Paul Simon has yet to write a proper autobiography but has cooperated with Malcolm Gladwell and New York Times writer Bruce Headlam for the upcoming “audio biography” Miracle and Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon.
It’s a nine-part series that touches on every era of Simon’s life and career, and features classic tunes like “The Boxer” and “Graceland” along with his in-progress new song “Seven Psalms.” It’s available right now.
In this exclusive excerpt, Simon talks about his decision to end his recording career. “After I finished the  album Stranger to Stranger, it was like, literally a click that said, ‘I’m done. I think I’m done,’” he says. “I said, ‘I don’t think that I can do this any better than I’m doing it right now.’ I think I can do it just as well, but it takes me three years typically to make these kinds of albums. And since I don’t think I can make an album any better than I’m making it now, I think I’d rather spend my three years traveling.”
“I think the only logical thing that I can think of to make a future work better is to shut down the process of how I make things now,” he continues, “which is a process that has been evolving since I’m 12. I would have thought that it would have been something that would have been upsetting. Whoa, you’re done. There’s something scary about that. But I didn’t feel upset at all. I felt fine — you know fine.”
Miracle and Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon was recorded in nine sessions at locations, including Simon’s backyard and the mountains of Hawaii. Simon, Gladwell, and Headlam are the main voices, but there are also appearances by Sting, Herbie Hancock, Renee Fleming, Rosanne Cash, Aaron Lindsey, and Jeff Tweedy.
“I was a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s work before we met,” Paul Simon said in a statement, “and I looked forward to and immensely enjoyed our talks. He has a way of coming at subjects from a slightly different angle that leads to unanticipated and lively conversations.”