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Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,583 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
For the first time ever, Bono-the biggest rock star in the world-tells his life story.
Bono's career is unlike any other in rock history. As the lead singer of U2, Bono has sold 130 million albums, won fourteen Grammys, and played numerous sold-out world tours, but he has also lobbied and worked with world leaders from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to Nelson Mandela on
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 21st 2005 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published January 1st 2005)
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Jan 04, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Okay, Bono is just incredible as we all know. I am interested in him as a person because I admire his work, both musically and on behalf of those in poverty. He is a role model to me, strange as it may seem, because I usually have female role models. I have to say, that after reading this book, I want to know more about his wife, Ali. She is phenomenal, too. Bono and I don't have much in common, except the Irish blood coursing through our veins. But that is huge to me! Growing up Irish in the 70 ...more
Sep 17, 2010 hadashi rated it really liked it
I'm glad that what this taught me is that a person who isn’t trying to be someone whitewashed and politically correct, whose faith is messy and out there but full of realness, balls-out craziness, and has a keen ear for God’s heart can really change the world.
quotes that stuck: “You know, celebrity is ridiculous. It’s silly, but it’s a kind of currency, and you have to spend it wisely.”
On Christmas: “The idea that God...the force of Love and Logic in the universe, that it would seek to explain
Nov 22, 2010 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
The reason this book stands out is because Assayas doesn't keep his journalistic distance but presses into his friend and asks him the tough questions. He presses Bono on not speaking about Africa for over a decade and points out to him that colonialism in France was left-wing and championed by humanitarians. Bono doesn't really respond and dismisses the idea of irresponsible borrowing by African nations at one point but he does admit that aid created worse conditions and has propped up despots ...more
Faith Spinks
I found this to be a fascinating read and thoroughly inspiring on a good number of occasions as well. I remain torn between 4 and 5 stars. My ideal would be 4.5, so I have gone for the generous option.

The interview format of the book made it different to a standard biography but worked well at creating an atmosphere of closeness to Bono, as if you were there for the conversations with them. This was especially well created by Michka's simple scene setting for many of the interviews along the way
Nov 29, 2015 daniel rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the conse ...more
Daniel Taylor
Apr 02, 2011 Daniel Taylor rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: U2/Bono fans, Christians
First, let me say that I'm not a fan of Bono or U2. I don't mean that I actively dislike them, what I do mean is that most of their songs don't grab me. Bono has bleeped on my radar more for his social justice work than anything else.

It's aimed at the fans, going to depth on Bono's thoughts on everything from politics and philosophy to the ups and downs of life in the band.

It's well-ordered and Michka Assayas asks the tough questions. Bono clearly prefers to avoid some topics, trying to go off o
Josh McConnell
Feb 02, 2009 Josh McConnell rated it it was amazing
Bono is a smart, intellectual man. Sure, he can go a little overboard in hyping new U2 albums, but that doesn't mean he has a brilliant mind. His everyday words are poetic. The press loves it when he speaks because he gives fantastic soundbytes left, right and center.

All of this being said, Bono: In Conversation is a brilliant concept. It's like a biography, only it is done completely in Q&A interview format. You truly get a look inside the man's thoughts and ideas. I couldn't put it down.
Jun 27, 2013 Jan rated it it was amazing
It's not often I write about a book I have read but this one is extraordinary. After having a 'love affair' with Bono and U2 over the years I now know why. Bono (and The Edge) are very spiritual people in the best way. If Bono had been the priest at my church in my youth I may still be attending because he speaks of the faith, the charity and the faults that we as humans should have as a part of our life. Not fire and brimstone and hatred. His own inner beliefs are laid out for all to see - the ...more
David A.
Jul 27, 2011 David A. rated it it was amazing
It's hard to communicate how thoroughly I appreciated this book. My wife (or was it my mother-in-law?) bought it for me about six years ago, but I didn't read it till the week before I saw U2's last US stop on their 360 tour, in Pittsburgh. Having just read up on Bono's theology, his philosophy of art, his political philosophy, his memories of thirty years with the band, I was set up for a particularly immersive concert experience. Bono reflects repeatedly on the "moral force" of the issues he's ...more
Aug 29, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this review first appeared on []

for a long time i've held a kind of ambition to meet bono. i guess that is a fairly cliche ambition, but there it is. a wave of excitement swept through new zealand a few months ago - U2 were returning after about 12 years of absence. people went crazy paying amazing prices for tickets on internet auction sites, queued through the night, and spent hours trying to buy tickets online. in the event, for now we have all been treated to a
Aug 23, 2011 Tonya rated it really liked it
I've spent a long time reading this book of interviews with Bono. I found it really enlightening in a spiritual sense-- something I didn't expect. I've always admired the man so it's really nice to read about his faith, his love of family, and his conflicting desire to be both a rock star and to save the world. I do admit, however, that the first 3/4 of the book is more interesting than the last quarter. I don't necessarily blame Bono for this, though. The author focused more on the personal ear ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Sabkymom rated it really liked it
After seeing the U2 360 Chicago concert, I was curious to understand Bono. Who is he? What inspires him? How did he move from fledgling Irish pub band singer to international rock star and humanitarian?

Presented in magazine interview format, this book is a very intimate look at Bono's life, his beliefs, world politics, music history and how they all shaped the man and his continuing mission. Many passages are deep and moving. You can't help but be in awe of the artist who has experienced so much
Phil Whittall
May 17, 2016 Phil Whittall rated it liked it
I’ve long been a fan of the music of U2, I like their big themes, big sound and big personality and they’ve always been unafraid to address the spiritual, I have most if not all their albums and saw them live at Wembley Stadium in the summer of 97.

Now I’ve just finished reading ‘Bono on Bono – conversations with Michka Assayas‘ and to be honest I loved it! First because it’s essentially the transcript of conversations it is eminently readable. Secondly because Bono has a sense of humour and does
Sep 25, 2011 Nanci rated it really liked it
A great book that is probably better than me, in that I took off a star for all the Africa-centric-ness of the last quarter. I'm fully in support of Bono's work there, and think it is inspiring to see someone doing so much for those who have so little, but at the same time, I admit my mind wanders after too long reading about debt reduction, trade, etc. The first 3/4 of the book are a bit more personal, which is more appealing to me.
David Grönlund
Apr 18, 2016 David Grönlund rated it really liked it
A nice portrait of a seemingly both complex and simple musician. Surprisingly the two main topics is rather Africa and God than music. With music as more of the topic that binds the other together.

He comes forth as an intellectual that has studied or at least read quite a bit and a lot of his knowledge seem to come from meeting people with great knowledge. Many of the descriptions of meetings with world leaders is quite humorous.

In the context of W Bush being president - he criticizes the lefti
Oct 20, 2015 Randy rated it it was amazing
Although others will say that this is not true, I can honestly say that I do not believe I have ever heard a U2 song. Since starting this book, I've listened to snippets of their songs on the iTunes store, and really do not recognize any of them...although I certainly have not listened to all of them.

So, that being said, this book taught me so much about Bono. I was drawn to it because I read a brief article about him in the Wall Street Journal, which talked a bit about his Christian faith.

I rea
Oct 10, 2007 Genéa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
What I found profound about this interview with Bono is how comfortable he is with who he is and how it has allowed him to transcend any boundaries or obstacles. It's very, very philosophical about life, values and spirituality. To refuse to read it because you don't like U2 is misguided. To read it because you want a history of U2 is also misguided. (It really isn't about U2.)
Charles Harris
I picked this book up in my local Oxfam shop, and wondered why it was there. Sadly I soon found out.

I'm sure Bono is a great guy, and he has some very interesting things to say here. However, the generally anodyne air and the lack of any seriously challenging questions from his friend Assayas don't help give us any real sense of the man behind the name.

The overall thinness of the book, despite its length at over 300 pages, is not helped by the remarkable lack of information. If you're a U2 fan,
Sep 09, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This book did not disappoint--this is a celebrity who takes his causes very seriously and knows a lot about them, enough to debate with and influence some of the most powerful politicians in the world, all from the perspective of a strong Irish tenacity and faith. There's great insight into U2's music, too.
Debbie Jo
Aug 04, 2007 Debbie Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone curious about Bono
A rare look into the life of Bono. He has said that talking with Michka Assayas for this book was like therapy for him. His insights are open and shed light on both his political and personal life. He comes across as so much more than just a rockstar...but then we knew that already didn't we!
Jan 11, 2015 Natalie rated it really liked it
I found it very interesting and insightful, although it's an older book (2004)it has a lot of relevance today, when it comes to foreign aid for Africa, etc. I would love to know his thoughts about the time since then...
Neil Coulter
Apr 22, 2016 Neil Coulter rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any U2 fan
Shelves: u2, non-fiction
In doing research for an upcoming chapter about U2, this book has been high on my priority list. However, I've procrastinated reading it, I think because I worried that once I read this one, I might know all I need to, or maybe even some facts that sit uncomfortably with what I expect to write. It's a strange attitude, I know, but that's how I was feeling anytime I glanced over at this book on the shelf, waiting for me.

Well, now I've read it and I'm really glad. Other than U2 by U2, this is by f
Oct 22, 2011 Darlene rated it really liked it
My husband introduced me to the music of U2 in the mid-80s and I've been a fan ever since. I wasn't sure what to expect from reading this book. Usually, conversations with rock stars aren't that fulfilling to read. This book was a wonderful surprise. It is written as conversations between Bono and a musical journalist named Michka Assayas.. who, as it turned out, is also a friend. They speak about his family... the death of his mother when he was 14, his father and their complicated relationshi ...more
Sep 13, 2009 John rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable and enlightening read. It is fascinating to see someone of his celebrity in the world offer such candid and reflective conversation on topics like his commitment to Jesus Christ and his passion for working on the terrible circumstances in Africa. His ability to offer interesting and at times in-depth analysis on these and other matters heightens my respect for the guy. Bono also offered some heartfelt reflection on his father, a man who seems to have been a hard man, but a ...more
Feb 01, 2011 Pete rated it liked it
This book is a string of conversations that the author had with Bono. Very in-depth and personal. A quick read. I'm sure if I was a huge U2 fan I would have given it a 5 star rating.

I'm not really into the whole conversation style as I think it loses a bit of its punch. The author Assayas leads Bono into talking about the whole history of U2, which bored me to death. However, I doubt there is a book that gets up so close and personal with Bono. I loved his thoughts on his childhood, his work in
Feb 06, 2013 Kaysi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
This was my third time reading this book, and I'd forgotten just how much Bono fascinates me. I enjoyed it this time more than ever because after having my own worldview transformed and solidified over the past year, I was able to recognize a lot of my own perspectives in what Bono has to say. It may be a strange thing to say, but I think this rock star has a better understanding of--and does a better job of representing--God's Kingdom in this world than many (if not most) well-known "Christian" ...more
M. Matheson
Aug 14, 2013 M. Matheson rated it it was amazing
I've never read a biography done quite like Michka Assayas has done of one of what will prove one of history's largest, not meaning flamboyant or showy, personalities. I think Bono will prove in the end to be one history's biggest champions for the poor. It is amazing how many ears Bono has got hold of. Not only through his music, but in the political arena. From President Bill Clinton to Archbishop Desmond Tutu the book tells many stories of developing relationships which Bono seems to value ab ...more
Dec 03, 2015 Sistermagpie rated it it was ok
I know very little about Bono or U2 beyond, you know, recognizing their songs. My grade probably shouldn't be taken as a real judgment of the book so much as what it's like to read about conversations between people you don't know about things you only vaguely recognize that aren't really explained. (Not that you really want them to be!)
Nov 25, 2008 Chandra rated it it was amazing
GREAT book, and an interesting way to get into Bono's mind. As he says repeatedly in his conversations, he would never write such a book himself, so it's great to have his thought process and perspective coaxed out of him by a good friend. Such an amazing mind, full of curiosity, inspiration, wonder for the world, and compassion for the poorest among us. The array of literary quotes at his disposal are impressive, and his sense of humor positively gleeful (Mischka needs to release his recordings ...more
Jun 08, 2012 Matthijs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Een boek waarin Michka Assayas een groot aantal gesprekken die hij in een aantal jaar met Bono had vrij letterlijk weergeeft. Bono is eerlijk, grappig, soms vervelend of belerend, maar de interactie met de interviewer zorgt voor interessant leesmateriaal. Het boek is soms knullige vertaald naar het Nederlands, waardoor het aan leesplezier inboet.
Of je nu een devoot Bono-vereerder bent of een apert Bono-hater, dit boek zal je beeld waarschijnlijk behoorlijk nuanceren. Voor iedereen daar tussenin
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“It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw.” 26 likes
“The ones whose light will remain with me long after they have burnt out are the ones that had grace. Because it's rare that the gift comes with grace. Some of the biggest arseholes I've ever met are the most gifted. Because it's "pretty girl" syndrome. Being gifted is like being born beautiful. You don't have to work a day in a year in your life for it. You were born with it. In one sense, it's like blue blood, money, gift, or beauty. They are the things that should make you the most humble, because they are not the things you have earned. They are the things you were given. Yet, it is my experience that they male people the most spoiled. And the people who work the hardest, and who have overcome the most obstacles on their life, who have reason to beat their breasts are the most humble, sometimes. I can't get over that. it's bewildering to me. To make it through success and still have manners, to still have curiosity, intellectual curiosity, to still have some grace, to keep your dignity, that is really... rare.” 20 likes
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