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Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell & Bruce Headlam
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Miracle and Wonder

Conversations with Paul Simon

What happens when Paul Simon, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in music history, and Malcolm Gladwell, the bestselling author, sit down together, with a tape recorder and a guitar?


Description

Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon is part memoir, part investigation, and unlike any creative portrait you’ve ever heard before. Recorded over a series of 30 hours of conversation between Simon, Gladwell, and Gladwell’s oldest friend and co-writer, journalist and Broken Record podcast co-host Bruce Headlam, the conversation flows from Simon’s music, to his childhood in Queens, NY, to his frequent collaborators including Art Garfunkel and the nature of creativity itself. Gladwell and Headlam traveled from the mountains of Hawaii to Simon’s own backyard studio to record an artist they’ve idolized since childhood.

Woven throughout the audiobook is distinctive commentary about Simon’s songwriting alongside archival audio footage and never-before-heard live studio versions and original recordings of beloved hits including “The Boxer,” “The Sound of Silence,” and “Graceland”. Between conversations, Gladwell deploys his signature blend of historical research and social science in an attempt to understand how a boy from 1940’s Queens conjured near-perfect songs over an incredible 65-year career. Along the way he gathers reflections on Simon’s particular genius from the likes of Sting, Herbie Hancock, Renee Fleming, Jeff Tweedy, Aaron Lindsey, and Roseanne Cash.

The result is an intimate audio biography of one of America’s most popular songwriters. Brimming with music, and conversation, Miracle and Wonder is a window into Simon’s legendary career, what it means to be alive as an artist, and how to create work that endures.


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About the author


MALCOLM GLADWELL is president and co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, David and Goliath, Talking to Strangers, and The Bomber Mafia. He has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1996.

BRUCE HEADLAM is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video Desk and eight years running the Media Desk. While at the Times, he directed coverage that won two Pulitzer Prizes.

PAUL SIMON has produced timeless masterpieces, such as Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, and Graceland, has received 16 Grammy Awards and has been twice inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and was presented the Library of Congress’ inaugural Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture. Simon was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, and in 2012 named laureate of the prestigious Polar Music Prize along with Yo-Yo Ma. In 2019, Paul Simon was the first musician to be presented the Great Americans Medal by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. His song “Mrs. Robinson,” from the film The Graduate, was named in the top ten of the AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Songs. Paul Simon’s philanthropic work includes the co-founding of the Children’s Health Fund, which brings health care to low-income children and their families around the United States. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, which is committed to stopping the species extinction crisis through conservation.

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