举例来说，在“坚持你的坚持”（Keep on Keepin' On）一章中，我们了解到迪伦是一位固执的家伙，他“不管发生什么都会挑战自我、开拓进取。”在“得罪人的艺术”（The Fine Art of Pissing People Off）一章中，弗里德曼记叙了迪伦年轻时的一段轶事。当时，迪伦在参加《小城名流》（The Ed Sullivan Show）节目，但是神经紧张的电视审查员禁止他演唱《约翰•伯区的狂想蓝调》（Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues）这首歌，因为它讽刺了上世纪60年代美国的共产主义威胁妄想症。于是，迪伦拂袖而去。得分！虽然他错过了在《小城名流》广大观众面前唱歌的机会，但迪伦的声誉却因反抗这位审查员而在反主流文化中达到了顶点。教益呢？“如果你真正相信某件事情，不管多么微不足道，它都值得捍卫。”
在1965年的“新港民谣音乐节”（Newport Folk Festival）上，年龄稍长的迪伦因为使用电吉他而激怒了民谣原教旨主义拥护者。“通过转向电音，”弗里德曼写道，“迪伦敢于做出一些大多数人一辈子都没有勇气干的事情，那就是颠覆我们自己过去的成功。”
如此这般，通过从明尼苏达大学（University of Minnesota）辍学前往格林威治村（Greenwich Village）追寻自己的民谣音乐事业，迪伦教会我们在舒适区以外实现自我；通过在1969年专辑《纳什维尔的天际线》（Nashville Skyline）中成功地使用乡村音乐元素，迪伦证明了“可信就是一切”。教益呢？“如果你打算呈现一种新的面貌，那你最好确保自己对别人来说是可信的。”另外，事实证明，市场营销人员也可从迪伦上世纪80年代末不间断的巡演日程中学习跟新客户群持续打好关系的重要性。
我最初难以接受这本书的地方在于，弗里德曼将鲍勃•迪伦那迷人的生活以及不朽的音乐事业浓缩成一系列令人沮丧的、贺曼贺卡式的陈词滥调。作为一种文学技巧，这本书一路倒退到巴特勒的《圣徒的生活》（The Lives of the Saints）。跟所有圣徒传记一样，叙事之丰富及议论之尖锐都为滔滔不绝的道德训诫提供了原料。
迪伦的粉丝无法从《忘记今天》中找到太多新的信息，这一点确凿无疑。尽管弗里德曼在写作这本书时采访了很多跟迪伦亲近的人以及相关专家——包括The Band乐队的罗比•罗伯逊这样的音乐名人以及迪伦前私人助理这样的后台人员——但他仍然严重依赖公开发表的访谈以及迪伦在2004年出版的回忆录《编年史：第一卷》（Chronicles: Volume One）。迪伦通过经纪人礼貌地回绝了弗里德曼的采访请求，这我倒能理解。我猜想，对迪伦这样一位总是被赋予强烈神秘感的艺术家来说，将他的人生分解成鼓动积极性的陈词滥调，这种想法可能并不吸引人。
In the chapter "Keep on Keepin' On," for example, we learn that Dylan is a persistent dude who "challenges himself to forge ahead, no matter what." In "The Fine Art of Pissing People Off," Friedman writes about the young Dylan walking off the set of The Ed Sullivan Show when a nervous network censor ruled that he couldn't sing "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," a song that lampoons '60s-era American paranoia about the Communist threat. Score! Although he missed the chance to sing for Sullivan's vast audience, Dylan achieved maximum counterculture cred for defying the man. The lesson? "If you truly believe in something, however small, it's worth standing up for."
An only slightly older Dylan would infuriate legions of acoustic folk purists by strapping on an electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. "By going electric," Friedman writes, "Dylan dared to do something most of us wouldn't have the courage to do in our own lives: tamper with our track record of success."
And so it goes. By dropping out of the University of Minnesota and moving to Greenwich Village to pursue a career in folk music, Dylan apparently taught us to find fulfillment outside our comfort zone. By successfully adopting a country sound in the 1969 album Nashville Skyline, he proved that "credibility is everything." The lesson? "If you're going to create a new persona for yourself, you had better make sure you seem authentic to other people." And marketers, it turns out, can study Dylan's relentless touring schedule since the late 1980s to learn the importance of constantly forging relationships with new customer segments.
My initial, dyspeptic take on this book was that Friedman had reduced Bob Dylan's fascinating life and monumental body of work to a series of depressing Hallmark clichés. As a literary technique, this one goes all the way back to Butler's Lives of the Saints. As with all hagiography, narrative richness and critical acuity both yield to the relentless imparting of moral lessons.
It's true that Dylan fans won't find much new information in Forget About Today. Although Friedman interviewed many Dylan intimates and experts for this book, including musical luminaries like Robbie Robertson of The Band and backstage figures like Dylan's former personal assistant, he relies heavily on published interviews and on Dylan's own 2004 memoir, Chronicles: Volume One. Through his management, Dylan politely declined Friedman's request for an interview, and I can't say that I blame him. I would guess that for Dylan, an artist who has always imparted a strong sense of mystery, the idea of having his life dissected into motivational bromides was probably unappealing.
On the other hand, Friedman has produced a clear, passionate case for Dylan's importance as a personal role model, rather than an artist or a cultural symbol. The lessons that he draws are no less true for being trite. If you love Bob Dylan, and you enjoy self-help literature, you'll probably like this book. Who knows, you might even move to lower Manhattan and start a revolution.