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on 4 December 2015
This was a gift for a family member. The item went down extremely well and the recipient loved it. Item arrived on time and with no issue.
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2011
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, and the thought of a few hundred pages of celebrity interviews filled me with a certain amount of dread, but it really surprised me and was hugely entertaining. The numerous interviews are divided into categorized sections, then often broken up into small chunks, so rather than having say a ten page interview with Chuck Berry it is divided into five shorter sections, each a couple of pages long. The book has also been very well edited, so rather than featuring complete, rambling interviews covering several subjects Strauss has chosen to include only the most interesting, revealing and entertaining sections. The majority of the interviewees appear to enjoy their time with Strauss, particularly Chuck Berry and Lady Gaga, but there are a few notable troublemakers who need to learn some communication skills, such as The Neptunes.

The book is also very nicely designed, each chapter having a cover page which looks almost like a title card from a silent movie, and there are numerous sketches of the participants dotted throughout. Due to the structure of the book this is also a great book for dipping into - pick it up, read a page or so, then put it down again, but the fragmented approach of some of the interviews also makes it unputdownable at times.

If I have any criticisms I'd have liked a better index at the back. The book features a list of the interviewees but shows tiny versions of the sketches from the text rather than their names, and there is an index of subjects at the very end rather than of those involved, which is fine if you want to know which pages feature references to drugs, rubber pants, dogs etc. but not if you want to find all of the mentions of a particular person.

All in all this was a surprisingly enjoyable read, often surprising, sometimes moving, always entertaining.
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on 15 April 2011
This is a book that will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in celebrity culture. It is a shame that Neil has often become the poster boy for "pick up artists" and everyone places an expectation for him to fulfil his role as some kind of sage for the lonely. This is not a follow-up to The Game but is rather at first glance a collection of his superb writing for "Rolling Stone" and other publications principally as a music journalist.

He is probably the finest of his craft around at the moment and the book takes the format of excerpts from interviews that often capture celebrity behaviour at its most candid. There are so many moments that will change your perceptions on celebrity as a concept and make you realise that many of these people have real difficulties or problems just like those who have no fame. Strauss captures and asks how people deal with these problems. Some turn to drink, some turn bitter, while others simply write him angry letters telling him to f-off!

It would have been a great read if he had simply compiled these in order of their star status alone to make it more appealing to the casual reader. Instead he has intellegently structured the book into various themes, with appropriate narration along the way to highlight their relevance to the reader. The end result is a dense patchwork of life-stories that hold lessons for us all on how to approach life and work to acheive personal goals.

This book is entertaining, thought-provoking and above all really good fun. I do have favourite moments but they are probably too shocking to repeat here!
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on 6 March 2015
What happens when you put the word “Famous” in front of the word “People?” Do they often automatically turn into raving egomaniacs? This 500+ pages suggests in so many ways that one shouldn’t expect too much of pop stars, hip-hop stars and even well-grounded folk like David Bowie and Trent Reznor don’t exactly turn into sparkling conversationalists. Some, like Brian Wilson, seemingly can’t converse without prompts from his wife, but going by the amount of drug-taking that accompanies stardom so often why should we expect our stars to glitter? We like them for the music don’t we? We have a grasp of the situation. Some of us still thank them for the music, some of us are still under the spell of our favourites – we just don’t make a big production of it any more. And in this series of interviews some of them still make sense. (Just a few). I didn’t read every interview because I quickly grasped these people were all saying the same thing. If they weren’t they were mostly incomprehensible, like the Jane’s Addiction band member who wants to programme his own zombie and shoot people into the atmosphere so they could float back down to earth. To be honest there’s so much garbage in this book that I’m surprised that Neil Strauss managed to get a few decent interviews. I also didn’t read the interviews of people I’d never heard of. I’d recommend you give this a miss unless, like me, you are a damaged completist. It will seriously mess with your head.

Strauss has done a strange thing anyway, by mixing up the quotes from interviews, and very few of them, as a result sound even halfway coherent. Still, handy to have around even if you only use it for a doorstop.
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This is a great book to dip into and out of, as well as being beautifully structured so readable in a short space of time. There will be interviews with people you've already heard of and are a fan of, interviews with people you don't like, and interviews with people you were previously unaware of. All of these interviews are woven together wonderfully. Neil's ability as an interviewer means he gets great stories and he talks to people who are obscure or usually reluctant to do interviews. If I wasn't busy already I'd like to be Neil Strauss, it sounds like he had fun talking to some of these people. I especially loved the epilogue, where Neil puts together a list of instructions for living, based on other people's commonly made mistakes.
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on 6 November 2012
This was an average read. It started well, but after the first 100 pages it began to get a bit tedious. There were a lot of interviews with Z-Celebrities, complete unknowns - they could have been interviews with anyone!
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on 24 December 2012
Snippets and insights from many interviews - entertaining, good for dipping in to. There is some lack of coherence - but when there are so many interviewees, that is not a surprise.

A good read
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on 31 January 2012
There are loads of stories about people I love (Zep, Nirvana etc) and there are loads of great stories about people I don't love (Britney etc). However, everything is in bitesize chunks (or should that be "sit down for a jobby" sized chapters) so you're never bored to tears by page after page of recording studio techniques (like your typical rock biog). If you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down- but when you do, remember to wash your hands!
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on 20 October 2012
Lady Gaga is a lot more interesting than her music, Bruce Springsteen really is the Boss even though he doesn't act like one and Snoop Dogg is much smarter than his English makes him seem like.
Neil Strauss might be one of the greatest music journos.
Recommend it as top 5 on the list of anyone interested in pop culture and entertainment.
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on 22 April 2014
I haven't read the book yet it it was delivered within the specified time and was well packaged. The transaction was painless from the moment I clicked checkout so I'm grateful and I'm sure as it's Neil Strauss I'll have a good read when I get around to it. Many thanks.
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