Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - A Goomba's Guide to Life

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - A Goomba's Guide to Life

A Goomba's Guide to Life

    Select a Format:
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

Written by Steven R. SchirripaAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Steven R. Schirripa and Charles FlemingAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Charles Fleming


List Price: $11.99


On Sale: June 23, 2010
Pages: 256 | ISBN: 978-0-307-52893-3
Published by : Crown Archetype Crown Archetype

Audio Editions

Read by Steven R. Schirripa
On Sale: September 23, 2003
ISBN: 978-0-7393-0709-0
More Info...
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.

A Goomba's Guide to Life Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - A Goomba's Guide to Life
  • Email this page - A Goomba's Guide to Life
  • Print this page - A Goomba's Guide to Life
Categories for this book
This book has no tags.
You can add some at Library Thing.


Attention would-be paesans: Can’t distinguish “gabagool” from “pasta fazool”? Not sure how to properly accessorize your track suit with gold chains? Does the phrase “go to the mattresses” make you sleepy? Now Steven R. Schirripa, The Sopranos’ own Bobby Bacala, exposes the inner mysteries of this unique Italian-American hybrid in A Goomba’s Guide to Life so that anyone can walk, talk, and live like a guy “from the neighborhood.”

Über-goomba Steve Schirripa shows how being a goomba made him what he is today, offering lessons learned on his own journey from Bensonhurst to Vegas, and to his current gig as Bobby Bacala on one of TV’s most popular shows. Along the way, he shares secrets that will help you get in touch with your own inner goomba. You’ll learn what music to enjoy (Sinatra, yes; Snoop Dogg, no), what movies to watch (Raging Bull, yes; Titanic, never), which sports to follow (baseball is good; golf and tennis, fuhgeddaboudit), and even tips on goomba etiquette. Ever wonder how a real goomba gets the best seat in the house? (Hint: It involves tipping, jewelry, and intimidation.) Schirripa even includes goomba do’s and don’ts (never, ever criticize a goomba’s mother or her gravy; always wear more jewelry than you think you need).

With knockout photographs of Schirripa and his compares, and insider information on how to think goomba, speak goomba, cook and eat goomba, and even how to behave at goomba weddings and funerals, A Goomba’s Guide to Life will show any wiseguy wannabe how to sing like a Soprano.

From the Hardcover edition.


What's a goomba? Who's a goomba? What's the difference between a goomba and a gangster? What's the difference between a goomba and a regular Italian? Are there goombas in outher countries? Is there any such thing as a Jewish goomba, or a black goomba, or an Episcopalian goomba?

Keep your shirt on. I'm gonna lay it out for you here. This is the lesson on goomba.

A goomba is a certain kind of Italian-American, probably born on the east coast—New YOrk, New Jersey, Boston, Rhode Island—probably third generation from the old country. He's not a gangster. He's not a wise guy, or a made man, or a good fella, or a member of the Family—but he knows those guys, or guys like that, and some of them know him. He's Italian through and through, but he's a special kind of Italian-American hybrid. He's not old country Italian. There are no goombas in other countries, even Italy. There may be some kind of equivalent—some kind of tough guy from Iceland or Russia or somewhere—but the only true goomba is your Italian-American goomba.

You know the stereotype. It's the fat guy sitting at the corner social club, drinking espresso and playing cards and eating a big plate of soggy macaroni. He's got his napkin tucked into his collar. He's wearing a pair of baggy black pants, a pair of patent leather shoes, and one of those guinea shirts, the sleeveless T-shirts that some guys use as underwear. He has nine gold chains hanging from his neck. He's got pinky rings on all three pinkies. The look on his face says "Moron." This guy doesn't have a job, or maybe he's a petty criminal of some kind, because that's the only work he's smart enough to do. He's almost mobbed up. The only exercise he ever gets is maybe lifting some weights and hoisting that fork full of macaroni. If he talks, he only says something like, "What are you looking at?"

That's the cliché. And like every cliché, it's partly right. but I myself am a goomba—and I'm not any of that stuff. I'm a college graduate. I know how to read a book. I don't sit around all day playing cards and sucking garlic. I don't beat my wife. I've never been in jail. I don't play the ponies or the nubmers. I have never taken out a contract on anyone. But I'm a goomba, right to the heart, and I'm proud of it.

Some Italians take offense if you call them a goomba. Especially if you say it the wrong way. It's kind of like how a black guy can use the "N" word to another black guy. Or how a black guy can call his friend "blood." Or how a certain kind of hillbilly can call someone a "redneck," or how a guy from the Midwest can call someone an "Okie." You say it with a smile, you might get a laugh. You say it any other way, or you say it and you're not an Okie or a redneck yourself. . . you're gonna get your clock cleaned.

The word "goomba" itself is a little confusing. No one knows where it really comes from. Most people think it started off as the word "compadre," which is a term of respect. You can use it to refer to your godfather, your protector, your older cousin or older brother or uncle. From "compadre," it got shortened to "compa," which got twisted into "gomba," which got turned into "goomba."

If this sounds a little far fetched, you should know right now that goombas do that with words. Everything gets chopped up, chopped down and turned into a slang version of the original word. No goomba says "pasta e fagioli" when he means a soup made of noodles and beans. He says, "pasta fazool." No goomba says "mozzarella." It's always, "mozza-rell." No one says "proscuitto." It's just, "pro-shoot." Even English words get the treatment. No one says "one hundred dollars," when they mean $100. They may say, a c-note or "a hundge." As in, "I gave the guy a c-note," or, "This guys into me for two hundge." Even the word "wop" is supposed to be a short version of the Italian word "guapo," which means "handome." It started as a compliment, but it got turned into an insult. Some people even said WOP stands for without papers, a reference to their recent immigrant status.

That has almost happened with the word "goomba." When used by non-goombas, it can be a derogatory word. Along with some of those other derogatory words that ignorant people sometimes use to describe the goomba.

Goomba is not "wop." It's not "guinea." It's not "dago." These terms are always offensive to an Italian-American, whether he's a goomba or not. They are words used by non-Italians to insult Italians. It is not smart to do this. You shouldn't use these words around a goomba unless you are a masochist and have excellent health insurance. Somebody's gonna get hurt, and it ain't gonna be the goomba.

Better stick to "goomba," and better use it the right way.

From the Hardcover edition.
Steven R. Schirripa|Charles Fleming

About Steven R. Schirripa

Steven R. Schirripa - A Goomba's Guide to Life
Steven R. Schirripa, a native of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, is a six-season veteran of HBO’s The Sopranos, a correspondent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the host of Spike TV’s Casino Cinema. He has appeared in numerous TV shows and films. He is the coauthor (with Charles Fleming) of the national bestsellers A Goomba’s Guide to Life and The Goomba’s Book of Love and a children’s book, Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family. Steve Schirripa lives with his wife and two daughters in New York City.

Charles Fleming is the author of the novels The Ivory Coast and After Havana, and the nonfiction bestsellers High Concept and Three Weeks in October. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Los Angeles.

HBO® and The Sopranos® are service marks of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.

About Charles Fleming

Charles Fleming - A Goomba's Guide to Life
Charles Fleming has reported exclusively on the business of Hollywood for more than ten years--as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Variety, and Newsweek. As a freelance reporter, he has written extensively for Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, and TV Guide. He lives in Los Angeles.


“Finally, a Goomba guide for everyone that is one, knows one, or wants to be one. Steve Schirripa is a great storyteller with a touching and humorous story to tell.” -- James Gandolfini

“Before reading this book, who was I? Just another punk kid on the street trying to stay out of jail. Now I’m a rock star, an award-winning actor, and a DJ on my own radio show. Thank you, Stevie—I owe it all to you!” -- Stevie Van Zandt

“Put a gold chain on your neck, sit down on a plastic-covered couch, and then read what I think is the funniest book there is about Italians. Now have a cannoli and shut up.” -- Ray Romano

“Steve Schirripa is the best Italian writer since Maya Angelou and I’m not just saying that because he has
a gun to my head . . . okay, yes I am.” -- Chris Rock

“From one fat guy to another—and from a real goy to a real goomba—this book is hilarious!” -- Louie Anderson

“I laughed until I ate.” --Kevin James

“This book is a heartfelt celebration of Italian-American culture from a guy who really knows his macaroni. Congratulations, Steve. Salute!” -- Michael Imperioli

“Steve Schirripa’s A Goomba’s Guide to Life absolutely killed me, stuffed my body in the trunk of a Monte Carlo, and then dumped me in the river.” -- Bill Maher

From the Hardcover edition.

  • A Goomba's Guide to Life by Steven R. Schirripa and Charles Fleming
  • June 23, 2010
  • Humor
  • Crown Archetype
  • $11.99
  • 9780307528933

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: