Book Notes: Where we read and condense books down to their main takeaways for creatives.
Although I am not a musician, I have been hearing it from musician friends my whole life: Brian Wilson is a creative genius. But he’s also a tragic figure. His mental breakdown is so infamous it has even inspired hit songs. There’s been plenty of books written about Brian Wilson’s life, but this is the first one in his own words. And those words are simply…heartbreaking.
“Lots of the music I made has been my way of trying to get rid of those voices. Other strategies didn’t really work. Alcohol didn’t work, and drugs didn’t work, and sleeping didn’t work, and never sleeping didn’t work…”
I read this book a few months after seeing Brian Wilson in concert, where you can plainly see how broken this man has been by life. He can barely perform, and the fact that he does is a miracle. When you read the memoir you realize it was because his mental illness was taken advantage of at worst, or at best accommodated, but never really treated until way too late in his life.
I read how the Beatles were in awe of his ability, how the Rolling Stones respected him, and I couldn’t help but wonder: if Brian Wilson is universally considered a musical genius from what he was able to create despite his mental illness…what could he have created if he had been treated properly sooner?
Read this book if…
…you are interested in hearing how one of the best pop songwriters composes music and works with artists in the studio
…you want to see how to balance collaboration and direction
…you struggle with creating while suffering from mental illness
…you want to be inspired by an artist who has never given up even through decades of adversity
Buy The Book: I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir