Cooked is about Chef Jeff Henderson, a brother who went from baller status in the San Diego drug underworld to federal incarceration to running kitchens at Vegas hot spots like the Bellagio and Ceasar's Palace and having a show on the food network. It was obviously an interesting story and a quick read. Henderson goes into graphic detail about his days of selling marijuana and crack as well as his decade in custody. He also goes into that same sort of detail when he writes about kitchens and cooking, from Terminal Island to the Bellagio.
One of the most impressive things about Henderson that the book illustrates is his drive to be successful. Some other ex felon might have been really happy supervising people defrosting chicken fingers at the Marriott, and that would have still been an inspiring tale of redemption. As opposed to being complacent, Henderson kept setting the bar higher for himself. That determination along with heavy amounts of study and persistence in seeking mentoring relationships with chefs Like Robert Gadsby, who gave Henderson his break, propelled him into the world of executive chefs and fine cuisine, where there is NOT a bottle of hot sauce on every table.
This is a great book, soon to be made into a movie by Will Smith. Jeff's website is http://www.chefjeffcooked.com/
General transferable points of learning...
Have a vision for your life.
Control your emotions and focus on the larger picture.
Study Your craft incessantly.
Read books and newspapers. Don't limit yourself to Iceberg Slim and the sports page.
Bring your A game every time.
Expect some pushback. Everyone doesn't want to see you succeed.
Seek out mentors.
Cut yourself off from from old friends with negative behaviors.