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Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,434 ratings  ·  137 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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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
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 3 of 5 stars
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
Daniel Taylor
Apr 02, 2011 Daniel Taylor rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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.
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.
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
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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
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
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
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
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.
Oct 10, 2007 Genéa rated it 4 of 5 stars
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,
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.
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...
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Heidi Miller
I loved this book. He is such a brilliant, articulate, talented, thoughtful human being. It was fun to see a bit of his clever humor. He is really good at answering the tough questions and Michka was not afraid to ask them. He is definitely more than a rock star.
A fascinating man and artist. This book was enlightening as to Bono's character and history, and often thought-provoking in more generally applicable ways. I wonder a bit about how much editorial control he exerted over the final text and the picture it paints. A common theme Michka hammers at repeatedly in different ways in his questions is "Who/where is the "real" Bono?" We get glimpses, and good glimpses in some cases, but not sure if we really get it all in some ways. Still an enjoyable and ...more
Silvestre Cubillan
Great and personal!!
Rexcrisanto Delson
As a huge fan of U2, I couldn't pass this book up when I saw it on the book shelf at Borders. Michka's conversations with Bono were surreal. It provided insights into a man that I've admired since first hearing his band's "Boy" album back in the early 80s. Topics covered are very diverse. Whether it is about fashion, Aids activism, father-son-relationship, fellow band members; Michka does an excellent job in revealing the man behind the glasses. In addition to being insightful, I also found it e ...more
This book helped get me hyped for the U2 concert we went to see in Cardiff. While I'm a fan of U2 I didn't really know that much about Bono or the other members of the band. The book is several conversations that Bono had with Michka, a friend of his who is a journalist in the music industry. The flowing format made it an easy and interesting read. I enjoyed the glimpses the conversations gave into the life of Bono and his work with U2 as well as AIDS and Africa.
Cheryl S.
For a while now I have been intrigued by the rock star, Bono, even though I am not very familiar with the music of U2. This book is not a true memoir, but rather the recording of a series of conversations between Bono and the author, Michka Assayas. I enjoyed the format as well as gaining some understanding of this man who appears to be a cross between rock star, Irish shaman, visionary, and a social conscious. All in all a very enteraining read.
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