Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  102,680 ratings  ·  3,538 reviews
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the most celebrated inspirational fable of our time, tells the story of a bird determined to be more than ordinary. This bestselling modern classic is a story for people who want to follow their dreams and make their own rules and has inspired people for decades. It is a fable about seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe or...more
Paperback, 93 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1970)
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Jonathan
May 21, 2008 Jonathan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who smell like patchouli
Recommended to Jonathan by: my birth certificate
Basically, you've got a seagull who just can't fit in with other seagulls. If this was written within the last decade, Jonathan would be coping with his outcast status by wearing a black trench coat and rolling 20-sided dice for fun. He would also achieve a loyal following of other socially awkward birds by totally kicking ass in Guitar Hero.

Sadly, this was written in the halcyon days of the 70's, so Jonathan goes on a soul searching quest and learns how to fly better than any other seagull. Gra...more
Mrelia
I read this book after hearing for years that it was great and life-changing. I expected at worst that it wouldn't be quite as good as advertised. Boy was I in for a surprise!

What I read was the biggest load of self-indulgent, pseudo-inspirational tripe I've read in my life!

Apparently, the moral of the allegorical tale is that being "ordinary" is bad, ignoring practical needs to pursue your passion is good and if others don't understand you it's because you're a misunderstood genius/spiritually...more
Janet
Mar 08, 2008 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are inspired by Abraham Lincoln
Shelves: life, spirituality
"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again," writes author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight."

Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if yo...more
Jonathan
The dismissive review of this text: What an absolute waist* of time! I mean OMG how bad is this!

The intellectual review of this text: Well, um, I do believe that, um, this is positively remarkable. With only 87 pages Mr Bach produces a fable of such monumental importance to all humanity. He discusses the idea of alienation, provides a subtle sense of xenophobia and highlights the hamartia of humanity.

The unsure student's review of this text: I think it was, like, sort of good. I mean I like the...more
Benjamin
Don't read this. Go look at a seagull and think about life on your own if you must. What you come up with will be better than this.
Ruth
Puerile platitudes posing as wisdom.
anne
Dec 02, 2008 anne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tweens and Teens in small towns
Recommended to anne by: Matt Young
ok, like I just wrote in a comment . . . this is probably one of those books that you have to read at a particular moment in your life.

for me I was 15, had just run away from home and was in utter despair that the entire world was as mean, strict and narrow-minded as my peers seemed to be at that time. I longed for a friend, I longed for a sense of the world being more than what was drowning me.

the friend who put this book in my hands also gave me Blind Melon's first album - and together these...more
Ahmad
داستان «منطق الطیر» عطار که «سی مرغ» در جست و جو به سیمرغ میرسند این بار دست مایه ی «ریچارد باخ» شده. سیمرغ عطار در این شعرگونه همان بهشت است، که جاناتان میپرسد: آیا مکانی به نام بهشت وجود دارد؟ در جواب میشنود از مرغ فرزانه، که خیر جاناتان، چنین مکانی وجود ندارد. بهشت یک مکان، یا یک زمان نیست، بهشت یعنی کامل شدن. احمد شربیانی
Keely
This book is a response to the flawed and disappointing underbelly of humanity, revealed for author 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 an escape from the difficult questions of the world.

Perhaps it should be unsurprising that the author would want to escape the everyday anxieties which mark the changing world. There is a sort of blind...more
Kim
Mar 28, 2007 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Shelves: favorites
I don't even know what to say about this book. One of my favorite books ever. It's very short and extremely easy to read. Great for children, even better for adults. JLS is my hero, pretty much.

Our copy of this book no longer resembles a book so much as a stack of papers.
W.C.
I'm a sucker for this book. Throughout early Christianity, and especially in the second and third centuries, it was commonly believed that Jesus was just a really exceptional guy that God "adopted" and put to use as a redeemer of sins. Even after the Mark and Q Gospels were written and the circumstances of Jesus's birth were decided, the vote at Nicea was pretty slim that made Jesus the only begotten of the Father. Well, here's a book that goes back to the roots; any gull with a mind of his own...more
Janice
Jan 05, 2009 Janice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to see further by flying higher
Recommended to Janice by: The Love of My Life
Shelves: religion
Ethan just finished reading this book to the kids, and I had to update my rating from a three to a four. I guess this book just meant more to me right now than it did when I read it in the past. And I think the fact that it is one of Ethan's favorite books and he read it with so much adoration kind of helped it to grow on me. I feel like there is so much going on in both our lives that is exciting, but that personally I have become a little stagnant with where I am going. It is like I have becom...more
Sonia Gomes
I am so glad, I got to know how other people feel about Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.
All these years I was under the impression that some great philosophy and inner meaning had flown past my head, I was one of the very few who had missed it all.
Seems I was right, there is no great philosophy. Phew ! I am not a dumb idiot after all.
Henry Avila
Ode to the Paper Book: Holding a paper book in yours hands,smelling it ,feeling the pages as you flip them.Touching the cover.Looking back as you pass the bookshelf at an old friend.No, a computer can never replace that!A machine, cold ,impersonal,dead!As long as there are people in this crazy world of ours , the paper book shall survive!-Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a different kind of bird.He would rather fly as high as possible,than catch a fish.Recklessly diving,for fun, he cheats death ma...more
Cecily
This reminds me of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist (the only one of his I've read). It's self-consciously "beautiful" and spiritual, but doesn't really have much depth. I enjoyed it in my late teens, when I had delusions of profundity, but I don't think it has much to impart to adults.

It has 2* for nostalgia. If I read it now, I expect I'd only give it 1*.

Rod
I read this when I was a kid just because it was lying around the house and it was a short, easy read. You couldn't escape it; its ubiquity was appalling. If you were alive in the 1970s you were basically issued it. It would come in a little bag with the Sunday paper like samples of breakfast cereal.

I don't remember much about it. Something about a seagull, and I think he flies to the moon, which is stupid because duh, no air.
Fewlas
Irritante e pericoloso. Una favola morale che vorrebbe insegnarci che la nostra volontà non ha limiti, che inseguire i nostri sogni dovrebbe essere la nostra unica preoccupazione. Ma: spronare al miglioramento è una cosa, istigare alla perfezione è un’altra.

Che questo gabbiano voglia volare per il gusto di farlo e non solo per sopravvivere è cosa buona. Cosa altrettanto buona sarebbe voler insegnare anche che l’umana nostra vita enormi limiti ha, e che imparare a riconoscerli è una cosa buonissi...more
Bethany
Where do I begin? The positives? It has a good, albeit somewhat patronizing message about thinking outside the box and reaching for your dreams. Also, it was very short. There. That said, I must say that I just don't get the hype. I found the story simplistic and uninspiring- just a bunch of 70's, new-age psycho-babble... and don't even get me started on the Neil Diamond movie (pretty pictures... that's all it was). AARRRGGGHHH! Fingernails on the chalkboard. I wish I liked it more as a good fri...more
valee
Loved this one. This is a fast, easy read. A wonderful lesson to learn about friendship, freedom and the value of things that really matter.
In it you'll follow Jonathan's travel around the world and see everything through his eyes. I know it seems you could not learn anything from a seagull, but you really do. This is a wonderful tale. I really do recommend it, specially while you're at holidays.
Sheree
Jan 25, 2009 Sheree rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sheree by: Mum
A timeless inspirational story (published in 1970) about Johnathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull bored with the limitations of 'seagull life'. What sets this book apart is its simplicity in conveying thoughts on life and what the reader takes away depends on their personal perception. Motivation to seek a higher purpose, follow your dreams and not be held back by conventional limitations.
Viraj
May 18, 2008 Viraj rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a few
Recommended to Viraj by: Swanand
Shelves: god-religion-etc
I was told that everyone who reads this book, find something different in it and it is an eye opener and what not. I found nothing great in this book. It is a simple story which could be an analogy at best. Look in old Marathi or other language literature for good analogies which are better eye openers or help thought process...

Here is what I wrote immediately after reading the book.
The best thing about this book is that it gets over quickly as it is pretty small and of the 127 pages, about 27...more
David Acevedo
When I was in my first college year, a Spanish professor gave us the Spanish translation of this book, Juan Salvador Gaviota, to read. I found it to be a piece of rubbish. Pure selfhelp codswallop. When the same professor gave us the next book, Paulo Coehlo's Veronika Decides to Die, I complained at the Department and questioned her credentials. She was fired soon thereafter.

If you need an author to give you his formula on how to live your own life, then this book is absolutely a must. If you w...more
Michael
Jul 04, 2009 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dreamy teenagers or anyone else who wonders a lot
I read this originally when I was about 11 years old I think. I had never read anything like it.

I enjoyed the simplicity, and I think I identified with Jonathan more than a little—even at 11.

As I think about this book almost 30 years later, I wish that I hadn't sold my copy of it, as I have an urge to re-read it and refresh my memory of Jonathan's struggles to break through.


July 2, 2009:

Just re-read this for the first time in many years. "Let's begin with level flight." So much truth in that s...more
Jeff
When I was a lad, I had to endure my hippie science teacher's self-narrated slide show of the entire book. It beat listening to a lecture about photosynthesis, but not by much.
Nilo
Empowerment and self helping posing as wisdom (and in a boring way).
J.P.
Nov 21, 2007 J.P. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: New Age fans
I read this years ago. I've dipped into it a few times since then. I just don't. . .get it.

I was aware of SEAGULL's considerable reputation when I did read the book. I was hoping to be knocked on me arse by some incredibly profound, "HEA-VEEEEE, man!" allegorical experience. What I got was a fairly pleasant, tolerably written tale about---a bird. I suppose one could make a connection between JLS and Jesus, but that seems a bit too easy. I mean, this book sold in boatloads in the 1970's. There m...more
Reza
بشر دوست باید تا حدی متنفر از بشر باشد

جاناتان نماینده گروهی از انسانهاست که قصد دارند پااز مرز ترسیم شده زندگی فرا تر بگذارد وقدرت خود را بیرون از مرزهای تعین شده بسنجد.
جاناتان می خواهد ناممکنات را بیازماید تا شاید راهی برای خلاصی از چنگال این قوانین دست و پاگیر بیابد تا آنگونه که خود می خواهد زندگی کند نه آنگونه که مرغان دیگر طی طریق می کنند و با رسیدن به این کمال دیگران را نیز ترغیب کند که خودشان باشند
جاناتان ابر انسانیست که گوشه ازلت تنها مامن اوست
Sam Quixote
Where to start with this steaming pile of book? Well, it's about a seagull who doesn't like to catch food, preferring instead to spend his time perfecting his flying techniques. Right then and there I thought, can't he do both? I mean what's he doing while catching his food - walking? But that doesn't fit in with Richard Bach's simplistic story, sorry, "fable" because, ahem, he's a teacher. But for some reason this society of seagulls discourages flying for the sake of flying and Jonathan Seagul...more
Karen
I had totally forgotten that I ever read this book until a review came up on my timeline. So really what more can I say. I remember when it came out back in the 70s and I read it because it was suppose to be such an amazing book. Didn't get it then and I still don't get it now.
Sakura87
Che libercolo.
Forse letto a una certa età potrà anche piacere, ma onestamente l’ho trovato una favola di delicato stampo cattolico, che però, checché ne dica, l’umiltà non la insegna affatto. Io non sono riuscita a vederci nessun insegnamento. Ci ho visto solo colui che a tutti i costi deve essere diverso, deve andare controcorrente, si deve distinguere e deve primeggiare.
La filosofia è bella, ma chi non lavora non mangia. Bach ha mangiato. Il suo gabbiano no.

Pochi libri sono stati in grado di t...more
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شاعرانه ، عارفانه، و تامل برانگیز 12 79 Jul 09, 2014 03:08PM  
i read this four times... and twice of its sequel 30 290 Feb 20, 2014 10:24PM  
The DVD is out today 2 68 Jul 03, 2008 08:58PM  
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Richard David Bach is widely known as the author of the hugely popular 1970s best-sellers Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah and others. His books espouse his philosophy that our apparent physical limits and mortality are merely appearance. He claims to be a direct descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is noted for his love of flying and for his books r...more
More about Richard Bach...
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah One The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story There's No Such Place as Far Away Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul

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“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” 506 likes
“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way".” 171 likes
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