Point me to the genius insight, please.

Book reviews



The Genius of Michael Jackson. Scribber. Knopper, Steve. 2015.


I was always fascinated by Michael Jackson, the man, the myth, the legend. As such I have devoured every new book I could find on the man. That’s why I read The Genius of Michael Jackson by Steve Knopper. Ironically and despite it’s title, Jackson’s genius is not explored in the book. A psychological profile and examination of his talent is null.

It’s a misleading title and quite a stretch to call the book The Genius of Michael Jackson when it only raises questions and does little to prove or asset the genius part. It’s based on the things producers and other people in the industry have to say about him. It clearly doesn’t delve into Michael Jackson’s story you think it would.

Sometimes it seems an inordinate amount of time is spent on an event or detail that would seem relatively minor. By comparison, some content that you’d think would have more weight is only covered sporadically. For instance it’s 1984 on page 152 and a mere 10 pages later it’s almost 1988. Don’t you think more happened during Michael Jackson’s life during the years 1985-87 than comparisons to Prince? The author apparently doesn’t think so other than a few demos made during this time for the Bad album. I feel there was a lot more to be told about Michael and the author didn’t care or research this specific time period.

“There’s no new insight or perspective. It doesn’t paint a picture, and it doesn’t distinguish itself.”

It starts with a passable depiction of Joe Jackson’s story and Michael’s childhood. From then on the book is written in chronological order. The obvious problem with the book is it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know, it merely retells the story in different words. It’ll add interesting quotes from people who but very little else.

There’s no new insight or perspective. It doesn’t paint a picture, it doesn’t distinguish itself. Other books have done a far better job years ago, making this one look like the unimportant manuscript that it is. The book seems big but you have to consider there is literally 50 pages of sources and lengthy index.

Why does the book fail? It treads on old ground and offers nothing new. The post death part felt rushed. An incredible amount of books have been written about Michael Jackson, especially following his death in 2009. Some of them are worth reading and have an angle that makes them worth reading (the financially driven Michael Jackson lnc. for instance). This one is not.

I won’t go as far as giving it one star, I think some amount of work went into it. It’s a passable but forgettable biography with a few interesting quotes. However, there is no clear focus and lot of of content is stories from other books (no wonder the source/reference list is so big). The Genius of Michael Jackson is unoriginal and any hype this book might have had is not worth it. 2 stars.


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