In the book You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish, how did the main character get to be where he is? What did he learn, and how can he improve his life moving forward?

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The author (Jimmy Lerner) committed murder, or manslaughter—depending on your conclusion based on the evidence presented at his trial.

The crime occurred after Lerner and his friend/lover, Slavin, went to Vegas for a getaway, checking in to the Sundowner hotel in 1998. In the hotel room, Lerner attacked Slavin, claiming the latter had threatened his family, and killed him with a belt and plastic bag. The author has made statements indicating he was acting in self-defense and was high on drugs, and he pled to voluntary manslaughter.

He was sentenced based on evidence that he did commit a crime, and the victim's sister later sued Lerner. The case reached the Nevada State Supreme Court, where it was dismissed. She was attempting to recoup any profits Lerner had made from the publication of his first book (You Got Nothing Coming).

Lerner claimed in his book that his victim was well over six feet tall and two hundred pounds; in reality, Slavin was 5'4" and slightly built. Other inconsistencies cast doubt on the crime being self-defense or manslaughter. For example, the police report noted that Lerner had no injuries except swollen hands.

Given the likelihood that Lerner has sociopathic tendencies, and the fact that he only served two and a half years of a twelve year sentence (he was paroled in 2002), it's unlikely he learned much. He states that drugs played a big part in his crime, so perhaps he learned to stay sober. It's also possible that reflecting on his crimes, as he did in the book, may have helped him turn his life around.

It would be interesting to know what Lerner has done with the money he earned from publication of You Got Nothing Coming.

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You Got Nothing Coming, Notes From a Prison Fish is the memoir of an ordinary man who got sucked into prison life after committing voluntary manslaughter. According to author Jimmy Lerner's versions of events, he and Mark Slavin were visting Reno, Nevada when Slavin assaulted Lerner in their hotel room, threatened his daughters and attempted to kill him. Lerner then killed Slavin with a belt and plastic bag, implying that he acted out of self defense. 

During his time in prison, Lerner learned how to adapt to prison life. This included slang, social dynamics and how he ended up identifying with the most hardened criminals within the system. Lerner is now on parole and free to pursue a life outside of a jail cell. He can now go on a journey of self improvement and move away from the rampant consumerism and empty corporatism that caused his life to spiral out of control in the first place. 

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