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Anna: The Biography

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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Bloomberg ’s 10 Most Compelling Books to Put on Your Reading List This Spring This definitive biography of Anna Wintour follows the steep climb of an ambitious young woman who would—with singular and legendary focus—become one of the most powerful people in media. As a child, Anna Wintour was a tomboy with no apparent interest in clothin INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Bloomberg ’s 10 Most Compelling Books to Put on Your Reading List This Spring This definitive biography of Anna Wintour follows the steep climb of an ambitious young woman who would—with singular and legendary focus—become one of the most powerful people in media. As a child, Anna Wintour was a tomboy with no apparent interest in clothing but, seduced by the miniskirts and bob haircuts of swinging 1960s London, she grew into a fashion-obsessed teenager. Her father, an influential newspaper editor, loomed large in her life, and once he decided she should become editor-in-chief of Vogue, she never looked back. Impatient to start her career, she left high school and got a job at a trendy boutique in London—an experience that would be the first of many defeats. Undeterred, she found work in the competitive world of magazines, eventually embarking on a journey to New York and a battle to ascend, no matter who or what stood in her way. Once she was crowned editor-in-chief of Vogue—in one of the stormiest transitions in fashion magazine history—she continued the fight to retain her enviable position, ultimately rising to dominate all of Condé Nast. Based on extensive interviews with Anna Wintour’s closest friends and collaborators, including some of the biggest names in fashion, journalist Amy Odell has crafted the most revealing portrait of Wintour ever published. Weaving Anna’s personal story into a larger narrative about the hierarchical dynamics of the fashion industry and the complex world of Condé Nast, Anna charts the relentless ambition of the woman who would become an icon.


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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Bloomberg ’s 10 Most Compelling Books to Put on Your Reading List This Spring This definitive biography of Anna Wintour follows the steep climb of an ambitious young woman who would—with singular and legendary focus—become one of the most powerful people in media. As a child, Anna Wintour was a tomboy with no apparent interest in clothin INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Bloomberg ’s 10 Most Compelling Books to Put on Your Reading List This Spring This definitive biography of Anna Wintour follows the steep climb of an ambitious young woman who would—with singular and legendary focus—become one of the most powerful people in media. As a child, Anna Wintour was a tomboy with no apparent interest in clothing but, seduced by the miniskirts and bob haircuts of swinging 1960s London, she grew into a fashion-obsessed teenager. Her father, an influential newspaper editor, loomed large in her life, and once he decided she should become editor-in-chief of Vogue, she never looked back. Impatient to start her career, she left high school and got a job at a trendy boutique in London—an experience that would be the first of many defeats. Undeterred, she found work in the competitive world of magazines, eventually embarking on a journey to New York and a battle to ascend, no matter who or what stood in her way. Once she was crowned editor-in-chief of Vogue—in one of the stormiest transitions in fashion magazine history—she continued the fight to retain her enviable position, ultimately rising to dominate all of Condé Nast. Based on extensive interviews with Anna Wintour’s closest friends and collaborators, including some of the biggest names in fashion, journalist Amy Odell has crafted the most revealing portrait of Wintour ever published. Weaving Anna’s personal story into a larger narrative about the hierarchical dynamics of the fashion industry and the complex world of Condé Nast, Anna charts the relentless ambition of the woman who would become an icon.

30 review for Anna: The Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Anna Wintour has been Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine for decades, a workaholic whose somewhat prickly personality has earned her the nickname ‘Nuclear Wintour’. I’d enjoyed The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 by Tina Brown in which Wintour featured as somebody Brown had befriended and sought counsel from when she took up the reins at Vogue’s sister magazine and I’d hoped this biography might offer up similarly spicy account of how a talented and ambitious woman worked her way up to the top of Anna Wintour has been Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine for decades, a workaholic whose somewhat prickly personality has earned her the nickname ‘Nuclear Wintour’. I’d enjoyed The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 by Tina Brown in which Wintour featured as somebody Brown had befriended and sought counsel from when she took up the reins at Vogue’s sister magazine and I’d hoped this biography might offer up similarly spicy account of how a talented and ambitious woman worked her way up to the top of her profession. Born in England, Anna’s father was editor of the London Evening Standard and her mother an American with strong family lineage. Consequently, Anna never had to struggle for money. She was always interested in fashion and after working on a number of smaller publications she found herself heading up British Vogue. But this was never going to be enough for her, she had her eyes on the ‘big job’ in New York. This book details her journey and along the way provides a decent commentary on the daily workings of a fashion magazine. In this respect it’s pretty comprehensive, but what it lacks is some real in-depth insight into the woman herself. This is primarily down to the fact that it’s all pieced together from third party accounts of events and opinions put forwards by friends and foes. It really isn’t anything like first person account Tina Brown produced. The picture painted is of a woman whose leadership style is decisive but autocratic, who is controlled but also controlling and yet despite all the power she wields it seems that Wintour has an aversion to direct confrontation. It’s also clear that she never engages in small talk with her colleagues. Accordingly, some of her behaviours feel odd and unnecessarily cold – such as her one word feedback to those who present their hard work for her approval (either a positive ‘ok’ or a disdainfully abrupt rejection). There are certainly elements I found interesting, including sections touching on her associations with Donald Trump, and Harvey Weinstein but for me there was too much focus on descriptions of how any number of fashion shoots played out and the piecing together of various editions of her magazine. Also, a good deal of time is spent discussing what everyone is wearing – Anna, it seems, has zero tolerance for anyone who she considers to be badly dressed. Ultimately, I came away with a feeling that the author had failed to get fully under the skin of this enigmatic lady in this detailed but unfortunately dull telling of her story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tyler McCall

    Anna Wintour isn't just the most powerful person in fashion today; she's one of the most powerful women in the world. And yet, we know so little about the woman behind the blunt bob and dark sunglasses — until now. When I saw that Amy Odell was working on a biography of Anna Wintour, I knew it was going to be good. Odell has a reputation in the fashion and media industries for having a sharp mind and tough questions, so this was never going to be a puff piece. Indeed, Odell put in the grunt work, Anna Wintour isn't just the most powerful person in fashion today; she's one of the most powerful women in the world. And yet, we know so little about the woman behind the blunt bob and dark sunglasses — until now. When I saw that Amy Odell was working on a biography of Anna Wintour, I knew it was going to be good. Odell has a reputation in the fashion and media industries for having a sharp mind and tough questions, so this was never going to be a puff piece. Indeed, Odell put in the grunt work, accumulating over 250 interviews and a thick index. While Wintour herself declined to be interviewed, Odell got unprecedented access to people around Wintour, from childhood family friends to current industry titans, and assembled it into one biography. What I was most impressed by was the way Odell manages to humanize Wintour, a figure who has carried the reputation of being an ice queen for over four decades and who is rather famously private. Especially since "The Devil Wears Prada," she's become a kind of pop culture icon about whom we know very little. Odell doesn't shy away from discussing Wintour's many missteps — whether cutting people out of her life with no notice or explanation, or creating racially or politically insensitive content for Vogue, it's all in here — but aims to add context to the system and circumstances surrounding Wintour which might lead to those decisions. That's an incredibly hard line to walk. If you're looking for something gossip-y (and early reviews seem to indicate this was the case for a lot of people), this probably isn't for you; Odell treats her subject quite seriously and only offers a few kernels of Daily Mail-worthy tidbits. (Though they're always fun to receive, obviously.) But if you're a serious fashion fan, this is a foundational text to understanding the industry's current landscape. And since Wintour never plans to write a memoir, it's guaranteed to become the definitive resource on Wintour's life. Disclosure: I was given an ARC by Gallery to cover "Anna: The Biography" for my job!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

    I helped with some of the research in this book, so I may be biased, but this is really a delicious, entertaining read that is at once unsparring but also sympathetic toward its subject - or at least really tries to understand her. It's fair but also fun. And by investigating Anna, it also delves into the fashion industry, pop culture, publishing, politics and how all these things are intertwined (and Anna's role in intertwining them, or at least further intertwining them). The Met Gala stuff wa I helped with some of the research in this book, so I may be biased, but this is really a delicious, entertaining read that is at once unsparring but also sympathetic toward its subject - or at least really tries to understand her. It's fair but also fun. And by investigating Anna, it also delves into the fashion industry, pop culture, publishing, politics and how all these things are intertwined (and Anna's role in intertwining them, or at least further intertwining them). The Met Gala stuff was particularly fascinating. Lately, I've read lots of nonfiction/bios that feel so padded and florid, and this book definitely does not have that problem — every single detail, anecdote is so well chosen, so illustrative, and the writing is so clear. After I read it I simultaneously felt I understood Anna and her importance and hold on the industry better than ever while also feeling more baffled by her and her power. I think it's a testament to this book that after 300 + pages I actually walked away more intrigued by her than before.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cazlam

    Loved.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katy Smith

    Like 80% of this book is about hiring shuffles at Condé Nast. Anna Wintour is fascinating and hearing about her childhood was very interesting. I don’t feel like there are incredible insights in this book though. Kinda fun, but kinda boring.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Chadsey

    A great start-to-finish biography of an icon. While it does touch on vogues evolution along with Anna, this is a book about Anna Wintour, if you’re looking for a book about vogue, the fashion magazine industry, the met gala etc, this may not do it for you. I enjoyed it very much.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Goldberg

    Fascinating subject and wonderfully written

  8. 5 out of 5

    cluedupreader

    This FABULOUS read endeared me to dog lover and voracious reader Wintour. Anyone with a background/interest in journalism, magazine publishing, or fashion, and who knows (of) the industry players and Who's Who will love it! This FABULOUS read endeared me to dog lover and voracious reader Wintour. Anyone with a background/interest in journalism, magazine publishing, or fashion, and who knows (of) the industry players and Who's Who will love it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mia Kagehiro

    There wasn’t much new to learn from from this book. Tina Browns autobiography is more interesting and inspiring.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Collieson

    NOT VERY Interesting,infact boring Nothing new that wasn't available all ready. I would think Anna wouldn't be much interested in this,the author just rehashed what was all ready out there. NOT VERY Interesting,infact boring Nothing new that wasn't available all ready. I would think Anna wouldn't be much interested in this,the author just rehashed what was all ready out there.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    I simply could not put this book down. I didn't think I would be the target audience for this book, knowing next to nothing about fashion, but I was fascinated by Anna as a businessperson whose influence rivals those like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. This book is a revealing portrait of the person behind those famous sunglasses. I now feel like I understand what drove Anna to succeed and to fight to remain in power through all her ups and downs. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I simply could not put this book down. I didn't think I would be the target audience for this book, knowing next to nothing about fashion, but I was fascinated by Anna as a businessperson whose influence rivals those like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. This book is a revealing portrait of the person behind those famous sunglasses. I now feel like I understand what drove Anna to succeed and to fight to remain in power through all her ups and downs. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    I read a lot of biographies and memoirs and I just finished “Anna: The Biography” by Amy Odell. “Anna” is Anna Wintour, the most famous person in the fashion industry and one of the most famous in the publishing business. She’s been editor of Vogue for 25 years, and in addition, she’s high up in the grander Condé Nast empire. She’s been employed by other magazines on her way up to publishing pinnacle, Vogue editor. Amy Odell has written a good, serviceable biography of Wintour. I’m not sure if it I read a lot of biographies and memoirs and I just finished “Anna: The Biography” by Amy Odell. “Anna” is Anna Wintour, the most famous person in the fashion industry and one of the most famous in the publishing business. She’s been editor of Vogue for 25 years, and in addition, she’s high up in the grander Condé Nast empire. She’s been employed by other magazines on her way up to publishing pinnacle, Vogue editor. Amy Odell has written a good, serviceable biography of Wintour. I’m not sure if it is an “authorized” bio but I think Anna Wintour offered the cooperation of people close to her to Odell. This is important because Wintour is famously a private person. Much of the info within the book has been gathered from other sources, other interviews, other memoirs…. For instance, Odell takes much from Andre Leon Talley and his second memoir, “The Chiffon Chronicles” (which is also worth reading). Other friends and detractors also contribute. Getting back to reading a biography; a book can be written as either “pro” or “con” towards the subject. This is particularly true of bios of the Royal Family, which in particular, are examples of the “pro” Charles or “pro” Diana, “pro” Meghan or “pro” The Queen. Those bios tend to be quite boring after a while because they are so relentlessly…biased. But Amy Odell’s bio is written pretty much straight down the line. I honestly couldn’t tell how Odell felt about either the fashion world, in general or about Anna Wintour, in particular. And that ambiguous writing style is a boon to the reader, who doesn’t feel the need to mentally defend or castigate the book’s subject. It’s a good book and there are pictures in the back. If you like fashion, you’ll probably like this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gerard Ruf

    Anna has been an inspiration of mine since I was a little kid. Odell perfectly captures her workaholic essence, attention to detail and fashion forward thinking, while showing us a side of her often hidden. A wildly interesting yet complicated character, who, like many of the sources said, is nothing like her cold persona. Anna is deep down, just a normal person, with many flaws, who has changed fashion forever.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sandro

    Odell's biography is exceptionally well-researched (the notes section is impressive). Unfortunately, the biography lacks some basic storytelling which sometimes makes it read like a collage of direct quotes from Anna's friends and colleagues, and anecdotes about the economic ups and downs of the Condé Nast empire. I found the past-to-present structure of the book a bit unoriginal and would like to think that Anna would not enjoy this either ("Fashion is about looking forward not backward"). Odell's biography is exceptionally well-researched (the notes section is impressive). Unfortunately, the biography lacks some basic storytelling which sometimes makes it read like a collage of direct quotes from Anna's friends and colleagues, and anecdotes about the economic ups and downs of the Condé Nast empire. I found the past-to-present structure of the book a bit unoriginal and would like to think that Anna would not enjoy this either ("Fashion is about looking forward not backward").

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ghost of the Library

    Except perhaps for my significant other, I can't say I know of anyone who doesn't know the name Anna Wintour. I admit it to picking this up with a somewhat voyeuristic glee, knowing next to nothing about her, just like most people I imagine :) I was pleasantly surprised with how well written it is, how well the reading flows from beginning to end and, I admit, how much I ended up respecting the woman behind the sunglasses (and the author). Amy Odell states quite clearly at the end that this was a Except perhaps for my significant other, I can't say I know of anyone who doesn't know the name Anna Wintour. I admit it to picking this up with a somewhat voyeuristic glee, knowing next to nothing about her, just like most people I imagine :) I was pleasantly surprised with how well written it is, how well the reading flows from beginning to end and, I admit, how much I ended up respecting the woman behind the sunglasses (and the author). Amy Odell states quite clearly at the end that this was a struggle of a project to get off the ground, and at times she despaired on whether or not she would succeed, but succeed she did, and with flying colors I should add. This is not an official biography, so she could have we easily gone the gossipy way and turn this into a vehicle for everyone who has pending business with Wintour to speak their mind and air the dirty linen - thankfully she did not. What this is is a very well crafted project telling the beginning, middle and present/future of a woman whose career is nothing short of remarkable and whose life is to say the least, supremely interesting. You don't get to the top like Anna Wintour has without making a few frenemies along the way, especially when you're a woman in a very manly world, which publishing was when she started (and still is in some ways). Amy Odell somehow manages to walk that thin line between respect and outright flattery, never turning into a Wintour fan while always making it clear how much she admires the woman. Frankly this is a great example of diplomatic writing, and I wouldn't be surprised if Wintour had given the ok for a lot of the author's sources to talk to her. If you want gossip, this ain't it, but if you want to learn a tiny little bit more about the magazine lady like my husband calls her...lol....by all means have a go, you will not regret it. Happy Reading!

  16. 4 out of 5

    katie

    Breezy and delightful read though stumbles a bit trying to deal fully with the failings of a woman the biographer clearly came to admire. Also I don’t know if it was a personal fascination or just required post Chiffon Trenches but the book goes out of its way to talk about ALT in a way it doesn’t with any other collaborator or friend. A++ for getting through childhood / early life quickly - that part is always dull for me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Crosby Cobb

    Started the audiobook on a car trip and honestly wouldn’t have finished it if the narrator’s voice wasn’t British and beautiful. Wanted to like the content more than I did!

  18. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnne

    This book has a light, breezy conversational tone making it easy to read. Unfortunately, it just isn't that interesting. I still don't understand what all of the hype is around this woman. I've come to the conclusion that Anna Wintour is aloof and distant and so not very interesting to me as a person. This book has a light, breezy conversational tone making it easy to read. Unfortunately, it just isn't that interesting. I still don't understand what all of the hype is around this woman. I've come to the conclusion that Anna Wintour is aloof and distant and so not very interesting to me as a person.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I was a Vogue subscriber for years and have always been fascinated by Anna Wintour. The moment I saw Amy Odell was writing Wintour's biography, I pre-ordered the Kindle edition. I plunged in on publication day. The early chapters about Anna, her family (particularly her journalist father) and her life before Vogue made for interesting reading. However, as I continued onward, I felt like I wasn't getting behind Wintour's ever-present sunglasses. In a number of instances, I could have sworn I had I was a Vogue subscriber for years and have always been fascinated by Anna Wintour. The moment I saw Amy Odell was writing Wintour's biography, I pre-ordered the Kindle edition. I plunged in on publication day. The early chapters about Anna, her family (particularly her journalist father) and her life before Vogue made for interesting reading. However, as I continued onward, I felt like I wasn't getting behind Wintour's ever-present sunglasses. In a number of instances, I could have sworn I had already read this story, only to realize the source material was Grace Coddington, Andre Leon Talley or Grace Mirabella and/or their memoirs. Wintour comes off as rather flat and two dimensional; however, there were aspects of magazine publishing, Met Gala planning and Conde Nast that redeemed the narrative. Worth a read if you have followed Wintour's career and enjoy/enjoyed reading Vogue.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shadira

    The longtime Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast global editorial director and global chief content officer seems to exist in her own eco-system ... How did that come to be? Well, if you want answers, you won’t find them in this book ... [Anna] is deadly serious in her ambitions, and her creation of her own mythology is fascinating. She deserves a more acute analysis of her life. But perhaps she didn’t want it ... To what degree she collaborated in the writing of this book is unclear ... While The longtime Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast global editorial director and global chief content officer seems to exist in her own eco-system ... How did that come to be? Well, if you want answers, you won’t find them in this book ... [Anna] is deadly serious in her ambitions, and her creation of her own mythology is fascinating. She deserves a more acute analysis of her life. But perhaps she didn’t want it ... To what degree she collaborated in the writing of this book is unclear ... While we get some delightful glimpses into her home life...there is little examination of her professional skills, or of her weaknesses, from people operating at a similar level ... I would have loved to hear what the big-name designers—Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Donatella Versace—could add to this portrait ... She survives not because she is an excellent magazine editor, which she is, but because she understands power and what other powerful people want and need. How frustrating it is then not to get a greater understanding of how this enigmatic woman operates ... What is her opinion of … well, actually, anything? For that we will, unfortunately, have to wait for another book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    False

    I picked up a few facts I wasn't aware of, including her lack of university education. She wanted to start working right away, and that, she did. Power craving, moneymoneymoney...not much explanation to that "drive" for perfectionism and overlording beyond similar emotional behaviors in her father. Not much about the siblings, or, given that this book was just published, whether she had any new love interest in her life. When would she haveThis book left me with two very specific questions: How I picked up a few facts I wasn't aware of, including her lack of university education. She wanted to start working right away, and that, she did. Power craving, moneymoneymoney...not much explanation to that "drive" for perfectionism and overlording beyond similar emotional behaviors in her father. Not much about the siblings, or, given that this book was just published, whether she had any new love interest in her life. When would she haveThis book left me with two very specific questions: How does this woman still have a job? How is Conde Nast still in business? In terms of autobiographies, it is well written and very generous to the subject, but not overly forgiving. The writing is complex and did require me to pause to reference other books about that period at Conde Nast and draw a bit of an org chart of the publishing world in my head. (Was a big fan of Jay Fielden's T&C, loved "Save me the Plums" about Gourmet...I grew up in the heyday of loud publishing, so I often stopped to remember this world as it was). As for the subject...Anna Wintour is a product of her time, and the first I dunno 60 or so years of her life follow the trajectory of many successful career women in her era. Well-placed, well-connected upbringing, breaking barriers in her industry, failing up, etc. We all know the 20th-century narrative. I mean despite little blip-recessions here and there, things were really great in this world between 1981 and the 2000s. The end of the Cold War! Deregulation! The Spice Girls! It was really hard not to do well when the entire world was doing well. Things start getting dicey in 01 but really shit hit the fan in 08, and now it feels like the world is completely changed. But what was confusing is just that whole entire microcosm of publishing refused to see it coming and adapted begrudgingly. Anna was a company woman, and Si Newhouse was like the Jack Welch of Magazines. He grew his business through acquisition and product development. It seemed that before the crash, Conde Nast had like 4 home magazines, 7 fashion ones, 3 men's, and so on. It was cannibalizing its own readership and ad sales! Anna, too, seemed to not understand segment marketing. The book recounts an interview she had about Men's Vogue in which that target market seemed to be, I dunno, everyone who was a man and maybe women, too? She really wanted to be appealing and inclusive to almost everyone but at the same time kind of missed the mark on ...marketing. I also knew from "Save the Plums" that Conde Nast was terrible at the internet, but this new biography also confirmed it. It was like instead of simply looking outside their building and asking how to make money on the internet, they just kept stumbling around creating these properties that had nothing to do with their core brand and trying to consolidate intellectual property over advertisable content. While this is all happening, she did a really really good job of failing to see colonial mindsets or insensitive tropes in what was being produced...She put on blinders to the Harvey Weinstein thing! In her focus on her "vision", she actually was blind to many things in the overall cultural narrative, and she probably propagated some really bad ideas. I dunno... she eventually comes around in like last year (2021) when the book ends... The thing that is so frustrating is instead of creating her own elegant exit, as many of her compatriots have (I love reading airmail!), she continues to try to push her vision, which is just not really reflecting the world in which we live nor is it reflecting the world in which we aspire to live. the time? Why is she still employed and why does Vogue still exist?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    This is the only biography on Anna Wintour I’ve read so far, and decided to do so after reading a Guardian review of it. I’ve always been intrigued by Ms Wintour, as I’m sure many people are. How frequently rumours swirl about how she’s on her last days at Vogue/Condé Nast, only to arise stronger and more magnificently ambitious and ferocious than ever. If you had to put Amy Odell in a camp, I’d say slightly ‘team Anna’, but I think the biography remains largely unbiased, highlighting Anna Winto This is the only biography on Anna Wintour I’ve read so far, and decided to do so after reading a Guardian review of it. I’ve always been intrigued by Ms Wintour, as I’m sure many people are. How frequently rumours swirl about how she’s on her last days at Vogue/Condé Nast, only to arise stronger and more magnificently ambitious and ferocious than ever. If you had to put Amy Odell in a camp, I’d say slightly ‘team Anna’, but I think the biography remains largely unbiased, highlighting Anna Wintour’s acts of generosity both big and small, moments of weakness her beloved sunglasses weren’t able to conceal, while also referring to the many missteps she’s made that have been gleefully covered to great extent by the media, and the repercussions of her decisions. While Anna declined to be interviewed for this book, she did provide Odell with the contact details of friends and colleagues who may be willing to speak about her, and over 250 sources’ opinions about her were included to create this biography. The notes and index for this biography are extensive, thorough, and impressive. Through reading Anna , it is clear to me that many people are protective of Anna Wintour, but also recognise her faults and instances where her choices were, quite frankly, terrible and sometimes cruel. Anna Wintour remains to me an incredibly complex and intelligent person who has not only successfully endured in a ruthless industry but has remained a fashion and business supreme precisely because she’s so hard to read and predict; I like and admire that she has protected herself by being so. Yes, she entered the industry with many privileges not afforded to others and it gave her a big leg up but she has not become the powerful force she is now without amazing perseverance and commitment, and making every step count. I felt like the biography sheds light on a side of Anna Wintour that many people wilfully ignore because they hate the idea that she managed to succeed where others haven’t. Many people want to see her fail because they have determined her moment in the sun has set. Perhaps this time is coming soon but Anna doesn’t give you a way to catch and end her — she’s five steps ahead, and she’ll step down when she wants to, thank you very much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    I happened upon “The Devil Wears Prada” a few weeks ago on TV and it may be why I felt drawn to this bio. I saw a review that criticized its lack of insight, but I think all we want from a book like this is the juicy gossipy bits. And they are here! Given the writer was granted access to nearly everyone in Wintour’s orbit (but notably not she herself), it’s logical I suppose that the early years focus more on personal reflections and memories and the more recent a seeming strict recounting of pr I happened upon “The Devil Wears Prada” a few weeks ago on TV and it may be why I felt drawn to this bio. I saw a review that criticized its lack of insight, but I think all we want from a book like this is the juicy gossipy bits. And they are here! Given the writer was granted access to nearly everyone in Wintour’s orbit (but notably not she herself), it’s logical I suppose that the early years focus more on personal reflections and memories and the more recent a seeming strict recounting of professional moments. Fans of “The Devil…” (book and film) and “The September Issue” may be disappointed in that none receive much more than passing reference. There are a few passages about the doc, and they’re interesting, but — to its credit, really — not the full chapter length “this is what REALLY happened” I was expecting. Overall, it’s more sympathetic than not. You get the impression that she weathered the storms of her reputation mostly by transcending her (creative) job description, and then leaning equally into the business of magazine and now online publishing. You’ll want the audiobook version. The reader has a British accent and every time she quotes Anna she speaks in a sort of conspiratorial insouciant whisper. Reviewers on the Audible app seem to hate it, but I found it ridiculously entertaining. I haven’t seen the physical book, but I got the impression that many quotes are half statements or phrases tacked onto the end of a sentence.

  24. 4 out of 5

    =^.^= Janet

    What I got from this book... Anna acts like she is the most powerful woman in the world ... in your dreams, honey. She is vapid, evil and a downright evil c-word. One cannot have any sympathy for her as she hates anyone who eats, is above a size 00 and acts like Vogue is a political force. Get real: it is full of clothing that no one ... well no normal person ... can afford or look good in. You are the perfect anorexic goal ... seriously ... your lack of food must have skewed your brain function. What I got from this book... Anna acts like she is the most powerful woman in the world ... in your dreams, honey. She is vapid, evil and a downright evil c-word. One cannot have any sympathy for her as she hates anyone who eats, is above a size 00 and acts like Vogue is a political force. Get real: it is full of clothing that no one ... well no normal person ... can afford or look good in. You are the perfect anorexic goal ... seriously ... your lack of food must have skewed your brain function. I did not think I could think less of her, but Amy Odell, who wrote one helluva book, but the subject soured me and my rating. (Please DO NOT PUT Me-Again Markle on the cover of any edition, ever ... she is the only other woman on the planet as ridiculous as Wintour is!! ...at least Miranda Priestly showed her human side in the end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ary Chest

    I'm perplexed. In some ways, this biography demystifies Anna Wintour, and, in a lot of other ways, it reinforces the woman, the myth, and the legend. Anna definitely was ahead of the times in a lot of ways, and, in others, clung to tradition. She really was a workaholic, from the time she was very young. Because of her father's job, she was bred to be a society girl. She even had her own apartment, in her family's house, at 15. She was so used to getting everything her way and curating her own w I'm perplexed. In some ways, this biography demystifies Anna Wintour, and, in a lot of other ways, it reinforces the woman, the myth, and the legend. Anna definitely was ahead of the times in a lot of ways, and, in others, clung to tradition. She really was a workaholic, from the time she was very young. Because of her father's job, she was bred to be a society girl. She even had her own apartment, in her family's house, at 15. She was so used to getting everything her way and curating her own world, from a young age. In a lot of ways, internet-wise, she predicted the future, but I think got lost in how internet culture would dictate fashion capital. I wish the book had gone into how influencers ate away at the magazine industry, and made Anna's job harder. But, overall, a fun read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    lyny

    Straightforward non-authorised biography of Anna Wintour, focusing mainly on the latter’s career and work life. It seems well-researched, with evident multiple source checking. The biolgraphy includes a lot of detail of the ups and downs of a number of different magazines with which Anna was associated, as well as assessments of her working style and personality from many different people, often on the record or from their own previous writings and interviews. It is a fairly even-handed treatmen Straightforward non-authorised biography of Anna Wintour, focusing mainly on the latter’s career and work life. It seems well-researched, with evident multiple source checking. The biolgraphy includes a lot of detail of the ups and downs of a number of different magazines with which Anna was associated, as well as assessments of her working style and personality from many different people, often on the record or from their own previous writings and interviews. It is a fairly even-handed treatment, appreciating Wintour’s directness and often pointing out that men in a similar position would not be criticized in the same way. But Odell also brings out the continuities in Wintour’s preferencing of people like herself (race, background, appearance and grooming) that eventually began to feed a backlash. An enjoyable read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Transgender Bookworm

    Disclosure : I received a free copy of this book through the #goodreadsgiveaway program. What follows is my honest opinion. Author Amy Odell takes readers on a behind the sunglasses look at the life of one of fashion's most iconic figures Anna Wintour. Full of never before disclosed stories, Anna is an unprecedented look at the life of one of fashion's most powerful and controversial figures. This isn't a takedown à la The Devil Wears Prada but rather a full-spectrum look at the life of a comple Disclosure : I received a free copy of this book through the #goodreadsgiveaway program. What follows is my honest opinion. Author Amy Odell takes readers on a behind the sunglasses look at the life of one of fashion's most iconic figures Anna Wintour. Full of never before disclosed stories, Anna is an unprecedented look at the life of one of fashion's most powerful and controversial figures. This isn't a takedown à la The Devil Wears Prada but rather a full-spectrum look at the life of a complex and enigmatic woman. Whether or not Anna is the villain she is all too often depicted as is up to the reader to decide. What is undeniable is she is a woman who has accomplished everything she has set out to do and she isn't done yet.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    I found this to be a poorly written biography of an otherwise fascinating woman, and I almost abandoned the book several times. I would have liked more detail on the various personalities such as Grace Coddington and Andre Leon Talley such that I might visualize them when they were introduced. Lacking detail, the many names of people became a mishmash of confusion. Quotes were often banal and would have been better to segment or even paraphrase. And I flinched every time I read the author write I found this to be a poorly written biography of an otherwise fascinating woman, and I almost abandoned the book several times. I would have liked more detail on the various personalities such as Grace Coddington and Andre Leon Talley such that I might visualize them when they were introduced. Lacking detail, the many names of people became a mishmash of confusion. Quotes were often banal and would have been better to segment or even paraphrase. And I flinched every time I read the author write "That said, ....." Still, I enjoyed learning about Anna Wintour, the Met Gala, and how the magazine publishing industry has fought to stay relevant in the face of so much economic and societal change.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mick Brewer

    Well-rounded and balanced account of AW. The book explores and celebrates her career as much as it eventually problematizes her power. In the end, you come away having a more nuanced understanding of Anna and what makes her tick—an understanding not rooted in misogynistic ideology as so many of the longstanding critiques leveraged against her have been. You come out empathizing her in a way you likely haven’t before, all while holding her accountable and, I think, most importantly, respecting he Well-rounded and balanced account of AW. The book explores and celebrates her career as much as it eventually problematizes her power. In the end, you come away having a more nuanced understanding of Anna and what makes her tick—an understanding not rooted in misogynistic ideology as so many of the longstanding critiques leveraged against her have been. You come out empathizing her in a way you likely haven’t before, all while holding her accountable and, I think, most importantly, respecting her for the work that she’s done for almost half a century now; not just as a star player in publishing, but as a woman pioneering and totally transforming an entire industry at a time where doing such was next to impossible.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    I fit squarely in the target audience for this book. I was an avid reader of magazines as a teen and ended up working as an art director in custom publishing. I was familiar with many of the people in this book because they were the leaders in my industry. While I enjoyed reading about the backbiting and maneuvering, I wonder if other readers would enjoy that part. Odell’s writing is straightforward but engaging, although sometimes it was hard to tell from the audiobook what was a direct quote. I fit squarely in the target audience for this book. I was an avid reader of magazines as a teen and ended up working as an art director in custom publishing. I was familiar with many of the people in this book because they were the leaders in my industry. While I enjoyed reading about the backbiting and maneuvering, I wonder if other readers would enjoy that part. Odell’s writing is straightforward but engaging, although sometimes it was hard to tell from the audiobook what was a direct quote. What a fascinating woman! Thank you to @simon.audio for this review copy. The opinions are my own.

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