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4.3 out of 5 stars
Vidal: The Autobiography
Format: HardcoverChange
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2010
I had been slightly put off autobiographies after reading some fairly dire efforts, for example Freddie Flintoff's, but decided to buy this one as Vidal sounded like an interesting character; and I haven't been disappointed. He has had an amazing life, from a very humble upbringing to becoming a worldwide hairdressing success, rubbing shoulders with some amazing star names from the 60s and 70s along the way; some hilarious accounts of the 60s London scene are a particular highlight. So if you are looking for a well-written inspirational life journey, look no further than Vidal: he's done it all!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2010
I was trained as a haircutter in the Vidal Sassoon technique by hairdressers who also trained at Vidal Sasson. I worked at Crimpers in Baker Street London so this was a fascinating insight into how Vidal began his fabulous career. Born in the East End of London in a poor Jewish home Vidal had to go into an orphange with his brother in Bethnal Green for a number of years as his family were so poor. His mother insisted he train as a hairdresser which he reluctantly did. In between he fought in the Jewish war in the late 60s in Israel.

I found this a very interesting and discreet biography as Vidal did not share any intimate secrets of his many famous clients. Yet at the same time it was an insight into how his cutting genius evovled and how the Vidal Sasson empire blossomed. I wish I had know when I was haircutting that Vidal rewarded those who worked hard and were talented. This clearly provided many opportunities for many top hairdressers.

Vidal was married a number of times and he obviously met many beautiful ladies in his salons. That he 'loves his wife with a tenderness he had never known before' (his words)is a memorable insight into the man. He comes across as a warm and likeable man who clearly enjoyed meeting many people around the world because of his ability as an innovative haircutter. As an ex haircutter it was particularly interesting to learn how Vidal's reluctant career began and how his empire expanded around the globe. In time his partners sold off the business - something he never anticipated would happen - although the brand name of his salons and products remain. A well written biography chronicling the life of a very interesting man who is still thriving at 82. Sotirios Christou
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2011
This is a glossy rags to riches story that covers Vidal's early years in the East End of London, his early days training to be a hairdresser, National Service, the building of an empire, and along the way, models, fashion designers (particularly Mary Quant), film stars, photographers, artists, family and his jewish faith and love for Israel. This is a very postive book, but I feel only scrapes the surface of his amazing life.
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on 30 December 2013
I started reading this half way through a haircut at Vidal Sassoon's as it was laying on the side. I bought a copy as I knew nothing of the man and thought I should considering I was getting my haircut at his place!

It's a surprisingly good read. Without giving too much away the story starts with Vidal in East London growing up during World War 2 in almost poverty, his mother eventually puts him into a orphanage. Later he fights Fascism on the streets of London before joining the Israeli Defence force and fighting in the Arab Israeli war. During all of this he's flirting with the idea of cutting hair and eventually starts off as an apprentice, moving from barbers to barbers all over london honing his skills and creating his own looks. Eventually he opens his first salon and starts to get real recognition mainly from the work he produced for the fashion shows on the catwalks and magazines. Along the way he rubs shoulders with countless movie stars and celebrities all the while growing his business nationally and internationally.

I like this autobiography as it gives you a glimpse of London 70-80 years ago and shows you how much the people and places have changed.

Vidal shows us you can go far with drive, determination and hardwork. Inspiring stuff. Thumbs up.
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on 22 July 2012
I Love this book the way Vidal writes with such truthfulness and gravity. Humour often aimed at himself as he looks back at the young boy he used to be. I have been carried along on this full often extremely tough journey. My heart went out to Mrs Sassoon I think of now as Betty !! as though I were there on the friday passover supper nights they enjoyed so much later when her eldest boy was able to make life so much easier for her and the family. The hardship she had to endure ,in the unforgiving period of the late twenties and thirties . Desserted by a heartless husband she has to send first her eldest son Vidal at five years old to an orphanage her youngest son on reaching five followes. No welfare state existed to offer help or protection from the harsh grinding poverty of vulnerable people. This background makes Vidals achievements all the more amazing. This book is one I wiill not forget especially as I was one of the young girls who arrived in my turn at Bond Street in 1963 to have my wonderful modern haircut and I was prepared to wait for it however long it took, after work 5.30 appointment sometimes didnt get out till 8pm but it was all happening in there the joint was jumping . Excellent book highly recommended.
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on 6 February 2012
I am in the hair and beauty industry and have grown up around hairdressing infulenced by the master of cuts Vidal Sassoon.
I would say that this would appeal to not only hairdressers but people wanting to recall 60's trendy london.
It mentions many famous people and so is more of a self indulgent look back at his crazy life.

Much respect to the guy he has obviously worked his socks off and came from a very poor upbringing. But it really highlighted to me just how much more difficult it is now to become so successful in the hairdressing world as everyone wants to be famous.
Very interesting read.
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on 10 January 2013
I love biogs so this was an Interesting read if rather slow, he was obviously a character and met some amazing people and you get an insight into that in the book. I downloaded from kindle and didn't realize I got the text only version until I was on holiday. Was able to look at it on my i pad also which showed all the pictures after I'd read it.
Ok if you want something light to read on holiday
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on 16 June 2012
As I was one of the first people to get the 5 point short haircut in Vidal Sassoon's Bond Street salon, I was naturally interested in reading this man's own version of his road to success and thereafter, which he wrote only a few years before he died. I recommend this book to people of a certain age - they know who they are.
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on 8 August 2014
Loved, loved this book. I thought he wrote from the heart but didn't gloss over the difficult parts of his life. In the seventies when I first lived in NYC, went to one of his saloons as I didn't know where else to go. They cut my hair with panache and I remained faithful while I lived there.
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on 6 December 2011
Vidal Sasson is my idol. I have to say, the book is so much better than the film. It's funny, interesting but it also has some great advice for beginners in the hairdressing industry! I first borrowed it from the library, but then i decided i MUST have this book on my shelfs, forever.
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