Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
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.

Topics: Allegory, Novella, Illustrated, Inspirational, Philosophical, Existentialism, Courage, Christianity, Creativity, Liberty, Ambition, Dreams, Journeys, Spirituality , Birds, Goals & Aspirations, Magical Realism, and Existentialism

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781439167298
List price: $9.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Jonathan Livingston Seagull
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
I don't remember much about this book, since it's been about 30 years since I read it. I think that, as a junior high student, I was impressed by it.more
(fade in from commercial)Oprah Winfrey (O): My next guest is an icon, and a source of inspiration for millions! Please welcome Mr. Jonathan Livingston Seagull!(audience cheers … seagull flies in from offstage, loops around over the audience, and then alights on the guest chair next to Oprah)Jonathan Livingston Seagull (JLS): Thanks for having me Oprah. It’s great to be here.O: The pleasure’s all mine! I'm a huge fan; your message of individualism inspires me. Please tell our viewers about your book.JLS: It’s all about following your own beat; not just doing what's expected. As a young bird, I looked around at my peers catching fish and finding mates. That just wasn’t my scene! So I decided to make my own rules, Man! I taught myself how to fly 190 miles per hour! You should check it out, O, it’ll blow your mind! O: YEAH! That sounds exciting!! I can see the audience wants to talk to you, so let’s not keep them waiting... (looks around, then points)You, the young man in the “Pornstar” t-shirt. What’s your question?T-shirt guy: Dude! Mr. Seagull! You are so rad! I want to be just like you! You know how you fly 190mph? Well, I drive 190mph! I lost my license, but I’m not gonna let that stop me...JLS: Hold up! Hold on there just a sec… I’ve been through this with my lawyer and publicist so many times… (lecturing to the whole audience) I just want to be clear here, for the record, that I am in no way advising or recommending that anybody do anything illegal. Now you all heard me say that… right here in front of the camera. That’s not what I’m about.O: But then, there are some cases, like Nelson Mandela. He followed what he knew was right, and they threw him in jail for 23 years. But in the end, he was vindicated.JLS: (shifting uneasily in his seat) Yeah, well… I don’t want to say anything without my lawyer. Twenty-three years is a very long time.O: Oh, I see one of our viewers has written in on Facebook! ♥♥Missy1997♥♥ writes:”Wzup J-Unit! UR so KoOl! :-) I M a fResHmaN at NOrThsIDe HiGhsChoOL (go TiGErShaRkS!!!!!!) My ParEntz wOn’T LeT mE daTe my BoyFriEND, BuRt, b-cauZ he’z 37. We JuST GotTa fOlLoW oUr oWn DRummER!!! PlEEZ talk 2 TheM 4 Me! ThANkZ !!! Byeeeeeeeeeee!”JLS: (more shifting) Er… well, sometimes, Missy, your parents just know things you don’t know.. from age and perspective… and you just have to do what they say. I wouldn’t fight them on this one.O: (slowly nodding in agreement, with a disgusted look on her face) Yeah, Missy, don’t argue with your parents.JLS: (trying to change the subject) There’s a sweet old seagull in the back with her wing up! What is your question, Ma’am?Sweet Old Seagull (SOS): (in a frail, yet determined voice) Mr. Livingston, my son injured his wing when he followed you and your crazy cult down to Paraguay. To this day, he cannot fly straight…JLS: (cradling head between his wings) Ugggh!!! Again with the Jonathantown! That was thirty-five years ago!!! When are you people gonna give this a rest???SOS: (shaking her wing at JLS)…one hundred twenty-seven high-speed, mid-air collisions in the first day alone… followed by weeks of starvation, because not a one of you ever bothered to learn how to catch a fish…JLS: THEY SHUT US DOWN!!! (with a sweep of his wing) IT’S GONE!!!...NO MORE JONATHANTOWN!!!... ARE YOU HAPPY???...YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY!!!SOS: I am concerned about young birds today reading your book…JLS: FINE!!! (turns to the camera)Listen, when I tell people to break the rules and part with convention, OF COURSE it’s a given that you should do it SAFELY!! I mean… safety first, right? Let’s use our heads out there! Nobody needs to get hurt!(throws himself back in the chair, in frustration)Isn’t anybody out there thinking about… like, quitting college and starting a software company?? You know? Like Bill Gates? I was kinda’ thinking these questions would be more like that.(silence)O: (in a consoling tone) This is a mid-afternoon show. I think most people like that are probably busy at work, or in school.JLS: (softly) Oh.Elderly Seagull (ES) in the audience: (waving his wings up in the air) Oooh! Ooooh!!! Mr. Fancypants Author!! Pick me!!!!JLS: (looking out into the audience): Dad? What are you doing here?ES: I have an important question for the Bigshot rule breaker.JLS: (quizzical look on his face) Okay… what is it?ES: I would like you to answer, here in front of all these nice people, why it is that I have a grown fifty-three year-old son, living downstairs in the basement, eating all my fish, because he never learned to catch any.JLS: I was developing my high-speed flying techniques! I didn’t hear you complaining when they first published my book!ES: One book! You write one book. They give you a hundred fish. Then, for forty years...NOTHING!JLS: Look, Pop, this was never about the fish!ES: (gesturing towards the door) Your Mother is out there, right now as we speak, catching fish for you to eat tonight! Arthritis in both wings! She should be home, resting! Should I run out there right now and tell her?? ”You can stop now, Bernice! Johnny says ‘It’s not about the fish!’”JLS: I don’t have to sit here and take this!(flies off stage)O: (starts clapping, gestures to the audience) A big hand everybody! That was Mr. Jonathan Livingston Seagull!!(turning to the camera) You heard it here, folks! Don't conform to society's rules! Follow you heart, and make your dreams come true! ... but don't break any laws! ... and remember: safety first!Also, kids: do what your parents say, without a lot of backtalk!Oh, and if your heart's desire could include something marketable, like computers, that would be good.We'll be right back after this commercial break!(fade)more
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?more
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.more
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.more
Part self-help, part reflection on the afterlife. It was a quick read, but pretty cheesy.more
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.more
"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.more
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.more
How much can I love a book?I utterly adored this one. No need to say anything else.more
I read this quite a while ago, when I was a teenager, and liked it quite a bit. I now read all these negative reviews about the book. I simply don't know why people are so hateful toward it. No, I don't think it's supposed to be this amazing life-changing book that will open your eyes in a way no other book can. Instead, it's an inspirational fable that is enjoyable to read and depending on where you are in your life, could definitely provide some support.more
all about following your own path;bucking the system, different is good.more
Jonathan Livingston is a seagull unlike the others. Not content with just following the flock in search of food for sustenance, he spends his days perfecting his flying technique and cares little about the fact that others disapprove of him. When he dies, he meets an ancient seagull 'spirit' who takes him under his wing(!) and teaches him to fly in ways Jonathan could never have imagined himself doing in his lifetime. When he is given the choice of evolving to yet another dimension of 'higher' being, Jonathan chooses to go back to his flock to teach others the lessons he has learned. This is a classic spiritual parable which reminds us that in order to reach our full potential, we have to keep striving towards our goal and we musn't be afraid to be different. An good life lesson for people of all ages and a very quick read, but the book itself would greatly benefit from a thorough redesign. With a change from the unappealing black and white photos and cheap printing to good photography and a nice layout, this story would remain just as fresh and inspiring as it was 40 years ago.more
This book didn't change my life. (SPOILERS?) So there's a seagull, and he likes racing. He finds ways to go as fast as possible. He dies. Or maybe not. Am I right so far?I'm not the quickest at spotting allegory, but I'm sure there's a life affirming message somewhere in this story. I just can't figure out what it is.more
I approached this book expecting to be astounded and moved by its aforementioned lyrical beauty.Perhaps my expectations had been built up too high, but I was very disappointed.The first half of this book, which was about Jonathan Seagull learning to fly, and then being banished from his flock, was very good. I loved the picture that Bach put in your mind, his descriptions, and the factual yet simplistically graceful way that he wrote.However, I was incredulous at the complete turn-around this book makes in the second half of the story.Abruptly, this book turns from poetic to sci-fi. An old seagull, who is apparently 1,000 years old, begins training Jonathan Seagull how to disappear and re-appear anywhere on earth, or even on other earths. Jonathan stands on the beach for days, trying to train his mind to be able to do it.The scene reminded me of Yoda training Luke to do magical/science fiction stuff with his mind in the swamp.And of course, eventually Jonathan (or, might I say, his Jedi mind tricks) succeed. He opens his eyes and is suddenly on another planet with three green moons!I laughed a loud here, thinking "What?!"The rest of the book tries to combine the earlier beautiful writing style with this new plot.Jonathan Seagull becomes a teacher himself, teaching other young birds that flying involves love, and a certain mindset. This part reminded me of yoga classes.I was even further amused when the author began introducing a Christian allegory into the story. Jonathan gathers followers (he is their teacher), including one in particular that is close to him (representing Peter). He goes back to his old flock to teach the birds how to fly. Some join him, but most criticize him. Rumors begin that he is the Son of the Great God. Eventually, the flock tries to kill him. Afterward, he preaches to his followers that they must go on, and continue loving the flock, even if they did just turn murderous. And he disappears - just like Jesus.I feel as if the author had three completely different book ideas here. A poetic, simplistic inspiring book about seagulls, the wind, and the ocean. A very nice idea!Or, a science fiction book?Or how about, a book about Jesus - except he is a seagull?How about all three?!As you can probably assume, I did not like this book. Even the photographs disappointed me. Many of them seemed to be the exact same as previous ones, or even the exact same as on the page before.I did not enjoy this scattered, preachy, and bizarre little book.more
This book was quite interesting. It would definitely fall into the category of allegory. It reminds me of The Legend of Bagger Vance. This was a book club selection and I cannot wait for this discussion.more
It starts out very promising, with a thinking individual cast out from a narrow-minded group. The rest is too biblical for me, with its "afterlives", each one more "perfect" than the preceding one (much like the final Narnia book), the comparison of flight with "salvation", and the teachers spreading the word of "faith" among their "disciples". Perhaps it could be viewed just as belief in one self, but to me it was in-your-face religious.Didn't like it, mostly just got annoyed by it. Also, the Finnish translation had poor language.more
This book is a response to the flawed and disappointing underbelly of humanity, revealed for Bach in Vietnam, the Kennedy assassination, the battles for Civil Rights and Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution. Unfortunately, it is not a work which embraces or explores those changes, but seeks to escape the conflicts surrounding them.Perhaps it should be unsurprising that the author would want to escape the everyday anxieties which marked the changing world. Certainly, there is a sort of optimism in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, though it is merely the sort you get when you take ancient and complex philosophy and distill it down into meaningless fluff. It is from this feel-good denial that the whole New Age movement springs, giving hope without guidance, and offering self-help for our self loathing.The surface of the pond seems calm and tamed from afar. The ripples almost insensible. It is tempting to hope that the whirling eddies of hate, the tumult of inequality, and the maelstroms of fear do not persist beneath it. We shall someday find, when we must navigate Scylla and Charybdis, whether we have melted down our statues and our cannons both to build a monument to those who will be lost.more
It was well worth how little time it takes to read, at least in the 70s when I read it. One of these days, I may even read it again.I saw the movie first. Somehow, the book wasn’t as poignant without Neil Diamond’s soundtrack.more
Classic and inspirational story about a seagull who wants to fly just for the pure beauty of it, instead of to look for food. He is scorned by the other gulls, but ultimately he teaches them much. A wonderful story for any age, JLS speaks to the power of belief in one's self and in self-determination. A rich parable of truth and beauty. It's a fast read, but it will stay with you for years.more
Why this book isn't considered fantasy like Watership Down is a matter of splitting hairs. Read during a person's angst period, it's about a bird who struggles to find the meaning of life.more
Blech, blech, blech, 70s self-help, new age blather. This whole (thankfully short) book is a tortured fable about a seagull trying to find himself. Yick.more
Great book, enjoyed the pictures throughout and the story of striving for perfection. I read this one sitting on a 70's armchair in the sun and I would strongly recommend the experience. I think depending on the mood you are in you could find this cheesy or too happy go lucky but if you are feeling a little illuminated at the time I think this is a great one to maintain your mood.more
Read all 50 reviews

Reviews

I don't remember much about this book, since it's been about 30 years since I read it. I think that, as a junior high student, I was impressed by it.more
(fade in from commercial)Oprah Winfrey (O): My next guest is an icon, and a source of inspiration for millions! Please welcome Mr. Jonathan Livingston Seagull!(audience cheers … seagull flies in from offstage, loops around over the audience, and then alights on the guest chair next to Oprah)Jonathan Livingston Seagull (JLS): Thanks for having me Oprah. It’s great to be here.O: The pleasure’s all mine! I'm a huge fan; your message of individualism inspires me. Please tell our viewers about your book.JLS: It’s all about following your own beat; not just doing what's expected. As a young bird, I looked around at my peers catching fish and finding mates. That just wasn’t my scene! So I decided to make my own rules, Man! I taught myself how to fly 190 miles per hour! You should check it out, O, it’ll blow your mind! O: YEAH! That sounds exciting!! I can see the audience wants to talk to you, so let’s not keep them waiting... (looks around, then points)You, the young man in the “Pornstar” t-shirt. What’s your question?T-shirt guy: Dude! Mr. Seagull! You are so rad! I want to be just like you! You know how you fly 190mph? Well, I drive 190mph! I lost my license, but I’m not gonna let that stop me...JLS: Hold up! Hold on there just a sec… I’ve been through this with my lawyer and publicist so many times… (lecturing to the whole audience) I just want to be clear here, for the record, that I am in no way advising or recommending that anybody do anything illegal. Now you all heard me say that… right here in front of the camera. That’s not what I’m about.O: But then, there are some cases, like Nelson Mandela. He followed what he knew was right, and they threw him in jail for 23 years. But in the end, he was vindicated.JLS: (shifting uneasily in his seat) Yeah, well… I don’t want to say anything without my lawyer. Twenty-three years is a very long time.O: Oh, I see one of our viewers has written in on Facebook! ♥♥Missy1997♥♥ writes:”Wzup J-Unit! UR so KoOl! :-) I M a fResHmaN at NOrThsIDe HiGhsChoOL (go TiGErShaRkS!!!!!!) My ParEntz wOn’T LeT mE daTe my BoyFriEND, BuRt, b-cauZ he’z 37. We JuST GotTa fOlLoW oUr oWn DRummER!!! PlEEZ talk 2 TheM 4 Me! ThANkZ !!! Byeeeeeeeeeee!”JLS: (more shifting) Er… well, sometimes, Missy, your parents just know things you don’t know.. from age and perspective… and you just have to do what they say. I wouldn’t fight them on this one.O: (slowly nodding in agreement, with a disgusted look on her face) Yeah, Missy, don’t argue with your parents.JLS: (trying to change the subject) There’s a sweet old seagull in the back with her wing up! What is your question, Ma’am?Sweet Old Seagull (SOS): (in a frail, yet determined voice) Mr. Livingston, my son injured his wing when he followed you and your crazy cult down to Paraguay. To this day, he cannot fly straight…JLS: (cradling head between his wings) Ugggh!!! Again with the Jonathantown! That was thirty-five years ago!!! When are you people gonna give this a rest???SOS: (shaking her wing at JLS)…one hundred twenty-seven high-speed, mid-air collisions in the first day alone… followed by weeks of starvation, because not a one of you ever bothered to learn how to catch a fish…JLS: THEY SHUT US DOWN!!! (with a sweep of his wing) IT’S GONE!!!...NO MORE JONATHANTOWN!!!... ARE YOU HAPPY???...YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY!!!SOS: I am concerned about young birds today reading your book…JLS: FINE!!! (turns to the camera)Listen, when I tell people to break the rules and part with convention, OF COURSE it’s a given that you should do it SAFELY!! I mean… safety first, right? Let’s use our heads out there! Nobody needs to get hurt!(throws himself back in the chair, in frustration)Isn’t anybody out there thinking about… like, quitting college and starting a software company?? You know? Like Bill Gates? I was kinda’ thinking these questions would be more like that.(silence)O: (in a consoling tone) This is a mid-afternoon show. I think most people like that are probably busy at work, or in school.JLS: (softly) Oh.Elderly Seagull (ES) in the audience: (waving his wings up in the air) Oooh! Ooooh!!! Mr. Fancypants Author!! Pick me!!!!JLS: (looking out into the audience): Dad? What are you doing here?ES: I have an important question for the Bigshot rule breaker.JLS: (quizzical look on his face) Okay… what is it?ES: I would like you to answer, here in front of all these nice people, why it is that I have a grown fifty-three year-old son, living downstairs in the basement, eating all my fish, because he never learned to catch any.JLS: I was developing my high-speed flying techniques! I didn’t hear you complaining when they first published my book!ES: One book! You write one book. They give you a hundred fish. Then, for forty years...NOTHING!JLS: Look, Pop, this was never about the fish!ES: (gesturing towards the door) Your Mother is out there, right now as we speak, catching fish for you to eat tonight! Arthritis in both wings! She should be home, resting! Should I run out there right now and tell her?? ”You can stop now, Bernice! Johnny says ‘It’s not about the fish!’”JLS: I don’t have to sit here and take this!(flies off stage)O: (starts clapping, gestures to the audience) A big hand everybody! That was Mr. Jonathan Livingston Seagull!!(turning to the camera) You heard it here, folks! Don't conform to society's rules! Follow you heart, and make your dreams come true! ... but don't break any laws! ... and remember: safety first!Also, kids: do what your parents say, without a lot of backtalk!Oh, and if your heart's desire could include something marketable, like computers, that would be good.We'll be right back after this commercial break!(fade)more
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?more
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.more
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.more
Part self-help, part reflection on the afterlife. It was a quick read, but pretty cheesy.more
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.more
"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.more
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.more
How much can I love a book?I utterly adored this one. No need to say anything else.more
I read this quite a while ago, when I was a teenager, and liked it quite a bit. I now read all these negative reviews about the book. I simply don't know why people are so hateful toward it. No, I don't think it's supposed to be this amazing life-changing book that will open your eyes in a way no other book can. Instead, it's an inspirational fable that is enjoyable to read and depending on where you are in your life, could definitely provide some support.more
all about following your own path;bucking the system, different is good.more
Jonathan Livingston is a seagull unlike the others. Not content with just following the flock in search of food for sustenance, he spends his days perfecting his flying technique and cares little about the fact that others disapprove of him. When he dies, he meets an ancient seagull 'spirit' who takes him under his wing(!) and teaches him to fly in ways Jonathan could never have imagined himself doing in his lifetime. When he is given the choice of evolving to yet another dimension of 'higher' being, Jonathan chooses to go back to his flock to teach others the lessons he has learned. This is a classic spiritual parable which reminds us that in order to reach our full potential, we have to keep striving towards our goal and we musn't be afraid to be different. An good life lesson for people of all ages and a very quick read, but the book itself would greatly benefit from a thorough redesign. With a change from the unappealing black and white photos and cheap printing to good photography and a nice layout, this story would remain just as fresh and inspiring as it was 40 years ago.more
This book didn't change my life. (SPOILERS?) So there's a seagull, and he likes racing. He finds ways to go as fast as possible. He dies. Or maybe not. Am I right so far?I'm not the quickest at spotting allegory, but I'm sure there's a life affirming message somewhere in this story. I just can't figure out what it is.more
I approached this book expecting to be astounded and moved by its aforementioned lyrical beauty.Perhaps my expectations had been built up too high, but I was very disappointed.The first half of this book, which was about Jonathan Seagull learning to fly, and then being banished from his flock, was very good. I loved the picture that Bach put in your mind, his descriptions, and the factual yet simplistically graceful way that he wrote.However, I was incredulous at the complete turn-around this book makes in the second half of the story.Abruptly, this book turns from poetic to sci-fi. An old seagull, who is apparently 1,000 years old, begins training Jonathan Seagull how to disappear and re-appear anywhere on earth, or even on other earths. Jonathan stands on the beach for days, trying to train his mind to be able to do it.The scene reminded me of Yoda training Luke to do magical/science fiction stuff with his mind in the swamp.And of course, eventually Jonathan (or, might I say, his Jedi mind tricks) succeed. He opens his eyes and is suddenly on another planet with three green moons!I laughed a loud here, thinking "What?!"The rest of the book tries to combine the earlier beautiful writing style with this new plot.Jonathan Seagull becomes a teacher himself, teaching other young birds that flying involves love, and a certain mindset. This part reminded me of yoga classes.I was even further amused when the author began introducing a Christian allegory into the story. Jonathan gathers followers (he is their teacher), including one in particular that is close to him (representing Peter). He goes back to his old flock to teach the birds how to fly. Some join him, but most criticize him. Rumors begin that he is the Son of the Great God. Eventually, the flock tries to kill him. Afterward, he preaches to his followers that they must go on, and continue loving the flock, even if they did just turn murderous. And he disappears - just like Jesus.I feel as if the author had three completely different book ideas here. A poetic, simplistic inspiring book about seagulls, the wind, and the ocean. A very nice idea!Or, a science fiction book?Or how about, a book about Jesus - except he is a seagull?How about all three?!As you can probably assume, I did not like this book. Even the photographs disappointed me. Many of them seemed to be the exact same as previous ones, or even the exact same as on the page before.I did not enjoy this scattered, preachy, and bizarre little book.more
This book was quite interesting. It would definitely fall into the category of allegory. It reminds me of The Legend of Bagger Vance. This was a book club selection and I cannot wait for this discussion.more
It starts out very promising, with a thinking individual cast out from a narrow-minded group. The rest is too biblical for me, with its "afterlives", each one more "perfect" than the preceding one (much like the final Narnia book), the comparison of flight with "salvation", and the teachers spreading the word of "faith" among their "disciples". Perhaps it could be viewed just as belief in one self, but to me it was in-your-face religious.Didn't like it, mostly just got annoyed by it. Also, the Finnish translation had poor language.more
This book is a response to the flawed and disappointing underbelly of humanity, revealed for Bach in Vietnam, the Kennedy assassination, the battles for Civil Rights and Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution. Unfortunately, it is not a work which embraces or explores those changes, but seeks to escape the conflicts surrounding them.Perhaps it should be unsurprising that the author would want to escape the everyday anxieties which marked the changing world. Certainly, there is a sort of optimism in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, though it is merely the sort you get when you take ancient and complex philosophy and distill it down into meaningless fluff. It is from this feel-good denial that the whole New Age movement springs, giving hope without guidance, and offering self-help for our self loathing.The surface of the pond seems calm and tamed from afar. The ripples almost insensible. It is tempting to hope that the whirling eddies of hate, the tumult of inequality, and the maelstroms of fear do not persist beneath it. We shall someday find, when we must navigate Scylla and Charybdis, whether we have melted down our statues and our cannons both to build a monument to those who will be lost.more
It was well worth how little time it takes to read, at least in the 70s when I read it. One of these days, I may even read it again.I saw the movie first. Somehow, the book wasn’t as poignant without Neil Diamond’s soundtrack.more
Classic and inspirational story about a seagull who wants to fly just for the pure beauty of it, instead of to look for food. He is scorned by the other gulls, but ultimately he teaches them much. A wonderful story for any age, JLS speaks to the power of belief in one's self and in self-determination. A rich parable of truth and beauty. It's a fast read, but it will stay with you for years.more
Why this book isn't considered fantasy like Watership Down is a matter of splitting hairs. Read during a person's angst period, it's about a bird who struggles to find the meaning of life.more
Blech, blech, blech, 70s self-help, new age blather. This whole (thankfully short) book is a tortured fable about a seagull trying to find himself. Yick.more
Great book, enjoyed the pictures throughout and the story of striving for perfection. I read this one sitting on a 70's armchair in the sun and I would strongly recommend the experience. I think depending on the mood you are in you could find this cheesy or too happy go lucky but if you are feeling a little illuminated at the time I think this is a great one to maintain your mood.more
Load more
scribd