“All I really need to do is simply ask a question,” Jonathan Cott occasionally reminds himself. “And then listen.” It sounds simple, but in fact few have taken the art of asking questions to such heights—and depths—as Jonathan Cott, whom Jan Morris called “an incomparable interviewer,” one whose skill, according to the great interviewer and oral historian Studs Terkel, “is artless yet impassioned and knowing.”
Collected here are twenty-two of Cott’s most illuminating interviews that encourage readers to listen to film directors and musicians, actors and writers, scientists and visionaries. These conversations affirm the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination and offer us new ways to view these lives and their worlds. What is it like to be Bob Dylan making a movie? Carl Sagan taking on the cosmos? Oliver Sacks doctoring the soul? John Lennon, on December 5, 1980? Elizabeth Taylor, ever? From Chinua Achebe to Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), Federico Fellini to Werner Herzog, and Oriana Fallaci to Studs Terkel, Listening takes readers on a journey to discover not ways of life but ways to life. Within these pages,Cott proves himself to be, in the words of Brain Pickings’s Maria Popova, “an interlocutor extraordinaire,” drawing candid insights and profound observations from these inspired and inspiring individuals. (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is available for purchase now.
I’ll be honest: I’d never heard of Johnathan Cott before. I was simply intrigued by the idea of the book. I love watching documentaries that provide inside views on the subject’s thoughts and feelings, and this seemed like it might be along those lines.
I found it to be incredibly interesting. The information Johnathan Cott was able to draw from his interviewees was amazing. There was no surface stuff: rather, Cott steered things in a far more persona direction. It was never boring, although like many collections, some interviews were better than others. I actually preferred the interviews with people I hadn’t heard much about before.
It is quite obvious that Cott put a lot of time and effort into his interviews. His questions were smart- it didn’t seem like he expected any particular answer: rather, he let the conversation go where it willed. And it was definitely more of a conversation than I’m used to in interviews. It took me a bit to get used to the amount of input Cott had in the interviews, but I ended up really liking it. It added an extra layer of authenticity.
Give this book a go!