The self-described “king of all media” shares personal introspection and favorite celebrity interviews in his first book in two decades.
Stern (Miss America, 1995, etc.) is in top form in this entertaining amalgam of intimate confessional and Q-and-A archive. Opting for an older, wiser perspective this time around, the author strips away the juvenile raunch and sophomoric humor that made his first books runaway bestsellers. The book’s introduction, a meaty, contemplative 19-page affair, finds Stern, 65, candidly discussing his struggles with OCD, random regrets (namely his treatment of Robin Williams and Rosie O’Donnell), greatest moments (interviews with Conan O’Brien and Paul McCartney, animal rescue efforts), his move to SiriusXM in 2006, and the day he inexplicably took a rare show-day off to attend to an undisclosed cancer scare. It’s a kinder, gentler, all-grown-up side of the shock jock, which he credits to aggressive psychotherapy and his second wife, Beth. However, it’s the intimate, provocative celebrity interviews that make up the bulk of this weighty tome and which the author admits “represent my best work and show my personal evolution.” With his advancing age came wisdom, humility, empathy, and a dramatic sea change in the show’s direction and focus, as evidenced in more nuanced, probing interviews with Courtney Love, Joan Rivers, Michael J. Fox, Chris Cornell, and Lady Gaga, among others. Stern introduces each conversation with his personal perspective on the individual and the impression they made. His honest conversations with actors, music legends, and others represent an eclectic cross-section of celebrities, and his questions range from the piercing to the downright ridiculous. Perhaps the book’s most startling interview segments are those with a pre-presidential Donald Trump, whom Stern has interviewed dozens of times. Throughout the book, which is divided into thematic sections (“Sex & Relationships,” “Money & Fame,” “Drugs & Sobriety,” “Gone Too Soon,” etc.), the author’s personal growth and enduring legacy as a broadcast pioneer and unique profiler are on full display.
A surprisingly warm and consistently outspoken retrospective for both fans and celebrity followers.