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Bono Live on Music and Life
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Michka Assayas (foreword by Bono)
Bono (in conversation with Michka Assayas) (NY:  Riverhead, 2006.  387p.)

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The French journalist Michka Assayas compiled his interviews with Bono from 2001- 2005 into this book.  You will gain insights into the music industry and into the personal life, spiritual and professional, of this famous member of the rock group U2.

Bono's real name Paul David Hewson.  We learn from other sources that "'Bono' was a nickname given to him by one of his friends in high school."  In this collection of interviews, Bono provides personal insights into many of the personalities he relates to in the worldwide music business.  He is not apologetic about his spiritual perspectives, and tells here how he attempts to take the teachings of Jesus seriously and work to bring real change into the world through his values.

He tells how he has dealt with the challenges of the music industry and other aspects of life while bucking the trend in the entertainment and music industry, while still leading one of the most successful music groups in history.  I was impressed with the mature concept Bono has of worship.  His concept of life is that everything is worship and thus every interaction and every act is sacred.

I learned here details of his work with heads of state all over the world in dealing with common problems facing humanity:  AIDS, energy and environmental problems, famine, injustice, economic oppression and disadvantage, and other practical aspects of life.  His humanitarian campaigning worldwide has led to the nickname of St Bono in certain circles.  Bono has been personally honored on a grand scale at national and international levels, including the honor of Knight of the British Empire (Great Britain) and the French Legion of Honor.

Gratitude and Confidence
Very strong is Bono's lack of pretention.  He thinks not to think he is better than anyone else, and expresses thanks for the people he has known and success he has experienced.  He has a strong sense of self and humility.  The former gives him an independent strength and confidence to do what he thinks is right, rather than follow the crowd.  He seems to feel no compulsion to please the public or his music colleagues to his own detriment.

The latter seems to make him accesssible, make him aware he is one more human in the wondrous life God has given us to share and enjoy.  He eschews the sense of entitlement that is often seen in show business personalities.

Bono expresses a strong sense of kinship to the common person and the disadvantaged.  His speech includes an aura of thankfulness which seems to engender a generosity and compassion for others who have not had economic advantage.  Bono has become known for his advocacy of the poor, the economically disadvantaged, those suffering from natural disasters.

Worship in Work
He declares that they realize when they do their work of writing, developing and performing their music, they are worshipping.  Bono explains his view that they do not have to write "religious" lyrics or sing only about "religious" themes.  However, on the other hand, U2 have taken some hits flack from critics, and sometimes fans, over their overt faith-oriented lyrics and themes.

This is an informative and insightful work.  It is written simply as a dialogue, the transcript of the actual interviews, with dramatic cues to fill in the picture.  We see Bono meeting and talking informally with Assayas in different locales and venues.  There are scenes at home, on tour, in coffee shops, in hotels, at shows.  We are invited into the sights and sounds of Paris, New York, London, and other locations where Bono and U2 are on tour or meeting with world leaders or speaking to the UN.

The interviews cover the full range of life and business of U2 and Bono's various business enterprises, all oriented to improving the life of the disadvantaged persons and nations of the world.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[review] The Blues Backstory
[review] The Carnival of Life
[review] Music, Race and Society
[Review] Texas Roots in American Music

Related on the Internet:
Bono, My Hero

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First review notes written 5 November 2009
Review finalized and posted to Amazon and OJTR 8 November 2009
Last edited 28 February 2022

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2009, 2022 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Please give credit and link back.  Other rights reserved.

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