Jeff Glor talks to Jon Friedman about "Forget About Today:Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Jon Friedman: I became disillusioned by the flood of inaccurate and pretentious Bob Dylan "biographies" as well as the silly theories about the meanings of his songs. I saw that authors had not attempted to write about what really matters: Dylan's genius for longevity, owing to his knack for re-invention and the related factors that enabled him to have a FIFTY-year career. He is still going strong, too. I've heard his upcoming album "Tempest" -- his 35th! -- and it is excellent. He sure has attained longevity, the quality we all want to achieve. I explain in "Forget About Today" how he has done it. I also want to inspire the readers to learn from Dylan's example so they can live more fruitful lives.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
JF: I was most surprised by how many big chances Bob Dylan took throughout his life -- start with JF: dropping out of a good school such as the University of Minnesota as a sophomore and embarking on an iffy career as a folk singer -- by moving across the country to Greenwich Village! Then, just as he was starting to catch fire, he walked off The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963 because he refused to be censored. How about going electric when he was the king of folk music -- or releasing an album ("Slow Train Coming") containing strictly songs about his shocking born-again status! Dylan has taken many, many chances throughout his career, and I admire him for trying to be innovative all the time.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
JF: I'd be playing shortstop for the New York Yankees -- sorry, Derek Jeter. You'd have to be the designated hitter because I can still "pick it!"
JG: What else are you reading right now?
JF: I am reading "A Long Way Down" by Nick Hornby, a terrific novel that I had to put it aside several times to do more Bob Dylan research or hand in a rewrite to my book editor. (Nick knows how it is)
JG: What's next for you?
JF: I'd like before too long to start working on another book, though I haven't settled completely on the topic. I am also the Media Web columnist for MarketWatch.com, and I think the media's treatment of the presidential candidates will be fascinating to chronicle.
For more on "Forget About Today" visit the Penguin Group website.