Arts & Culture » Lit

Forget About Today

Book Review


Bob Dylan has been called a lot of things: cultural icon, musical genius, raging egomaniac. But in a new book, business writer Jon Friedman comes up with something new and totally unexpected: self-help guru.

Forget About Today is an inspirational self-help book based on Dylan's career. It dares the reader to ask: WWBDD?

The answers are hardly unique to this book. Dare to dream. Take chances. Ignore naysayers trying to drag you down. Don't half-ass things. Know when to walk away. And always do it of your own accord.

A situation cited several times in the book was Dylan's decision to walk off the Ed Sullivan Show, rather than be told what song to play. That event boosted his reputation for integrity and opened as many doors as it closed. The lesson Friedman posits from that experience is that fortune favors the bold more than it does those content to be slaves.

Another situation examined was Dylan's decision to abandon the folk scene and go electric. At the time, that was considered nearly treasonous. And Dylan's logic for it was that the folk scene was like heaven, something that just didn't work for him. The lesson Friedman draws is that if you don't leave your comfort zone, you'll never grow.

However, aside from the inherent messianic creepiness of a book strictly about the life of one person, the book can be a bit tricky because Dylan is no ordinary mortal. Yes, the hard work and strategies discussed in the book contributed greatly to Dylan's success. But so did a prodigious amount of natural talent and a convergence of external cultural factors--winds that not everyone is lucky enough to have at their backs.

Self-help books are definitely to taste. Some find them inspiring and helpful, while others become frustrated with the realization that they are just suggestions, not life-instruction manuals. In that sense, Forget About Today is little different from other self-help texts. But it is a fun new lens through which to look at the principles Friedman espouses.