How to Be Like Bono

July 11, 2023

When it comes to stories, you’ll almost always find me reading with a physical book in hand and sitting in my favorite reading spot. However, I’ve recently learned memoirs, especially those read by the author, are great choices for audiobook format. The stories told in the real voice of the author make it feel like you’re listening to a friend. Bonus: I get to increase my yearly book read count by listening to books while driving and doing other tasks.  

Currently on my listening list is Surrender by Bono of U2. I’ve been captivated by Bono’s life, the stories of how U2 began, and the legacy they’ve built and retained together for over 40 years. In his memoir, Bono weaves in the importance of their individual uniqueness, the talents of each member, and the struggles that have brought them together and nearly broken them apart. The book is divided into 40 chapters, each a title of one of their songs. And the best part? He sings at various parts—hence the must-listen as an audiobook.  

As I’ve listened to Bono’s beautiful writing and the way he creates a visual picture with his use of words, one predominant theme continues to surface: the idea of collaboration. I haven’t ever spent much time on the idea of collaboration, but I’m beginning to see the importance and purpose of collaboration around me and in my own life to the backdrop of his story.  

As Bono describes the role of collaborating with the band members, to create the words, music, and purpose of each song, each member has a specific talent, whether that is guitar, bass, drums, or vocals. Each member does their part and when they put it together—wow. It’s not just a song, it’s a mission, it’s a calling, it’s bigger than just what one person can do. For Bono, collaboration isn’t just with his band members; it’s within his family, the work he has done for the poor, and activism for Aids in Africa. He and his wife have traveled and served the poor and forgotten. His stories are powerful, and he has brought their experience through his words to governments to effect real change and policies.  

I know, I know…some of you may be rolling your eyes at what might seem grandiose without reading or listening to the book, but the detailed experiences of what they saw and witnessed have had a big impact on me.  

Back when I was involved in YoungLife, I had two youth leaders who were huge U2 fans. I enjoyed the music but didn’t catch the depth of the lyrics and their meaning. Listening to Bono talk about some of the struggles along the way of life, when we have to stop and surrender to whatever is holding us back, letting go of what’s in the way, I am brought back to the leadership of these dear friends and mentors. It was a time in my life where I could see I was part of the beauty of collaboration. We were each bringing our talents and gifts to the table, sharing life and friendship. 

“Without the band, I can’t make the music I hear in my head. Without my partner, I can’t be the man I aspire to be. I succeed only through collaboration.” 

I am so drawn to the idea of collaboration because I think it’s how I operate as my best self. I am fiercely independent, but that doesn’t mean I want to do everything alone. It means I need time to think and to process. Then, I can bring my thoughts and ideas to the table with others who are better at implementing the ideas.  

When I think about collaborating, I see it as everyone bringing their gifts and perspectives, to solve a problem, provide needed information, and create something bigger than one individual. 

This definition comes true, especially in finance.  

Recently, I had several experiences where I collaborated with others and felt so energized. The first was when my friend asked if I would participate on a Zoom call with a group of high school students she was leading a class on financial literacy. The students had questions about taxes, and I was there to answer them the best I could. I loved it. I can talk about finances and taxes with high school or college students—I just love it.  

But here’s the thing: I have no idea how to organize a group, and I don’t have many high school students or college-age people in my circle these days. However, because my friend is fabulous at that, we were able to come together and provide information in an effective way.  

Another example was when I received an email from the marketing team at They asked if they could use some quotes from my last blog where I talked about their website. They put together a feature of Mosaic on their website and some other marketing pieces. This is my kind of collaboration. It isn’t brainstorming a bunch of ideas but rather utilizing commonalities and skills that work well together.  

Within Mosaic, I truly enjoy collaborating with clients. I try to be more of a guide by asking lots of questions to make sure that we are setting up accounts correctly. When clients understand where they’re at financially and get to dream about where they want to go, oh boy! That’s a favorite conversation–or should we say collaboration! 

Here’s what I enjoy the most about collaboration: it isn’t about being the best or the smartest. It’s about knowing what you’re good at, how you’re motivated, and why you’re doing something. It’s also knowing what you’re not good at and what you could be missing—that’s where others come in, knowing their skills that could complement yours and give way to something greater than one person can do alone.  

And here’s what’s interesting: I’m learning there’s a distinction between delegation and collaboration. I’ve been told that I am a good delegator, but really what I was doing was assessing my own abilities and those of people around me and asking for help based on who was the best qualified. With delegation, it’s a kind of hierarchical system, top-down or at different levels. Collaboration, on the other hand, brings us all to the same level, the same table if you will. We’re giving what is ours to contribute and allowing others to do the same.  

At the time of writing this blog, I’m just a little over halfway through Surrender. The first half has been based on the formation of U2 as a group. The second half seems to dive more into the Activism that Bono has been a part of and what he has learned through the journey. I’m sure I’ll have more to say after I finish listening to my friend Bono has to say!  

If you’re taking a road trip this summer or have some outdoor projects, I highly recommend the book to add to your listening queue. And whether you find time for Bono’s beautiful voice or not, I hope you may find some interesting or unexpected ways to collaborate with others. Look for them within your family, work, volunteering, or other places in your daily lives. Feel free to reply directly to this email if this has sparked any ideas on how we could work together.  

P.S. Have a book recommendation of your own? Send over your favorites! I’m always looking for new stories that make me think. 


The opinions expressed herein are those of Anna Nelson and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. This document may contain certain information that constitutes “forward-looking statements” which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “expect,” “will,” “hope,” “forecast,” “intend,” “target,” “believe,” and/or comparable terminology. No assurance, representation, or warranty is made by any person that any of Anna Nelson’s assumptions, expectations, objectives, and/or goals will be achieved. Nothing contained in this document may be relied upon as a guarantee, promise, assurance, or representation as to the future. Anna Nelson is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.