Justin Timberlake may be used to putting his thoughts into lyrics, but in his new book, the singer is putting pen to paper, revealing some of the biggest moments — and missteps — from his career.
Out this Tuesday in bookstores and online, “Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me” is a collection of anecdotes and reflections that touch on Timberlake’s rise to fame, his celebrity friends, and how he’s juggling his constant search for perfection with his role as a husband and father. Mixed in throughout the book are hundreds of candid images from the singer and actor’s personal archives.
“These are my memories, these are my thoughts in the middle of the night, these are the images I see as I close my eyes to go to sleep, [and] these are the stories I will tell my son as he grows,” Timberlake writes in the introduction to the book.
Coming in at just under 300 pages, “Hindsight” is less an autobiography or memoir as it is a curated personal scrapbook of observations, memories, and photographs. Timberlake’s editor, Elizabeth Sullivan, calls it, “experiential” and says “it’s a highly designed mix of stories, memories, musings, and personal images. You can open it up anywhere and read a vignette or look at a series of photographs or wild graphics. But in the end, the elements come together to create an exciting portrait of an artist and human being.”
One of the more telling passages captures the drama behind the scenes as Timberlake was writing his hit song, “Cry Me a River” (long rumored to have been about his ex-girlfriend, Britney Spears). Then just a 21-year-old on the cusp of releasing his first solo album, Timberlake says he finished the song in two hours because he had “been scorned” and “been pissed off.” “The feelings I had were so strong I had to write it,” he says. “People heard me and they understood it because we’ve all been there.”
Known for his Southern-bred charm and charisma, Timberlake is using the book to reveal a different side of him: one that has “struggled,” in his words, “to find an inner calm and strength.” Speaking candidly about his high-profile relationships and new fatherhood, Timberlake says he’s been working to identify the things that make him tick, in order to block out distractions and re-focus his attention on the things that matter. “With hindsight, I can see that, of course, I’ve made mistakes along the way.” But, he writes, “I find courage in the idea that our mistakes can empower us. Big or small, the moments we create lead us forward, over a new threshold.”
Though he started out as a teen heartthrob, Timberlake says, “it’s no longer just about me. I have a wife (The Sinner actress Jessica Biel), a child — a family. It’s terrifying. It’s invigorating. It’s more meaningful than anything I’ve ever been a part of.”
The book does feature moments of levity as well. Timberlake dedicates a section of the book to his friendship with Jimmy Fallon, calling the “Tonight Show” host not only a great collaborator, but a close friend. “We’re nonstop when we’re together,” Timberlake writes, in a page subtitled “Bros Being Bros.” “We just take turns being fire and kerosene.”
For her part, Biel, Timberlake says, calls his relationship with Fallon the “fastest game of ping-pong she’s ever seen, almost impossible to keep up with.”
In a video posted to Instagram earlier this fall, Timberlake shared his excitement about the book launch and teased a special section about the making of his viral hit, “D— in a Box.” Fans of the multi-hyphenate can also expect stories from some his favorite roles on TV and in film, along with backstage photos from his concert tours and performances.