Never Broken: Songs are Only Half the Story by Jewel

Summary
  1. Jewel’s background, obstacles overcome, beliefs and values all laid bare for the world to see. She hides nothing in this open account of her life
Key Takeaways
  1. You must know what you want before you can achieve it. Jewel knew early on that what she wanted was happiness and this helped her during difficult times
  2. Strength counter-intuitively comes from vulnerability and not armor
  3. Nobody outruns their pain, they simply add new pain on top
  4. Emotions and instincts are our most sophisticated alarm system
  5. We learn emotional language from our parents and our surroundings. This language is often as important if not more important than regular language in shaping how we think, act and interact with others
  6. Hard wood grows slowly. What doesn’t bend, breaks
  7. Jewel had a tough upbringing in Alaska with a drunk and abusive father and an absent mother. She traveled with her father to sing in bars when she was very young. This was a difficult environment to grow up in but forced her to learn how to deal with people and difficult situations early on
  8. To deal with the abuse from her father and her often dark surroundings, Jewel promised herself to always be honest in her journal and lyrics. This allowed her to cope and deal with her problems and see her behavior as separate from herself – allowing her to grow, mature and improve over time
  9. Emotional honesty create loyalty and connection like nothing else
  10. An artist’s most important asset is their individuality and they must discover this firsthand
  11. Importance of silence in any pursuit cannot be overstated
  12. Greatness is never achieved by trying to imitate the greatness of another. Greatness is achieved by chipping away at everything that does not belong to you and expressing yourself so authentically that everybody else is forced to acknowledge you
  13. Jewel has a type of synesthesia where she can see notes in her mind and sees them overlap when in tune. She started researching physics and found a lot of similarities and correlations between science and art. Fractals exactly matched how she visualized notes
  14. Change doesn’t come from grand gestures but many small, seemingly inconsequential ones. Catching your negativity before it spirals, slowly changing thinking habits
  15. Dove deeply into her own psyche to explore her fear. She found it felt somewhat similar to nervousness before a show and decided to “flip” the fear into excitement
  16. Helping others is ultimately helping yourself
  17. Jewel was homeless for sometime in south California but soon developed a loyal following by singing in a local coffee shop. She eventually got one of her songs played on a radio station, broke into the top 10 and quickly gained wide recognition and an eventual label with Atlantic Records
  18. Knowing that hard wood grows slowly, she turned down a $1m signing bonus but got the biggest back end deal of any artist, effectively betting on herself long term
  19. Very intuitive and feel oriented in her shoes. Would read the crowds to determine what and how to play, never having a preconceived notion. Fan shaped auditoriums were the best to play in as everyone has a similar view and it focuses attention on stage
  20. Fame makes people like a blank canvas where fans project their dreams and fantasies onto. Fame does not change you, it amplifies you
  21. Her mom bankrupted her and it took a long time for Jewel to step up to her and get her out of her life
  22. With her mom gone, Jewel took the difficult step of going within herself and trying to tease apart what was her moms belief which were pushed on her and what she truly believed. What was hers felt peaceful and other’s brought anxiety. L what is hysterical is historical
  23. The goal with pain is to learn from it and let go
  24. Be hyper vigilant and being aware of the voices in your head and how critical or mean they would seem if spoken out loud
  25. Ty and Jewel got divorced a couple years after her son’s birth but remain on good terms. Her father is a big presence on her life now and extremely supportive
  26. Only a closed heart can break
  27. Continuously and ardently search out areas and situations where you feel self hatred and ask why you are feeling that way. Don’t hide from it. Address it and get to the root of it so you can begin healing
  28. She beautifully describes how thoughtful and deliberate she is in raising her son, Case
  29. Last ~20 pages distills Jewel’s lessons and the main points of the book
What I got out of it
  1. Excellent book and inspiring story of a woman from Alaska who goes through many difficult times, goes deep within and overcomes many barriers. So thoughtful and brave and makes me want to better myself and be better at being thankful for all that I have in life