Surrender Book Summary - Surrender Book explained in key points
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Surrender summary


40 Songs, One Story

4.5 (37 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Surrender by Bono is a collection of reflective essays that chronicle his journey of faith, activism, and human connection. The book inspires readers to confront their fears and prejudices while pushing them towards social justice.

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    “Cedarwood Road”: friends, family and a new name

    May 10, 1978: That’s the day that an Irish boy of slight build and of less than 5 feet 8 inches, who had just finished reading Crime and Punishment and more importantly, finished listening to the Ramones’ “Leave Home,” turned 18. Flush with the excitement of his creative influences and his birthday, that boy, Paul David Hewson, sat down and wrote his first song: “Out of Control.”

    DJ Dave Fanning released that song for the first time the following year. Since then, Fanning has played the first release of every new single written by that 18-year-old Irish boy, now known throughout the world as Bono, lead singer of one of the world’s most successful, prolific, and long-lasting bands, U2.

    Bono’s childhood was happy at first, growing up on Cedarwood Road with his Catholic, opera-loving father and his loving, laughing Protestant mother and her large family. He was naughty in school, got expelled, and was put in a new experimental inner-city school in Dublin that he loved. It was a childhood spent playing chess with his father, and one spent riding bicycles while holding on to the back of a milk truck. 

    Good times – until the tragedy that made an indelible imprint on him struck. When he was 14, Bono’s mother Iris died of a stroke. The three men she left behind, Bono, his brother Norman, and his father were locked in rage and grief, unable to communicate as they were when his mother was alive to smoothen the connections. They took their sadness out on each other. To this day, Bono is not interested in food because he associates it with the times he had to fend for himself, eating reconstituted mashed potatoes out of a pot sitting in front of the TV, or airline meals that tasted of tin that Norman brought home from his job at the airport. 

    His main source of companionship was the gang of kids and families up and down Cedarwood Road. His childhood best friend and neighbor Guggi gave everyone in the family and street fantastical nicknames. He’s the one who came up with Bono, short for Bonovox – not for its Latin meaning – “nice voice”–  but for Bono Vox of O’Connell Street, a hearing aid shop in Dublin that Guggi liked the sound of. And since that day, Paul Hewson became Bono, a name that in four decades would be known throughout the world.

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    What is Surrender about?

    Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (2022) is a poetic tour through four decades of the life of Bono, lead singer of U2 –  one of the world’s biggest and longest-lasting bands. With each chapter headed by a song and illustrations throughout, the book is a memoir sprinkled with self-deprecating humor, wit, and poignancy.

    Surrender Review

    Surrender (2005) by Bono is a fascinating exploration of the power of humility and vulnerability. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With personal anecdotes and insights from his own life, Bono offers a unique perspective on surrendering ego and embracing authenticity.
    • The book delves into the importance of collaboration and community, shedding light on how surrender can lead to positive change on a global scale.
    • Through its thought-provoking ideas and heartfelt storytelling, the book ensures that readers stay engaged, never finding a dull moment in its pages.

    Who should read Surrender?

    • Fans of U2
    • Music lovers who are interested in hearing about musical history
    • Anyone interested in pop culture

    About the Author

    Born Paul Hewson in Dublin, Ireland, Bono is known to the world as lead singer of rock band U2. As well as numerous albums, tours, and collaborations, Bono is also a philanthropist who helped found ONE, an organization dedicated to eradicating poverty and preventable disease. 

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    Surrender FAQs 

    What is the main message of Surrender?

    The main message of Surrender is to embrace vulnerability and find strength in letting go of control.

    How long does it take to read Surrender?

    The reading time for Surrender varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Surrender a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Surrender is a thought-provoking book that offers insights into the power of surrender. It is definitely worth reading for those interested in personal growth.

    Who is the author of Surrender?

    The author of Surrender is Bono.

    What to read after Surrender?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Surrender, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
    • Determined by Robert M. Sapolsky
    • Super Human by Dave Asprey
    • How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie