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A Story for People Who Follow Their Hearts: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (excerpt)

A Story for People Who Follow Their Hearts: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (excerpt)



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Published by Simon and Schuster
This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules...people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves...people who know there's more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.
This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules...people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves...people who know there's more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.

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Publish date: Jan 3, 2006
Added to Scribd: Apr 27, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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katlowe reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This was a good read when I was a middle school kid who longed to fly away from a world that seemed too loud and invasive, too much of the time. I no longer suffer from those feelings, so I imagine that if I were to read this story today, I would be less impressed. But at that time, I bonded with the seagull's desire to be free to live on his own terms.
veeralpadhiar reviewed this
Rated 1/5
Think what you want about me after this but I think this was really stupid. Ya ya, an allegory, philosophy, etc. etc. but I think I am not that enlightened. And for this particular book, it is not such a bad position to be in.

Mr. Richard Bach, what's so bad in being ordinary but happy instead of being pseudo-genius and melancholy?
michael5rimmer reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I vacillated between finding Jonathan Livingstone Seagull banal in the simplicity of its message and inspired. Although it definitely has flaws, I've eventually decided it's more inspired than insipid.

The first part of the book has some good writing about Jonathan's love of flying, but also some very trite sentiments about being the best you can be. It sometimes reads like the slogans on those awful motivational posters, or the jingles from men's toiletry product adverts. BUT the message is undeniable a valid and worthy one.

The second and third parts, in which Bach develops his themes of personal freedom and loving kindness, I found both more effective and better written. There are clear parallels with the Christ story, and also with Buddhist bodhisattvas, which gives the book some depth beneath the surface triteness.

I had this book for about 25 years before reading it and I'm sorry it took me that long to get to it - I will be reading it again soon, as I have a feeling that it's a book that will grow with re-reading.
murphy4jacobs reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Actually, in highschool I adored this book. Then, in college, it became part of required reading for a semester. We tore the book apart, put it together, filleted it, reconstituted it, and by the end were burning seagulls in effigy. Any hope of enjoying the book burned with those papier mache birds.
girlsonfire reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Part self-help, part reflection on the afterlife. It was a quick read, but pretty cheesy.
ronjaymar reviewed this
This book is like an extremely deep hot tub. Small on the surface, but the depth is overwhelming, warming, and compelling.
keylawk reviewed this
This work was first published with little fanfare, and to the surprise of most, steadily winged its way up the best-seller lists. A bored gull develops a passion for flight, and discovers higher consciousness in 16-point vertical slow rolls. The author was a flight instructor and commercial pilot. Bach claims he heard a voice, and wrote down "what I saw". Great photographs of gulls by Bach's friend, Munson."Do you want to fly so much that you will forgive the Flock, and learn, and go back to them one day and work to help them know?" Jonathan asks his first student. Love, respect, and forgiveness all seem to be important to freedom. There is an explicit message that the pressure to obey the rules will keep you from your passion.
benjaminhahn reviewed this
Rated 2/5
It's easy to see why born again new agey Christians raised in the 60's and 70's would fall hard for the hippy-dippy messianic allegory that makes up this book. My low rating is not because it isn't written well, it's not horrible, but it's more that it represents a false metaphor. Jonathan, the anthropomorphic seagull, is nothing like the biblical Jesus. Jonathan Livingston Seagull is shunned by the idiot mob for daring to think outside the box. Christians like to think of Jesus as thinking outside the box too, which he reportedly did, but not in the same spirit as what Jonathan does in this book. As with all cults and religious fanaticism, the proof is never in the pudding. Jonathan figures out how to fly really fast and then eventually how to teleport himself within the space time continuum. The metaphor breaks down because Christianity requires faith. Jonathan's skills requires will, practice, and learning. Very different from faith. If the pastor down the street, or any religious guru or leader, wants to pop in at my house and explain how, I too, can teleport around the universe, than by all means, pop in right now. I would love to see a demonstration. Somehow I don't think that's going to happen any time soon though. Once your "miracle" becomes testable, repeatable, and measurable, it no longer exists as a "miracle", it has become science. And science is the antithesis of faith. I feel like Richard Bach wants Jonathan Seagull to be a avatar for faith but it just doesn't work. If you want to just see this book as just an uplifting story about the triumph of will that's fine too, but the messianic symbolism is a little too strong for me to stomach as such.
peleiades44 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull" is a quick read, but a sweet little story nonetheless. I've come across the ideas in this book before, so I didn't find them to be particularly earth shattering, but they are the sort of ideas that need to be said and said again: the need for self-confidence, hope, compassion, love. I think for someone who hasn't read a lot of books about spirituality or self-actualization, "JLS" would be a great primer, because the message in it is very accessible. It doesn't matter what your religion is, or if you even have one, this book speaks to its reader on a human level. It sort of feels like "The Secret" (though "JLS" was written decades earlier) -- full of a message of hope and purpose. Ultimately, on one level, this is a very simple book: a story about a seagull who struggles with self-awareness and acceptance, but on another level, this book is quite complex, containing within it a message that one could easily brood over for years, the sort of message that has the potential to totally reshape a person's life if they're open to it.
hantsuki_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This is an enlightening read. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks the same. I'm actually surprised to find so many negative reviews of this book, but I feel like a lot of people are just looking at what's only on the surface. Yes. One of the obvious themes in this book is how some people (even though this book contains seagulls, it's really about humans because that's what all books are about) are different, and others shun them for it. In this case, Jonathan Seagull is special because he concentrates on perfecting his flight instead of acting like a normal seagull who flies only when he has to and fights for food when it appears. He aspires to achieve the perfect flight, and in order to, he must realize that there is more to himself than just a 46 inch body lined with feathers. This is when the whole spiritual elements take effect because an Elder seagull later suggests that Jonathan must imagine himself as an omnipresence in order to "teleport" himself from one area to another if he wants to continue his ascension into heaven where his flight would finally be perfect.Now I admit that sounds sappy upon reading all of that, but there's more to the story than that. Jonathan realizes he must pass on his knowledge to the other "ignorant" seagulls who refuse to listen to his epiphany. What I like about this part is instead of staying up in the upper area of the skies where the other seagulls are training to achieve perfect flight, Jonathan decides it would be better to help those seagulls on the ground who have not realized a greater truth yet. Even though those were the same seagulls who ostracized him from their flock, he is willing to overlook their ignorance if it means sharing the same knowledge he has obtained. And by doing so, his students will pass on their knowledge and improve themselves in the process, and a never-ending chain of events will continue on.

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