I Wanted To Be Bad is an inspiring story of the human spirit and the ability to change for the better. Many times challenges or changes promote fear. To the many people who feel like this now, author James Young offers hope from his own personal story. He tells how he matured into a real man and how the criminal in him grew into a human being. It shows how Mr. Young was able to change and improve not only the quality of his own life, but also the lives of those around him.
I Wanted To Be Bad will give readers the "gift" of believing in miracles, because miracles do happen. If you believe in love, love will appear. Your very thoughts can and will change your life. Each person has a chance at a fulfilling life, no matter what they have or have not done in the past. Mr. Young learned this and so can you; there really are second chances in life. No one is born perfect; everyone makes mistakes.
I Wanted To Be Bad is making its way into schools, starting from middle schools to colleges and universities, inspiring and challenging students to become the best they can be. Several schools have developed their own curriculum as a means to encourage students to read more. Teacher guides are also available upon request.
Mr. Young weaves a story from the age of fifteen to thirty-one; Mr. Young was on the wrong side of the criminal justice system. He was imprisoned twice for a period of ten years. He went from a street life with friends with names like Top Cat, Wonderful Walt, Dap Daddy, Still Bill, Never Worked, and Never Will, and Counterfeit to a regular life with friends whose names are Dave, Jim, Avalon, and Ed.
In 1969, Mr. Young was involved in a gang related drive by shooting. He wasn’t one of the shooters but because he was there, he received twenty-five years for first-degree manslaughter. Mr. Young served six years and was then released. He came out in 1975, and by 1976, he was behind bars again with a three years-to-life prison term for selling drugs to an undercover police officer. Fortunately, for him the drug laws were changed and his sentence was reduced to three-to-nine years. Mr. Young served four years of that sentence and was released again in 1980.
While in prison for those ten years, Mr. Young read a multitude of books. He states, "Prison became my university." He read Marx, Engel, Adam Smith, Machiavelli, The Animal Farm, books on entrepreneurship, marketing, and books on how to write a business plan.
He read Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Eldridge Cleaver, Mao Tse-Tung, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, history, biology, sociology, science, metaphysics, and the dictionary from A to Z more than once. Time Magazine, Newsweek, Life, and Look became weekly companions. With the National Geographic, in his mind he became a world traveler, learning of so many exotic places and different cultures in the world. Quoting Mr. Young, “I was fascinated; I could not believe how much I did not know,” he said.
He studied the arts from classical music, music theory, music appreciation, modern dance, ballet; he studied master painters and sculptors, which included Salvador Dali, Picasso, to name a few. Mr. Young proudly states, “I educated myself. By educating myself, I discovered that a good education should teach you how to think instead of what to think.”
In 1980, he was released and on parole again. Once again, he started back down the path of crime and in 1981 that path was about to take him back to prison. To avoid prosecution or incarceration, Mr. Young absconded from parole in Rochester, New York.
For the next twenty-three years, Mr. Young would live under the assumed name of John Nevin in New York City, the Catskill Mountains, and Fort Lauderdale. He went from sleeping on park benches in Washington Square Park to sleeping in a penthouse in Fort Lauderdale. He evolved from being a beggar to being a contributor. He transformed from being a menace to society to becoming a productive member of his community. He went from running around in ghetto slum blighted neighborhoods to traveling throughout Europe. He evolved from a street hustler on the street corner and dingy backrooms to a prominent businessperson in boardrooms.
Mr. Young humbly said, “In those twenty-three years I met so many wonderful inspiring human beings, who were just being “human,” that it made me human. As a result, I may not be where I want to be, but I am a long way from where I used to be.” Mr. Young’s story of overcoming adversity is an inspiring challenge to us all and his story is one full of hope.
Read for yourself what students, teachers, professors, criminal justice, sociology professionals, and so many other are saying about I Wanted To be Bad and how it has touched their lives as well.
“My name is Nicole Diaz; I’m a senior at Grady High School in Atlanta, GA. We all have a story to tell and yours alone has really touched me. You quoted something in your book and it will stick with me for the rest of my life; "In order to get what you've never had, you may have to do what you've never done. Take pride in how far you've come, have faith in how far you can go. There is no chance, no fate, and no destiny that can circumvent, or hinder, or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." That really touched me and I’m very proud of your outcome, you have showed me it doesn’t matter where you come from its all about where you are going to end up. I thank you once again for taking your time to even write this book.” Nicole Diaz, senior Grady High School Atlanta, GA.
“James Young, thank you for the tools to help me overcome anything. Words could not explain how this book has not only changed me, but others as well. I Wanted To Be Bad teaches that when you are a rock stuck between a hard place that you still can become free. This was one of the most interesting books I have read because of the intensity of James Young’s desire to change. I Wanted To be Bad noted that people may say things negative, but you have the choice to listen or not to listen.” Maurice Newton, senior at Grady High School, Atlanta, GA.
“I Wanted To be Bad should be considered a sacred text. James Young’s I Wanted To be Bad has a whole lot of answers for young men and older men who need guidance. This book definitely shows how anyone can change his or her life for the better, no matter what condition it’s in. Everyone has heard that you can learn from your own mistakes, but many of us haven’t seen proof of how it works. Mr. Young shows us how learning from our worse mistakes can lead to our greatest successes. Many men, both young and old, believe that a rough and hard life is the way to live.
Mr. Young paints a vivid picture of his bad life and then denounces it with his achievements and successes, while demonstrating the correct path to follow. I definitely feel that this book should be a required read for all young people in high school.” Gabriel Crowe, senior at Henry W. Grady High School and future lawyer
"This book will teach you how to love. It has been said that love can be seen in the eyes of a child. Love can also be seen in the eyes of a man who wanted to be bad. Thank you for this heart-felt and encouraging story." Marilyn Harris, Publicist-Event planner, Jackson, MS
"Congratulations to James Young, aka John Nevin, for showing great courage in coming to terms with his criminal past and turning his life around. Through a thoughtful analysis of his errant thoughts and behavior earlier in life, he teaches us all that we can learn from mistakes and take responsibility for our actions -- even when being accountable is painful. Learning that the intelligence and foresight that enabled him to launch a viable business newspaper and to introduce countless small businesses to Internet technology and computer kiosk networking well before its time could be used to exalt him to unimaginable heights within the structure of society instead of being used in antisocial ways to keep him shackled and incarcerated outside of it, Mr. Young trumpets an important message: If you want to change the way you live, change the way you think. Take his advice. Break the chains. Use the power of positive psychology to expect great things for yourself and make your life soar! " E. Carol Webster, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist Fort Lauderdale
"Out of 10, I give this book an 8! Great reading and very inspiring." Commissioner C. Epps Commissioner of Prisons Mississippi
"The challenge that faces many young men today is the total misapplication of the understanding of manhood. James Young's book, I Wanted To Be Bad illustrates with a story of his life how this misapplication of manhood can have devastating consequences. Fortunately, for Mr. Young his life turns around. He completes a full circle to show how love, compassion, dedication, commitment, and a willingness to contribute to the well being of others yields far better results. I highly recommend this book." Captain Freddie McSears Jr. CEO, Author, Major Airline Pilot
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