The literary equivalent of a diss track: a retort to Joe Hagan’s biography, Sticky Fingers, which was published five years ago, after Wenner’s initial cooperation curdled into public repudiation ... [An] overwhelmingly male tale ... He continues to bathe the Beatles in white light here, glossing over the harm to their friendship caused by his publishing the acidic interview 'Lennon Remembers' in book form, and the magazine’s partisan mistreatment of Paul McCartney’s brilliant early solo efforts ... Like a Rolling Stone does gather moss, it turns out: celebrities in damp clumps ... He writes here in crisp sentences more descriptive than introspective, giving résumés for even minor characters ... Though his journalists regularly championed the downtrodden, Wenner proudly recounts a life of unbridled hedonism, and seems disinclined to reconcile any contradiction ... Like a Rolling Stone is entertaining in spades but only sporadically revealing of the uneven ground beneath Wenner’s feet. Long sections of the book read like a private-flight manifest or gala concert set list. You, the common reader, are getting only a partial-access pass.
Wenner might just as accurately have called his doorstop of a book 'I Am Very Rich, and All My Friends Are Extremely Famous' ... That Wenner demonstrated great vision when he created, at age 21, a publication that treated rock and politics as subjects equally deserving of serious examination is undeniable. So is his eye for talent. His book is at its most thrilling when Wenner recalls discovering and/or significantly boosting Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger, William Greider, Greil Marcus and other writers and photographers whose work in Rolling Stone made their careers ... Wenner’s prose is...impatient, alighting in spurts of two or three hundred words before leaping ahead to some unrelated subject ... Wenner may have meant to write an ink-stained history of a hugely important publication, but what he’s ended up with is an account of the largely frictionless life that extravagant wealth enables, and the obliviousness it breeds ... So many of Wenner’s subjects cry out for more reflection than he is inclined to grant them ... For all the things Wenner saw, it seems he didn’t witness much.
Some memoirs are deeply introspective; others amount to victory laps sandwiched between covers. Jann Wenner’s Like a Rolling Stone falls firmly in the second category ... The book is also a font of gossip, befitting a man who also owned Us Weekly for three decades ... sometimes reads like a boomer greatest hits compilation.
Few people have interacted with more celebrities, rock stars and politicians than Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone. Even fewer possess Wenner's prodigious wordsmanship; in his soaring memoir, Like a Rolling Stone (clocking in at nearly 600 pages), he captures these encounters, fights and friendships with much verve and economy ... Wenner's enormously influential life is masterfully told and should be a treat for pop culture fans and historians alike.
The Jann Wenner story will resonate with those who grew up with Rolling Stone in its heyday ... Wenner is an accomplished writer himself ... Wenner’s affable account delivers lots of booze, a whole lot of drugs, an endless procession of yachts and private jets, and an exhausting quotient of skiing, but not much dirt.
Jann S. Wenner takes us on a long, strange trip with his accessible and entertaining rock ‘n’ roll memoir ... The memoir allows Wenner to tell his story in his own words ... His narrative could leave the reader feeling like some interesting details have been left out.
... doesn't shirk the storytelling ... a wildly entertaining romp that will stir feelings of envy and exhaustion. So many hedonistic parties. So much exotic travel ... Wenner’s experiences and interactions are well worth immortalizing.
... a lavishly illustrated brick of a memoir full of rock-star and show-biz anecdotes and gonzo journalistic war stories. It’s his conceit—in every sense of the word—that his story and the saga of his magazine could be 'a great read' and 'a historically authentic way of telling the story of my generation, our times, and my own mission.' Remarkably, in a way, he’s right ... At 556 pages, Like a Rolling Stone is something of an immoveable feast. Besides headliners like Jagger and Lennon, the author drops every conceivable name in or out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (which he helped establish) from Aerosmith to ZZ Top ... For a paragon of the anti-Establishment, Mr. Wenner comes off as something of a limousine liberal with a taste for five-star hotel suites.
The author writes frankly about money, sex (including his own long years in the closet), and his regret at selling his creation ... A frank, sharp memoir by a zeitgeist-savvy entrepreneur who ranks among the earliest of modern influencers.