What a Fool Believes: A Memoir (Hardcover)

What a Fool Believes: A Memoir By Michael McDonald, Paul Reiser Cover Image
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(adult non-fiction)


A sweeping and evocative memoir from the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy Award–winning, platinum selling singer-songwriter Michael McDonald, written with his friend, Emmy Award–nominated actor, comedian, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Paul Reiser.

Doobie Brothers. Steely Dan. Chart topping soloist. Across a half-century of American music, Michael McDonald’s unmistakably smooth baritone voice defined an era of rock and R&B with hit records like “What A Fool Believes,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “I Keep Forgettin’,” “Peg,” “It Keeps You Running,” “You Belong to Me,” and “Yah Mo B There.”

In his candid, freewheeling memoir, written with his friend, the Emmy Award-nominated actor and comedian Paul Reiser, Michael tells the story of his life and music. A high school dropout from Ferguson, Missouri, Michael chased his dreams in 1970’s California, a heady moment of rock opportunity and excess. As a rising session musician and backing vocalist, a series of encounters would send him on a wild ride around the world and to the heights of rock stardom—from joining Steely Dan and becoming a defining member of The Doobie Brothers to forging a path as a breakout solo R&B artist.

Interwoven with the unforgettable tales of the music, Michael tells a deeply affecting story of losing and finding himself as a man. He reckons with the unshakeable insecurities that drove him, the drug and alcohol addictions that plagued him, and the highs and lows of popularity. Along the way he relays the lessons he’s learned, and that if he’s learned anything at all it’s that there’s often little correlation between what you get and what you deserve.

Filled with unbelievable stories and a matchless cast of music greats including James Taylor, Ray Charles, Carly Simon, and Quincy Jones, What a Fool Believes is a moving and entertaining memoir that is sure to be a classic. 

About the Author

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Michael McDonald’s career encompasses five Grammys, countless platinum hits, and chart successes. After being an integral part of Steely Dan, McDonald was invited to join the Doobie Brothers as the band redefined their sound with McDonald serving as singer, keyboardist, and songwriter on numerous Top 40 singles. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s McDonald’s solo career took off with a string of hits including “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (with Patti LaBelle), and the Grammy-winning James Ingram duet “Yah Mo B There.” McDonald has performed with a who’s-who of critically acclaimed artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, Grizzly Bear, Thundercat, and Solange Knowles.

Paul Reiser is a comedian, Emmy Award–nominated actor, screenwriter, and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Reiser has recently appeared in Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Kominsky Method as well as Hulu’s critically acclaimed comedy Reboot and Amazon’s The Boys. Reiser created and starred (along with Helen Hunt) in the long-running hit 90s comedy Mad About You and has appeared in classic films like Diner, Aliens, the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, and Whiplash. His latest film The Problem With People, which he wrote, starred in, and produced, is slated to be in theaters early 2024. As an author, Reiser’s New York Times bestselling books CouplehoodBabyhood, and Familyhood have sold millions of copies.

Praise For…

"Like its namesake song, McDonald’s memoir is refreshingly self-deprecating and, at its core, an underdog’s triumph."  — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Singer and songwriter Michael McDonald debuts with an affecting account of his early life, career trajectory, and struggles with addiction. . . . McDonald’s down-to-earth approach gives this rock and roll tell-all more weight than others of its kind.” — Publishers Weekly

“Michael McDonald is one of the most gifted musicians of our time. Over the last half century, his incredible talents have placed him in the eye of the musical hurricane and this vivid memoir brings it all to life. What a Fool Believes is essential reading for every music fan.” — Don Was

“Michael is the type of artist you are lucky to have in your lifetime. His voice has been one of the biggest inspirations in my development as a songwriter and singer. A very sweet and awesome person—the most Doobiest of brothers. It makes my day better knowing that somewhere in the world Michael McDonald is pondering what comes next.” — Thundercat

“Working with Michael on my first album, “Be Here Soon” was a dream come true. Not only did he bring his talent, creativity, and soul to our project, but his love and generosity of spirit was limitless. He’s a wonderful friend, an incredible musician, and a beautiful human being.” — Jeff Bridges

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063357563
ISBN-10: 0063357569
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English