"Someone needs to pull the pen from Simon Cowell's fingers," said Breanne L. Heldman in E! Online. In anticipation of his 50th birthday next week, the American Idol judge decided to "air his dirty laundry in public" by publishing "an absurdly lengthy diatribe" to himself in the UK's Daily Mail. Cowell's "nearly 3,500 words makes for nothing but a puff (as in puff, the magic ego) piece."

But the letter did "provide insight into the famed judge's personal life," said Access Hollywood. Cowell addressed "the success and failures of his younger years," and also "revealed he has some very dark times" and that "he remains insecure about being on television."

"At times the letter is both self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing," said Jim Cantiello in MTV.com. One moment he's "patting himself on the back for correctly predicting the sales potential in marketing music on television for BMG," the next he's explaining how "his record-label cohorts thought of him as 'a freak.'" But what was probably most surprising was that "Cowell closed the letter by hinting that his TV career might be winding down."