I must admit that I have never been the greatest fan of Simon Cowell which is mainly due to his political perspective and has less to do with his Mr Nasty image and persona on Television. However, on reading this book, I still think his image is overrated and now I know why. In a sense, Simon Cowell has been typecast to some extent that he has always been known as the harsh judge off X factor or American Idol, but what other people have said about him in this book makes you realise that he is far removed from that off screen.
Nonetheless, personally speaking, I think his persona on screen is not an act, he is just being honest and true to 'himself, which is probably what most people admire him for'. The book in my view is an insightful look into Cowell's background of coming from a rich and affluent family with a sort of bratty childhood and upbringing that helped him to become the strong-minded, and the very successful and the popular individual he is today. Chas Newkey-Burden writing style is very eloquent and readable and I read the book in a few hours and I found Simon Cowell's early life of growing up near Elstree Studios, his first business, his first ever kiss, being expelled from school and working as a Runner for Stanley Kubrick after he (Kubrick) bought the Cowell family home very enlightening on what things in life shaped him. So, such an upbringing of being brought up within family that had strong roots are very important and hence his love of finer things of life and then his personal (intimate) relationships and how he overcome those hardships in those areas of his life.
The second strand of the book covers his professional growth/development and his meteoric rise to stardom, This biography covers all aspects of Simon Cowell's rise to fame and fortune, from Pop Stars to X factor and how he 'conquered' America's Got Talent from 2002/2006 onwards up to more recent times in 2010.
I believe that as to why has Simon Cowell has had so much unparalleled success in the Music industry is due to his first taste of success he achieved in the Music Industry after his Father (who worked for EMI) got him a job at EMI Music Publishing in the Mail Room. The nature of the work meant that Cowell had to sift through thousands of songs in the American Catalogue and it was slow work that required a lot patience and focus on the many hundreds of styles/genres of music and the other sub-genres and off-shoots. Therefore, Cowell had to decide which UK singer(s) and band(s) might be good fits for each song. In short, Cowell became an unrivaled authority on the EMI International Catalogue. Cowell was a quick learner and he eventually met up with some people from A&R other labels, and soon his formula was working so well that - within weeks he had nearly twenty songs tied-up with artists from other labels. To paraphrase, Newkey-Burden as outlined, at pages 35-36: "...It was the first time moment that Cowell proved, not least to himself, that he could make it in the Music business..." This for me, was the key defining moment for Cowell and for his air of confidence and his persona that can be traced back to this moment on that he had arrived in the Music business and there was no turning back. Over the years and decades he has continued to portray this persona of self-belief and confidence that he is in fact, an unrivaled authority in the music business across the globe. Obviously, there is always some one better than you and that is how life is the real world.
Overall this book sheds some light on why life has been so kind to Simon Cowell (mainly due to his background and upbringing) and apart from some of the knock-backs and failures I/we all face and sometimes come across in life and I/we get up and bounce-back more determined than ever and this is exactly what he has done.
To conclude, then, it is not surprising that in 2008, in a children Poll named Cowell: 'the most famous person in the world' The answer is laughable and maybe due to the fact that he brought the Teletubbies and the Mighty Morphin Rangers and among other things to our TV screens during the 1990s and beyond. A must have/buy book!