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Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It

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3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,738 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
From Amsterdam to the Zone - the Black Rock Desert of Nevada - this is the story of Geoff Dyer's quest for a meaningful life & how he finally lost himself in the peak experiences.
Paperback, 242 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Canongate Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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MJ Nicholls
Geoff takes various shirts, various drugs, and various girls, to various locations around the world, intellectualising as he goes, sometimes having impish larks along the way, sometimes having nervous breakdowns, sometimes having sex with black women. At first, I was amused at this bourgeois intellect mincing around like a Club 18-30 member, then I found his antics a little drab, indulgent and flâneurish. At first his laid-back prose reads like a treat, but lapses at midpoint into a meandering a ...more
Ellen
May 28, 2011 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I may have enjoyed this memoir by British author Geoff Dyer a bit more if, prior to picking it up, I had ever heard of Geoff Dyer--not to mention to have actually have read him. The picture he paints is not of a worldly intellectual traveling off the beaten path and living the moment, but of a rather immature, self-aggrandizing would-be thinker behaving like a teenager while actually in his 40s. His tales of drug-taking and drinking to excess did little to endear him to me, and the "screamingly ...more
Rebecca
May 03, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first essay is very entertaining. The second essay is entertaining. And... so on down the line.

Here is my problem with this collection: there is a formula that emerges after you read about three of the essays. Here is it:

a) Dyer arrives in a foreign city.
b) Dyer quickly befriends a fellow traveler/crank/drugged-out loony.
c) Said Loony introduced Dyer to Very Hot Girl.
d) Dyer & Loony acquire some drugs.
e) Dyer & Loony wander around foreign city. Insert scenery.
f) VHG drifts in for
...more
Brian Esser
Oct 15, 2008 Brian Esser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah -- who gave it to me and has read it already
At first I kind of liked the book, then I thought the author was a miserable wanker. After a while the essays devolved into a typical pattern of him moving to a new city, pretending to write or work on a book or something, meet a woman, sleep with her or not, engage in some dialogue that was vaguely West Wing-esque, then ingest some controlled substances and finally wrap it up in a bit of hackneyed wisdom. Somewhere along the last or second to last essay he managed to fashion a memoir out of a s ...more
Jim Marshall
Mar 24, 2009 Jim Marshall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only serious flaw in this otherwise extraordinary book is its title, which, in an attempt to seem playfully ironic, may mislead readers who would otherwise be glad to find it. It is decidedly not a talk-show-Dr. Phil-co-dependent no more sort of thing. It is rather a deeply meditative travel book, with chapters set in Paris, Cambodia, Libya, Amsterdam, and southern Thailand, and a narrative voice that is sly, lyrical, self-cynical, and painfully funny. The funny parts (which are always also ...more
M. Sarki
I am not surprised to learn that there are many readers who begin this book thinking it may help them understand yoga or the book be interesting enough that it doesn't matter that the writing is not about yoga at all. Early on in their reading many of these readers discover it isn't enough for Geoff Dyer to be clever and cute, complaining, and otherwise dependent on his own incessant and awful truths. Dyer's silliness for names, his middle-age juvenile behavior towards drugs and porno send some ...more
Alex
May 14, 2013 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Then a hustler with wayward and unkempt eyes accosted us.
"D'you speak English?" he wanted to know.
"To a very high standard," I said.
"Could you do me a favour?"
"Almost certainly not," I said. For a moment he looked totally crestfallen. Then he went on his way without even saying, "Fuck you." In its way it was one of the most satisfying exchanges of my life. He could have been the risen Christ for all we cared.
What else?"

This is how Geoff Dyer writes: as if he is a friend filling you in on h
...more
Michael
Apr 02, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of loosely linked -- well, not travel pieces, really, just essays from someone who's ended up moving around rather a lot. As a narrator, Dyer's enormously endearing as he wanders around, equal parts gung-ho and despondent, alternately quoting Auden and dropping acid. For Dyer the writer, Englishness -- or a characteristic I like to pretend is Englishness -- is a tremendous boon. Because this is really a Journey book, about a Seeker on a sort of stumbling, stoned search for transcend ...more
Rebecca
Mar 05, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoiresque
I really got to loathe Mr. Dyer. I really thought he was a selfish shallow bastard by the end. He made me uncomfortable and afraid of ever running into him at a bar or something. I'm actually surprised by the number of people who enjoyed this book and was entertained for about .000008th of a second to re-read it and therefore rejudge. But then I came to my senses. I remember hating the person and not the writing which is why it gets any stars.
Jim
Mar 02, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, essays
I have been so impressed by Geoff Dyer's The Search and Zona that I -- somewhat prematurely -- came to the conclusion that here was a writer whose work was golden. Well, with Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It I saw that I mistook for gold was perhaps brass. Each of the eleven essays in this book is about a man suffering a mid-life crisis trying to find some solution by travel. In fact, there is no essay about Mr. Dyer at home, because Mr. Dyer does not appear to ever be home.

There a
...more
Brandi Rose
Such an interesting title. Such uninteresting insides.
James
Mar 11, 2015 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this memoir/travelogue better. In the first chapter I had one of those keenly exciting verification moments, when the reader's own experience is confirmed and thereby actualized through abstraction in someone else's prose, the flesh made word, as it were. In this chapter, Dyer describes the three months he lived on the fringes of the French Quarter of New Orleans, a period during which he breakfasted every day on an almond croissant at the bakery Croissant d'Or. The almon ...more
Jennifer
Many other reviews have touched upon the same experience I had while reading this book. I didn't like Mr. Dyer much. I thought he was very macho and insensitive to women, and viewed them only as objects to be either worshiped, ignored or used briefly for his personal fulfillment. Occasionally he did have female travel companions or girlfriends that accompanied him. These women mostly served to have pointless existential conversations with Mr. Dyer when he felt one of his existential moods coming ...more
Owlseyes
This a book I want to read. Some of the reasons stem from the interview Geoff gave to Publico,a Portuguese daily newspaper [31st May 2013].




1-Though he’s written a great variety of genres (fiction, essay…) the book is, in a way, “unclassifiable”: it’s located somewhere in the border between “fiction and reality”….sometimes closer to reportage.

2-The Place is paramount: the book is a collection of short stories (that really happened) about concrete places: Cambodia, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Rome,th
...more
Amit
May 22, 2012 Amit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
I had Geoff Dyer on my list for a while, having already read some of his brilliant pieces here and there, but nothing like a full book. And ain't I happy I did pick it up?

Dyer takes travel writing to a different plane, then again, this isn't really travel writing. It could rather be called writing while traveling -- and he seems to be the perfect guy to keep traveling, never really at rest anywhere, and at the same time at home everywhere, a kind of anti-buddha.

A cross between beat literature -
...more
Pedro
Mar 27, 2016 Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Geoff Dyer entra directamente para os escritores que considero uma influência. Não é bem assim... Muitas das personalidades com que comparam a escrita de Dyer são minhas influências directas, naturalmente, Dyer vai já alumiando duas vezes o caminho literário que é possível fazer em semelhante companhia. Livro de viagens, interiores ou exteriores, dos efeitos de uma viagem no Vietname, a um porro de skunk em Paris, de cogumelos alucinogénios em Amsterdão a um festival de música em Detroit, para c ...more
Miguel
Jun 02, 2013 Miguel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
É um livro interessante, com um humor muito irónico, e uma perspectiva muito desalinhada, nomeadamente em relação ao que conhecemos de mais habitual na literatura de viagens.
Pelas criticas do Público estava à espera de melhor, de qualquer coisa que fosse mais surpreendente e sedutora.
Mas recomendo: lê-se bem e depressa, é inteligente e divertido.
Ben Fowlkes
Apr 11, 2007 Ben Fowlkes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jerks, British people
Something about a guy who writes almost completely about not writing, being mad at himself for not writing, and about the minutia of his own life that I both love and hate. Mostly love, though, and I hate that about it.
João
Jun 06, 2016 João rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um livro de histórias "em" viagem e não "de" viagem, porque Dyer não escreve sobre as suas viagens, escreve sobre si e sobre a humanidade, usando para isso alguns dos muitos cenários exóticos ou improváveis (como as ruínas da Detroit industrial ou a Burning Man City) que visitou. É quase um livro de filosofia, e a menção ao "ioga" fica-lhe muito bem quando se pensa em reflexão e meditação. Mas não quando se pensa em calma e tranquilidade: as aventuras de Dyer são sempre arriscadas e emocionantes ...more
Richard Gilbert
May 04, 2016 Richard Gilbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I laughed so hard reading Out of Sheer Rage that I almost injured myself. So I was primed to love this collection of travel essays, and did. Dyer is hilarious and incredibly insightful, quite a combination. And then he unleashes the most amazing meditation on (or description of) nature in the midst of one of his aimles, stoned journeys.

Dyer’s authorial persona is of a slacker, a stoner, a failure, but that’s in comedic tension with his prolificacy, which belies that, and this Oxford man leaves
...more
laura
Jun 01, 2007 laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
disappointing.
Pascale
Jun 12, 2015 Pascale rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first piece in this collection, but became more and more bored and frustrated as I read on. Unless you're a teenager intent on picking up tips about how to get stoned and get laid around the world, there really isn't much there. Initially you get the impression that the author is rather proud of having spent so much of his life drifting around in a stupor, then you realize that he feels he's been battling depression all along. My interest perked up a bit when he describes some of his ...more
anthony e.
Mar 11, 2012 anthony e. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Geoff Dyer writes some of the most subtly hilarious essays I have ever read. Between this work and Out of Sheer Rage, I have come to a level of appreciation for Dyer that transcends most of the other writers of this sort I have encountered. Despite being essentially unlikable, Dyer has a sincerity in his expression of that nature that lends him sympathy.

Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It is essentially a travelogue, but a disjointed one, told out of order, but threaded together with
...more
Drew
Aug 28, 2012 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geoff Dyer is blessed with a style that appears so effortless that it seems lazy. Or even provocatively lazy. It feels like writing for people that can't be bothered to do it, in fact. And yet, in his nonchalant, throwaway manner, he gets straight to the nub of things without wasting his time with context, plot, character, literariness. All these things are good. As is his frank, even naive way of telling compromising, incriminating stories about his own drug use, selfishness, fecklessness and i ...more
Sean Carman
Dec 27, 2010 Sean Carman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geoff Dyer races toward oblivion in this collection of travel essays, on a worldwide search for tranquility. He only sometimes finds it, and then only when he isn't looking. You would think, for example, that walking through Paris with a beautiful woman would translate easily into an idyllic experience, but you would be wrong. There are beautiful passages in the later stories about the transcendence to be found observing ancient Roman ruins and the beauty of the world seen through the right pair ...more
Maximilian Klein
If you've ever been far-off adventure traveling, taken drugs in an unfamiliar city, or cried inexplicably in a diner, then this book will illuminate all the knowledge you already have, and yet help you laugh at it. Assuming you can be bothered to read this, and find your initial literal yoga disappointments, you'll be mentally stretched, but in a gentle yoga-esque way. Every short chapter is a humorous anecdotal morsel. Like malteasers or chocolate cover raisins you think that this would make yo ...more
Jim
I was a little ambivalent about this one, alternating between loving it and thinking it was moderately OK. This isn't my favorite book by this author, but it was a mostly engaging read.

The book is a collection of travel essays cum anecdotal narratives of time spent in various locales, ranging from Southeast Asia to Europe to gritty American cities. Through it all, Dyer and his companions get high, make aesthetic comments on the landscape, engage in the jargon of Eastern spiritualism and ironic p
...more
Matt
Jun 11, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel very lucky that I've seen Tarkovsky's _Stalker_, because that movie plays a large role in the thematic architecture of this book of what is, ostensibly at least, a book of travel essays. For what it's worth, I'm not sure I got the same thing out of _Stalker_ that Dyer did, but well, different strokes, and he does get a lot out of the concept of "the zone."

Anyhow, this is a really wonderful book-- lots of great writing, mostly, with some admirably strange adventures along the way. I am rea
...more
John Halbrook
I read one of his previous books, "Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi," and was intrigued enough to buy this one second-hand. I must admit to a certain amount of exasperation with his prose and his pose-- the world weary, gonzo journalist/ writer who has had too many women wanting to bed him and far too many drugs in too many exotic places. Just picture a jet-setting Hemingway on drugs instead of alcohol. You get the picture.

"I had unblocked all sorts of cafe chakras and was experiencing absolut
...more
Rick
Feb 19, 2015 Rick rated it did not like it
Yuck. I'd forgotten that I hadn't liked one of Dyer's other books, i.e. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, when I bought this book. Here's an example of one of the author's brilliant insights: "At first I wondered why the few kids slouching around were all so short. Then I realized it was because they hadn't finished growing yet" (210). I can't be bothered to read any more of this author's writing.
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Geoff Dyer was born in Cheltenham, England, in 1958. He was educated at the local Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (winner of a 1992 Somerset Maugham Prize ...more
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“A restaurant on the moon could not have had less atmosphere.” 5 likes
“We'd never seen anything as green as these rice paddies. It was not just the paddies themselves: the surrounding vegetation - foliage so dense the trees lost track of whose leaves were whose - was a rainbow coalition of one colour: green. There was an infinity of greens, rendered all the greener by splashes of red hibiscus and the herons floating past, so white and big it seemed as if sheets hung out to dry had suddenly taken wing. All other colours - even purple and black - were shades of green. Light and shade were degrees of green. Greenness, here, was less a colour than a colonising impulse. Everything was either already green - like a snake, bright as a blade of grass, sidling across the footpath - or in the process of becoming so. Statues of the Buddha were mossy, furred with green.” 5 likes
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