I Don't Mean To Be Rude, But ...

Simon Cowell

Part memoir, part extended self-justification, part manual ... all ego

For every successful singer, there are hundreds who didn't make it. This applies in all fields, of course. It's tempting to look at the winners and conclude that whatever characteristics they possess are the reason for their success; tempting, but largely wrong. Just because Simon Cowell, who just happens to be very blunt ("rude", "honest", "tactless" - all euphemisms for the same thing), has done well, doesn't mean this is necessarily the reason for his success.

Since, like most successful people, he is unwilling to give enough credit to luck, Cowell has decided that it is this feature that has contributed most to his success. But, to gather from the amount of time he spends justifying his behaviour, he's still not really comfortable with it. When he's not doing this, he's patting himself on the back for having such wonderful insight into the public's taste.

What's interesting to note is what isn't present in the book: much evidence of a love of music. There are occasional glimpses (he's a big fan of disco), but when he does discuss what he considers to be good music, it's mostly in the context of how successful it was or what it achieved for the singer's career.

Biggest unintentional comedy moment: given a list of ten then-current celebrity relationships, Cowell (having just controversially declared that some celeb affairs are only done for the publicity - gasp!) decides whether they are merely PR fodder or "true love". Those in "true love", according to the oracle, include Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, and Madonna and Guy Ritchie. Only one of the couples, the Beckhams, are still together. Beyonce and Jaz-Z are described as "dubious". Still, one out of ten is probably a reasonable hit rate in the pop world.

I picked this up for free and despite having only seen the briefest of glimpses of Pop Idol or other schlock, I found it interesting, as a pop fan, to read about the behind-the-scenes machinations. The book itself is well-written and well-tailored to its likely audience. As such, I doubt that it was actually written by Cowell himself, but no-one else is listed. Still, a quick and interesting read.

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