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The Wisdom of Donkeys: Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World
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The Wisdom of Donkeys: Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A literary ode to peace, presence, and fulfillment inspired by a walk taken with a most surprising creature.

"The demon of speed is often associated with forgetting, with avoidance…and slowness with memory and confronting," observes Milan Kundera in his novel Slowness. With that purpose in mind--a search for slowness and tranquillity--Andy Merrifield set out on a journey o
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by Walker Books (first published January 17th 2008)
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I ended up enjoying this book far more than I had anticipated. At first I thought, "A book about a man walking around France with a donkey? Sounds like fun." Being a big fan of travel writing, I picked it up at the library, but this book was so much more than travel writing/literature. This is a love song to donkeys, to slowing down, to living life with less but being more content. It's a lovely story filled with Merrifield's philosophies about life, literature, and donkeys. At times, Merrifield ...more
The Wisdom of Donkeys
By Andy Merrifield
4 stars
pp. 258

Finding tranquility in a chaotic world is Merrifield's subtitle to The Wisdom of Donkeys and that is exactly what Merrifield was doing following a personal undefined crisis. Merrifield a native of Liverpool, England had wanted two things in his life to live in New York City and immerse himself in academia. He had both of those, a PhD in Geography, an urban Marxist theorist an active author and yet during a crisis of faith he walked away and fo
Scott Munden
This is a wonderful little book and I've never really read anything like it. It is something of a self-help text and I usually run in the opposite direction of books of that ilk. This seemed different to me however. "The Wisdon of Donkeys" is also a travelogue, an extended meditation and a plea for empathy with fellow sentient beings. Merrifield's donkey could have been written as a metaphor for slowing the hyper-pace of our lives. The book could have been just about the lost pleasure of simple ...more
Stephanie Carson
It was good - and teaches us a valuable message about how this equine species can teach us how to be patient, kind, thoughtful, careful, gentle, and calm. But that message could have been conveyed in fewer pages. Like the author's donkey pal, the book is heartwarming, but moved at a very slow pace. I just lost interest and gave up about half way through.
Scott Lake
Jealousy. The emotion you may experience in reading this book about the author's walking journey through southern France, enjoying life at a pace the modern world has forgotten, in the companionship of Gribouille - a donkey.

Merrifield shows he is a soul-mate of Robert Frost.
At the beginning, it all seems very boring, and the author seems like he's not getting anywhere with his words. But once the journey really kicks in, it's like you're in it with Merrifield together. Gribouille is charming. You have to read this book.
First, it made me want to buy a donkey, then look after him and stroke him/her, and learn to understand the animal.... The author writes so you feel you are on the journey with him and the donkey, and it is a very strong feel-good book.
This book is fantastic. Musings on the inner lives of donkeys. Walking cross country with a donkey, the author brings together donkey lore and literature and his own experiences having a simple, natural space of time to explore the world.
Robert Day
Gribouille is French for scribble and is also the name of the donkey in this book.

Andy Merrifield is a Marxist urban theorist and is also the name of the human in this book.

Gribouille is kind enough to walk with Andy around the French countryside and inspire him to remember other donkeys in real life and in literature. Andy does lots of thinking and writing about donkeys and the philosophy of taking it easy and then he wrote this book about it.

This book is chock full of donkeys.

It’s rather too s
I enjoyed this book, and perhaps I am biased since I have donkeys and I hike with them almost daily- so I have my own views of donkey-nature. This tale is about a man who walks across southern France with a donkey, and like many such memoirs the story weaves in present experiences with history of the area, history of donkeys, other tales about donkeys, and tales from the author's past that are brought forth as a result of his long trek with the donkey. An enjoyable book for those who like storie ...more
nonfiction; self-help section (de-stressing?). I was hoping this would be more like Jon Katz's idyllic narratives with lovable animal personalities and humorous mishaps, but it was a lot of boring blather that I didn't care to force myself to read.
Donkeys are amazing creatures - kind, gentle, trusting, calm, and very strong. Let's hope they are also forgiving after the way humans have treated them throughout history.

The Wisdom of Donkeys is a story about slowing down life. Andy Merrifield takes a journey through southern France with a borrowed donkey, and we are constantly reminded that the art of daydreaming or "passive adventure" is the greatest piece of wisdom to be learned from these animals.

In our modern frenetic rat race, we are un
Brian Pearson
Fantastic book, often pilloried, who would know the simple donkey could lead you on a fantastic journey. Mindful and ever present in the now with great parables and fables this book has recaptured something within me that feels intently reassured that life can be what we make it and control is best with us than manipulated by others
I love this book....
This was a sweet book that simply by the composition led you to slow down as you read through the pages.
It is less of a adventure story but more of a lot of thoughtful introspection. I had to laugh when I saw it listed under the Self Help section of a few online book sites.
I had never really thought of it that way but perhaps it is it's own meditation of sorts.
I do admit that I now want to travel the French countryside with a donkey. I'm not sure that is for everyone but neither is a contempla
Diane C.

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I loved the info about donkeys, and the first few chapters were compelling. Then it ran out of steam. A potentially great book, but not ultimately written in a way to draw one through the entire thing. I didn't finish it. I wish it were better written.
I just remembered this book. I really wanted to like it, but it was terribly boring. Sometimes boring is good, but this was not good. I'm happy that Merrifield is happy, but I wish he would write more books like his biography of Guy Debord. That was an interesting book.
Rachael Eliz
For people who like meditative thinking, quiet and tranquility. You've got to LOVE donkeys to really appreciate it, or at least like them quite a bit - you'll fall in love with them if you read this!
Jane Allen
Very tranquil and cerebral. Beautifully written and thought out. I'll never look at donkeys the same way again. But it did take me 6 months to work my way through this tiny volume.
Nan Miceli
Some delightful passages and insightfulness but did not enjoy this book as much as I anticipated. Author wanders...found some of his wandering to be boring.
Totally enchanting and adorable! I recommend every frenzied city person to stop, take a breath, and read this very moving tale about this man and his donkey.
This book was interesting at first but wore on me. I started feeling bored by this man's ramblings as he rambled the French counttry side with his donkey.
Peter Hall
A well researched a personal tale of how walking with a donkey is more meaningful than chasing someone's dream.
A story of a man's inward journey walking through France with a donkey. ENjoyable, insightful at times.
Veganbonnie Bonnie Shulman
You will never see donkeys the same way again. Fall in love with these beautiful, gentle animals!
Man walking travels with donkey and finding tranquility in a chaotic world with him
if you are a donkey fan, you'll love this book.
Anthony D Buckley
Jun 04, 2009 Anthony D Buckley marked it as to-read
Slowness. It sounds pretty good to me.
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