enjoyed this book a lot. Was not alive to watch him play but enjoyed the read. Yes he is self centered and considered an asshole but that does not take away from the reading. At least that didn't for me, who knew he was an asshole before reading the book. Book is a very easy read that basically has small stories. A ton of his life seems to be missing from the book but still entertaining to me. I enjoyed this book a lot. Was not alive to watch him play but enjoyed the read. Yes he is self centered and considered an asshole but that does not take away from the reading. At least that didn't for me, who knew he was an asshole before reading the book. Book is a very easy read that basically has small stories. A ton of his life seems to be missing from the book but still entertaining to me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ken Baker

    A fun book to read about someone that is gutsy, egotistical, a braggard, talented, smart, and most importantly tells the reader how it really is in the baseball world! And perhaps a sampling of what it is like in other sports venue, behind the scenes. Lenny tells his side of the story of his life, I am sure, and I have read other sides to his story, but still doesn't stop me from admiring his guts! A fun book to read about someone that is gutsy, egotistical, a braggard, talented, smart, and most importantly tells the reader how it really is in the baseball world! And perhaps a sampling of what it is like in other sports venue, behind the scenes. Lenny tells his side of the story of his life, I am sure, and I have read other sides to his story, but still doesn't stop me from admiring his guts!

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