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Tiempo de Mirar

Einstein The Art of Mindful Cycling: Achieving Balance in the Modern World

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Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling shines new light onto one of the great scientific icons, and explores how pushing that pedal can nurture mindfulness in a spiritually stressful age. The author steers us through his own perspective on cycling - weaving together the philosophical, practical and personal into an elegant balance. Add in a sprinkling of meditative insights, and we can all learn how to experience Einstein's enlightened outlook on life through the simple joy of riding a bicycle.

144 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2012

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Ben Irvine

12 books2 followers

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5 stars
48 (20%)
4 stars
70 (30%)
3 stars
78 (33%)
2 stars
26 (11%)
1 star
10 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Jason.
Author 3 books4 followers
February 24, 2013
This little book is a veritable breath of fresh air in a stifled category.

Many books are written and marketed on a 'this will change your life' ticket. Dr Irvine's 'Mindful Cycling' makes no such trite promises, but conveys some much-needed simple and practical wisdom for refining one's lifestyle.

Taking Einstein as his role model, Irvine reveals to us the man behind the myth and shows, with references both scientific and personal, how such a remarkable human being's way of thinking was deeply connected and motivated by the everyday phenomenal world. Through playing his violin, talking with all people as equals, and riding his bicycle, Einstein maintained a state of equanimity in which his extraordinary mind could function at its optimum capacity. We may not all have Einstein's IQ, but taking a leaf or two from his exemplary life book can, Irvine suggests, assist us in cutting out a lot of the mental and emotional 'clutter' that preoccupies so much of our waking time. The benefits of this are obvious: clearer thinking, calmer feeling, a sense of place, belonging and purpose and, above all, lower fuel emissions!

I love the lack of pretension that pervades this book, both its subject matter and in its writing. When Irvine, himself a doctor of philosophy, describes his own experiences, and shows how too much analysis and lazy thinking can negatively affect even the brightest of individuals, there is an honesty and clarity of purpose sorely missing from many so-called 'wellbeing' type books. The simple observations he shares from the saddle are ones with which we can all identify, probably remember from childhood, even - but how often do we actively remember? If we did, would we not all jump back on our bikes, disengage our complex modes of pursuing endless fantastic desires and pleasures, and 're-mind' ourselves of where the balance lies? This book is full of down-to-earth and manageable suggestions for getting back on your bike - metaphorically and literally. For, as Einstein showed us, both theoretically and in his behaviour, aren't the mental and the physical intimately connected?

An uplifting and no-nonsense read. No crazy goals, techniques or practices - just inspiration.
Profile Image for Raegan Rinchiuso.
48 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2015
I wanted this book to be better. I am an avid cyclist and I endeavor to be more mindful so this seemed like a great book for me to read. I enjoyed the parts about Einstein but the author doesn't really make the connection to mindfulness that he implies in the title. A lot of his statements about cycling are assumptions and not supported by facts. And honestly his writing isn't that good. I think he had a wonderful idea for a book but he just didn't quite hit the mark.
Profile Image for Patri&Cia.
176 reviews
August 26, 2016
Me encantó.
No es una novela, es un manifiesto a favor de la bicicleta. Habla de la historia de la bicicleta, de la experiencia personal del autor y como no, de Einstein.

He terminado con la sensación de que:
1. Voy a sacarle las telarañas a la bicicleta y volver a usarla.
2. Quiero leer una biografía de Albert Einstein, siempre me ha gustado mucho este personaje pero el libro me ha creado la necesidad de saber mucho más de el.

En definitiva, es una pequeña joya.
Profile Image for Karen.
6 reviews
July 22, 2015
I loved the book and realized that I have many of the same feelings and thoughts that Einstein had while riding his bike. Not the exact feelings but that while riding my bike I notice more things and become more creative when riding. It is more social to ride a bike around town and that makes you understand your surroundings more.
Profile Image for Juraj Holub.
151 reviews24 followers
January 15, 2019
Touching read on the beauty of cycling and how it can help us see things in brighter light. At times, I felt like Ben was reading what is on my mind and heart when it comes to the emotions evoked by cycling.
Profile Image for Nathan Johnson.
6 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2020
A pretty interesting look at how cycling helps us connect to the broader world around us and appreciate it more - all told with an eye towards how Einstein implemented these same techniques.
Profile Image for Peter.
234 reviews2 followers
April 1, 2020
Einstein’s life, mindfulness / meditation and cycling are not obvious bedfellows and this book does not work although it is a valiant try. I skipped pages and, in the end, got bored by the disjointedness of it all. The book does have one or two interesting facts about ‘our Albert’ such as the fact that he played the violin and was a cyclist (not at the same time). Others might like it but not for me
Profile Image for Bradley Gram-hansen.
25 reviews3 followers
December 13, 2014
Although the book is clearly written by one whom is more a philosopher than physicist . It is still an insightful and enjoyable book to read. Definitely one for all types of cyclists !
Profile Image for Joseph Spuckler.
1,508 reviews19 followers
October 8, 2020

Einstein & The Art of Mindful Cycling: Achieving Balance in the Modern World by Ben Irvine is a side by side look at the father of Relativity and the simplest machine used for travel. Irvine is a writer, publisher, campaigner, and recovered philosopher. He blogs for The School of Life, teaches philosophy to undergraduates at Cambridge University and is an Honorary Associate in the Philosophy department at Durham University.

As a reader of science who had a dose of philosophy in college and grad school and as a former bicycle racer and current bicycle mechanic, I pick this book up with great interest. The Einstien biography is interesting and the parallel bicycling history and philosophy run together smoothly. Einstien "A socialist who championed freedom, a loner who cared deeply for humanity, a non-believer who saw the universe as God’s handiwork – Einstein was Time magazine’s ‘person of the century.’" He was also a bike rider. He first imagined traveling alongside a beam of light while riding his bike. There is something peaceful and relaxing about riding. Much like Nietzsche and Thoreau who earlier found their mindfulness in walking, cycling slows one down and allows one to see the area and detail around them. There is a peacefulness in rolling along at 15 mph on quiet streets that isn't there driving at highway speeds or fighting through gridlock. Bicycling relieves stress.  Driving causes stress. A human on a bike is more efficient than any other animal or machine. The calories per mile equate to 3,000 miles per gallon of gasoline.

More on the science and philosophy. The bicycle is a very simple machine four sets of bearings, a chain and cog system, a frame that will last a lifetime. Irvine states that cyclists are not image conscious individuals. I disagree. Having worked in the industry cyclists are the people willing to spend hundreds of dollars to lose 5 grams of rotational mass. They will also spend hundreds on training computers that document every moment on the bike. I have also seen $14,000 bicycles roll out of the shop. I do appreciate the non-image conscience riders. The industry, however, revolves around the newest, lightest, fastest seekers. I have been riding my single speed, steel framed bike for over a decade and have no reason to "upgrade."  Like, Einstien, and some riders, I am not image conscious.

I think Irvine also knows his philosophy on the bicycle is from the ideal point of view, much like most philosophy and it does lose something in putting it to practical use. He does admit that the default argument against cycling is that it is too dangerous; cars on the street being the biggest threat. In the North Dallas area cars routinely make no stop right turns on red, ignore crosswalks, and have no problem with running cyclists off the road. It is dangerous. Of course, there are parks and bike paths, but one still needs to get to these safely. Having to drive your bike in a car to go ride your bike seems a bit ridiculous. Perhaps, too,  it is a bit quieter in Irvine's neighborhood. Commuting unless very early in the morning is more stressful than mindful. But, yes, in theory, cycling away from the routine dangers is enjoyable and mindful.  The rider becomes one with the environment rather than sealed away from it.  "Cycling is a living meditation: it allows us to achieve mindfulness not in a hidden retreat but in the full flow of life, while still deriving the same lasting benefits." An enjoyable, imaginative, and informative read.

Profile Image for Kathy.
1,662 reviews19 followers
April 4, 2018
Einstein & The Art of Mindful Cycling is a book that gave me pause multiple times. It appears to have multiple personalities/agendas: the history of bicycles; the physical and mental health benefits of cycling (both scientifically proven); and biographical and anecdotal information about Albert Einstein (perhaps because he enjoyed cycling). Say WHAT?!?!? What an odd combination...

I understand the joy of cycling, I really do. It takes you out into the world, gives you freedom, lets you run/ride away from your stress and just be. In your own head, thinking, or not thinking, whatever you want. However, that understanding didn't stop me from feeling like I was reading a book that didn't know what it wanted to be when it grew up.

Yet somehow, it is an interesting read. Though at times I thought perhaps the author should have stayed off the bike long enough to make the book cohesive, in the end he came up with something that works. How? I don't know; perhaps I need to spend more time cycling!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Leaping Hare Press for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Dan Cohen.
395 reviews13 followers
February 27, 2020
This is a peculiar little book. As the title suggests, it's a book on mindfulness, making connections with cycling and with Einstein. It is nicely written and moderately thought-provoking. I think the author makes rather too much of the mindfulness associated with cycling - I'm not saying that they cannot be associated as he states but there's only a partial match with my own experience. Generally it feels like the author has rose-coloured glasses when looking at cycling and Einstein.
Profile Image for Joe Kanzangu.
75 reviews57 followers
February 4, 2021
As an avid cyclist living in Denver, I’ve always had a profound and intimate connection to my first convertible. So in brevity, I’d say this was such a rejuvenating read to understand Einstein’s passion for not only the world and the creativity that stems from our integration but the long lasting innovation that is the bicycle and how it enables us to do so much. Here’s to a new year of mindful motion and continued exploration. Would recommend, it’ll change your life.
Profile Image for Julian Walker.
Author 3 books7 followers
March 21, 2022
An entertaining, curious, and infectious read, blending cycling history, with one of the greatest minds of all time, creating a perfect balance of both stimulation and calm.

I picked it up in a second hand book store, thinking it a modern take on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and found it to be completely different, but enjoyable and more thought-provoking.

I liked this and have many take-aways from it.
Profile Image for Cherry Jeffs.
Author 5 books3 followers
May 11, 2019
I wanted to love this book - and I certainly do love the beautiful binding and design - but in the end I lost the will to finish it. I’m a big fan of Einstein as I share his birthday but he wasn’t a saint and the folksy portrayal of his relationship to his wife and son are simplistic to say the least, and that ultimately put me off the book, much as I love the overall premise.
Profile Image for Dee Sanfilippo.
105 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2021
This was a sweet little book equating the life and mannerisms of Einstein with mindful cycling. He calls cycling a living meditation and his writing carefully weaves these worlds together. It is a love song to both, beautifully performed.
Profile Image for Jerry Smith.
399 reviews6 followers
September 28, 2022
It's a short, easy, and mostly pleasant read.
However it uses Einstein to get you to read the author's thoughts on cycling.
The connection while presented, feels disjointed and there really isn't anything mindful in the book.
Despite that, it's brevity and charm make it a perfectly fine book.
2 reviews
June 19, 2019
I was in absolute love with this book <3 I would recommend it to anyone and read it again myself.
Profile Image for Vanessa Miranda.
3 reviews3 followers
June 11, 2020
Para los amantes del ciclismo este es un gran libro, inspirador, sientes que por fin alguien te entiende cuando lees las páginas de este libro. Lo ame.
February 15, 2022
Excelente libro que arma filosofía sobre algo pragmatico como andar en bicicleta, articulando con Einstein y la historia de el mejor invento del mundo: la bici.
Profile Image for Peter Kelley.
Author 3 books7 followers
July 14, 2022
Not really that interesting from an Einstein or Cycling perspective.
Profile Image for LaViejaPiragua.
119 reviews14 followers
November 16, 2016

Con "Einstein y el arte de montar en bicicleta" inauguraba la editorial Siruela "Tiempo de mirar", una colección dedicada a la meditación y a la atención plena que ya cuenta con cuatro títulos y que es tan atractiva y está tan bien editada, que lo primero que uno hace es precisamente dedicar un buen rato a mirar los libros en sí, con sus cubiertas de excelente calidad, como las de antes, y sus guardas decoradas.

"Einstein y el arte de montar en bicicleta" nos ofrece una buena introducción al mundo de la atención plena, al de la bicicleta y a la personalidad del gran genio de la física del siglo XX. Lógicamente, el tamaño del libro no permite profundizar en ninguno de los tres campos. Tampoco lo pretende. Pero sí nos presenta de manera intercalada tres materias que, siendo aparentemente muy ajenas entre sí, se encuentran mucho más próximas de lo que podríamos pensar a priori.

De Einstein se nos destaca su creatividad intelectual y su capacidad de concentración como elementos clave del trabajo científico que llevó a cabo y que asombró al mundo. Se nos avanza además algo de su humanismo, y de su particular personalidad. Una filosofía de vida la suya donde el humor, la modestia y la amabilidad ocupan un lugar principal.

Desde el punto de vista del autor, montar en bicicleta nos puede ayudar a alcanzar muchas de las virtudes que caracterizaron a Albert Einstein. No sólo porque cuando pedaleamos llegamos a alcanzar un nivel extraordinario de concentración y ensimismamiento, que son los generadores de la creatividad, sino porque es además un medio de transporte amable con el medio ambiente y con los demás, que alcanza una velocidad a la medida del ser humano, y que no nos separa por medio de ninguna cabina del resto de las personas que nos encontramos en el camino, permitiéndonos así empatizar con ellas.

La bicicleta es también un vehículo modesto, que no invita a la presunción. Sirve para trasladarnos de un lugar a otro, pero no para considerarnos superiores a nadie. Y, además de ayudarnos a recuperar el contacto con lo que nos rodea, paisajes y gentes, nos permite sentirnos parte de la globalidad cuando dedicamos varios días, o quizá semanas o meses, a hacer cicloturismo por el mundo.

Visto el tratamiento que le da Irvine a la forma de ser y trabajar de Einstein, y al ciclismo, es ya fácil entender su relación con la atención plena y la meditación. Sobre todo si tenemos en cuenta que hay muchas formas de meditación y que la que se practica en movimiento es una de ellas.

Al final, cuando acabamos de leer "Einstein y el arte de montar en bicicleta", Irvine nos ha convencido. Estamos deseando acercarnos a cualquier librería para hacernos con un ejemplar de "Mi visión del mundo" de Einstein. Pero no acercarnos de cualquier modo, sino despacio, concentrados y disfrutando del momento presente. O sea, en bicicleta, por supuesto. No se le puede pedir más a un libro como éste.
Profile Image for Robin.
34 reviews
January 5, 2021
The author does a good job of counterpointing the irrefutable material benefits, against the tangible thrills and synapse-cleansing jubilation.

To some extent he waxes lyrical; and I sympathise with that poetic urge to share an inexpressibly felt conviction that is too strong for words.

As a persuasive treatise it is hard to review because, to the likely readership, I envision this will be preaching to the converted.

I would struggle to know where to begin, if tasked with explaining the thousand most pleasant aspects of locomotion on two wheels...

So maybe the book's value is in rehearsing facts and reaffirming convictions; ready to share our transport heaven with all.
Profile Image for Jeff.
630 reviews5 followers
January 20, 2016
Philosophy lite, seasoned by mindful meditation on a bicycle. The only kvetch I have is the label "divorce machines" the author lays on tandems. Tandems are relationship enhancers. If it is rocky, they will hurry you back to singles. If it is solid, the transcendent experience of tandem riding will cement a relationship in to a solid partnership, going farther, faster and longer than either partner can on their own. My daughters and I spent many happy hours on the tandem, and I will always treasure the time.
1 review4 followers
January 10, 2016
Nice look at cycling and meditation as well as a great bit of history about Einstein.

I like the idea that cyclists aren't interested in material goods as he noted but a trip to Regents Park on a weekend would swiftly change his mind. Also measuring audax rides in miles not Km is a bit of a faux pax as they originate from France.

Overall an enjoyable look at how we can be a bit more at peace in the modern world through the use of our bicycles.
Profile Image for Suzammah.
195 reviews
January 25, 2016
The few paragraphs about the invention of the bicycle were interesting, as was finding out that the bike is the most efficient way of moving:
A human unaided uses 0.75 calories per gram per kilometre, decent but not as efficient as a horse or a salmon. A human on a bike uses 0.15 calories per gram per kilometre. No other animal manages such efficiency and nor can any other machine; it is the equivalent of running 5,000km to the gallon. p. 50

The rest was just platitudes and nonsense.
Profile Image for Catarina Gutierrez.
44 reviews9 followers
March 15, 2015
Einstein has been top of mind for me lately. So when I found a book that combined his thoughts on bikes and mindful thinking, I scooped it up right away. It's a bit of a general read on the topic and I found myself wanting more. I also feel like I know Einstein on a deeper, different level now. Read if you like the guy and like bikes.
Profile Image for Ali Hysong.
75 reviews3 followers
July 11, 2016
I made the mistake of purchasing this under the impression that the title was a philosophical metaphor, which it clearly wasn't. However, the book served its purpose and was an easy and relatable read. I finished this in just a few hours and was able to jot down some good takeaway notes.
1 review
July 16, 2016
mindful cycling has a simplistic approach to finding the smallest of experiences; an adventure in itself.

i would definitely recommend this book for the busier person who feel disconnected and rushed throughout the day.
Profile Image for Melquíades.
30 reviews
January 26, 2018
Lectura ligera, el autor utiliza a modo excusa la vida de Einstein para hablar de bicicletas, mostrando una forma de pensamiento que el autor relaciona con estas. En algunos extractos cae en el fanatismo bicicletero.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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