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The Art of Shen Ku

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  287 ratings  ·  29 reviews
What is Shen Ku? Roughly translated: "Pure Traveler" or "Phantom Passenger." What exactly is the "art of...?" Mastering the skill and knowledge of practically everything anyone comes across while on Earth, including:

* Tying knots and enhancing sex
* Numerology and self hypnosis
* Herbal therapy and forecasting weather
* Curing nosebleeds and removing stains
* Kung fu and mag
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by TarcherPerigee (first published 1999)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  287 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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J Connery
Mar 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Like Better Homes and Gardens, ninja hippy edition.
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If it's not in here, you don't need to know it.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
A book to take with you in the event of an apocalypse. Seriously, if you need to know how to distill water to drink, what plants to eat, what tools you'll need, how to make them, medicinal plants, and how to defend yourself if an interloper tries to steal your stuff, this is the book for you. I don't know who the heck this "Zeek" is (i am assuming that's not his real name) but he sure put a lot into this project. The layout, the cross references, the drawings and charts, the sheer volume of info ...more
Nov 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes odd reference books
Shelves: resource
This book is AWESOME!

Emergency help for all sorts of situations. CPR, fixing a zipper, shelter, etc.

Sewing tips. Travel tips. Knots. Self defense. Palm reading. Cooking. ALL SORTS of rad stuff in here.

The subtitle of the book is truly apropos. "The Ultimate Traveler's Guide Of This Planet"


The First Intergalactic ARtform of the Entire Universe.

Very very fun to flip through.
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is such a cool-looking book. It's filled with useless and useful things, such as macrobiotic recipes, how to tie every existing knot, herbal properties, and self-defense. It's all comically beautiful.
Dan Heil
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-on-boats
This compendium is a sort of "Anarchists' Cookbook" meets VICE travel guide as written by Dr. Bronner. Its wide range of material is a, at first glance, daunting and, at first read, simplistic and possibly incorrect treatment of many subjects. As an e.g., in the CPR section our narrator recommends a compression:breath ratio of 15:2. This is no longer valid--modern wisdom has it that 30:2, or just compressions alone, is more effective. There's also a lot of New Age hooey going on in here. Still, ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A mixture of Mad magazine and a survivalist guide. The author is at least somewhat knowledgeable (I wasn't super interested in most topics so I can't say for sure) as he knew of issues with internal consumption of comfrey.
Sean'S Gambit
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly useful book
Sarah Adamson
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A fascinating coffee table book. Some parts are excellent guides to survival in extreme circumstances. Other parts are old fashioned or out of date. Interesting, fun, challenging and bizarre.
Ed Nemo
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
The Art of Shen Ku is an excellent survival travel guide. It contains many pieces of helpful advice that would help a traveler anywhere in the world and possibly even beyond.

While the information is a little dated and the book is a little large to take up space in a traveler's bag, it more than makes up for those shortcomings with the beautiful artwork. It is absolutely worth the space-loss to carry this book. Besides the helpful advice it is a treasure trove of interesting facts that even when
Kristopher Sandberg
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book to keep in your backpack, on your bookshelf, on your coffee table, or in your bathroom (I've kept it in all four places). A literal treasure trove of useful information, you could open it at random to any page and learn something applicable. It's charming without being spoofy, informative without being preachy, and even- at times- deep without being pretentious. I've referred to it more than any other reference book I own; it's like an almanac for people who go out and do interest ...more
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who prefer a quick approach to do it yourself health and advice.
Shelves: extremelyuseful
I would never have picked this book up especially by judging by the cover it looks like a video game guide but if you don't have it you should- it is a great quick reference for common sense, herbal remedies, martial arts and all sorts of other odd points that seem to make sense in this book. Yes, there are cartoon drawings. I have had to buy 6 copies because when I lend it out it is hard to get back.
David Acevedo
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Talk about the practical side of literature... this book goes beyond selfhelp bullshit and taps into the basics: survival and savoir-vivre. As that, it has become the only book in its kind that I'd dare keep in my library (among my classics, fantasy, scifi, women studies and world lit) and that is saying a lot. Awesomeness to the nth.
Jonathan Eunice
Jan 19, 2010 marked it as to-read
This book was recommended to me by Te-ching Grandmaster Jerry Cook as *the* book. The guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Well, not quite that. But a great, simple compendium of life knowledge and skills. I've just ordered it and await it's arrival.

PS I love the review that called it "Like Better Homes and Gardens, ninja hippy edition." Master Cook is indeed a ninja hippy.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun book, more of a reference style tome than a cover to cover read, though. Lots of interesting information, amusing illustrations, and tips for travelers.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Drugs do strange and awesome things to some people.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Utterly fascinating.

A bit about everything you'd ever need... pretty much whenever.
Ruth Hamilton
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the concise and easily adaptable info. The dietary and exercise tips were most helpful. Cartoons add to the explanations.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
wow. abandoned anywhere with one book? make it this one. information overload.
Drew P
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A practical "how-to" guide for just about any situation. Strangely enough, I've used this as a basic reference even over some of the more advanced natural-medical texts that I have in my library!
Special Delia
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Got to be the most useful book ever!
Adam Stevenson
Oct 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
A 'how to' dressed up as a comic book hippy bible... odd idea.

And why are there so many pages about bedwetting?
Garon Bailey
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book!, hard to classify. Full of informational tidbits that you may need someday.
May 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is equally valid as a philosophy, as a reference, or as a way of life. The breadth of knowledge covered is impressive, even if it is occasionally not quite deep enough.
Ken Poirier
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This is by far one of the greatest books ever written. This had a huge impact and influence on my life.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Has great drawings of everything from survival tips to unconventional health tips.
Haatim Gye-nyame
rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2008
Ian Burgess
rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2014
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