Defined largely by humility. This is an introspective story written by a man whose spirit is never far removed from the sadness and grief of his childhood ... Honest and direct ... Surrender is more a van of a book than a private plane. It shrinks more ego than it inflates. Bono makes no bones about his outsized ambitions, but there’s always a fallible human being behind the big plans and then the superstardom ... By no means operatic. There’s a casual charm to the memoir, a feeling of being led through caverns of story by a guide with some things to get off his chest ... This is the rare rock star memoir written by a rock star who, you get the impression, could have been a writer ... U2 fanatics might already know much of the material in Surrender. For the rest of us, there’s something to discover in every chapter. Bono has a gift for making even the unattainable seem relatable ... He’s humble, even self-effacing. He might be fun to have a beer with. He is very much of this Earth.
Ambitious, sprawling ... The theme of utility and the practical function of a band comes up repeatedly ... Faith, philosophy and political strategy occupy far more of the pages than session details, and readers’ reactions will largely depend on their feelings about Bono, which tend to run to the extremes. If you want to hear a musician posing questions like 'So where is God?' you’ve come to the right place ... He knows what the skeptics think of him; he good-naturedly anticipates every criticism and mocks his own flirtations with self-parody ... The biggest challenge for Surrender is that it has to compete with Bono’s history as one of pop’s great orators. He’s open and honest, with language that can be witty and distinctive, addressing his competitive relationship with his father or growing up against the backdrop of Ireland’s political violence — but we’ve heard a lot of it before, in his eloquent interviews or onstage discourses ... Every single day that Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. wake up and are still the members of this band, they are in uncharted waters. Surrender makes no real attempt to explicate fully how they execute this magic trick ... Surrender soars whenever the spotlight comes on. Bono is never more powerful, on the page or the stage, than when he strives for the transcendence that only music can offer.
Nobody has done more to expand the parameters of rock stardom, often in contentious ways ... Running to 557 pages, Surrender is characteristically expansive, but it whizzes by ... Bono has storytelling verve and a genuine desire for self-examination, neither of which is guaranteed in rock memoirs. He is enthusiastic about praising others, often at his own expense ... There’s some blarney here – a weakness for the too-cute aphorism and the florid metaphor – but Bono’s appetite for contradictions and humiliations, which goes far beyond tactical self-deprecation, more than compensates ... [A] generous, energetic book.