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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  215,628 ratings  ·  8,602 reviews
This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules...people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves...people who know there's more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. He beli
Paperback, 112 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Scribner (first published 1970)
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Malva Heed I loved those! They really added to the atmosphere as well as gave you room to ponder the text.
Michael Hope No that is from Richards book entitled Illisions the story of a reluctant messiah.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  215,628 ratings  ·  8,602 reviews

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Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - a story, Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach, and illustrated by Russell Munson is a fable in novella form about a seagull who is trying to learn about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. It was first published in 1970. In 2014 the book was reissued as Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition, which added a 17-page fourth part to the story.

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who i
Federico DN
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
An immeasurable love for flight, and a passion that knows, literally, no bounds.

In this story we lean the story of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull", an odd little sea bird. Unlike most of his kind, Jonathan Livingston does not seek food or shelter; Jonathan loves flying, Jonathan lives flying. And as most novices do, he starts with what every beginner is bound to do, fail. And fail spectacularly! But practice makes the master, and Jonathan Livingston is on a life quest to reach the impossible, and
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
You know, sometimes you should just leave fond childhood memories alone.


But I have a hard time resisting any kind of challenge, at least if it relates to reading, so when Karly criticized my 3-star rating of this book (see the thread to this review for her very funny and halfhearted trolling efforts), I felt compelled to go dig out my old copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull - and it did take some digging - to see if I could justify my rating.

Unfortunately, I couldn't.


This flimsy and fluffy litt
Aug 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
This one belongs to the prestigious & almost elusive group of "Huge Imposters That Became Famous by People Who Suddenly Decided to Read a Novel." The book with its cute aura of a birdshape on its cover, was a mega-hit for no other reason than everyone read it. Basically, its a huge ripoff of the Judeo-Christian messiah story, with little birds that never fully become characters, grounded (ha ha) or are even particularly memorable. Is it bad to just want a mean hunter come along & shoot them all ...more
Mar 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it

I was recommended this book by a friend. As I had no intention to buy this in case it proved to be dreadful I decided to finally get a library subscription. I’ve been wanting to go to the library for a long time as I am hoping this way I will buy less books. That might not work out as intended but a girl can hope.

I am not a fan of inspirational fables. Call me cynical but I do not believe a nice little motivational story can change your life. It can provide an extra nudge to change if you a
Sep 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: total-crap
Puerile platitudes posing as wisdom.
There is that special magic in the books you loved as a kid. The wide-eyed innocence and all that stuff does give even the least subtle stories that unforgettable magical sheen.

I was probably around eleven or so, still in the warm fuzzies of childhood, still far away from snarky and exasperated teenage know-it-all cynicism when I came across this slender little book in the depths of out school library. It was in English - the language that I was just learning at that time, and looked more access
May 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: overrated
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*.

Sep 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Nat K
”It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across ripples of a gentle sea.”

Isn’t this the most beautiful opening line for a book?

This is an inspiring little story, about a seagull who didn’t simply want to fly to survive, but wanted to fly to feel alive.

”More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly”

Which makes me think about the whole idea of joy and happiness. What makes you happy. What fires your passion. Brings a smile to your face. Gives you a feeling of contentment.
Mohsin Maqbool
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
image: description

I WAS gifted Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull by my elder brother when he visited Karachi from Frankfurt for his vacation in 1973. However, I did not read the book until 1987. To be honest with you, I did not think much of it at the time and gave it away to a friend.
Learning more about birds with the passage of time, I wanted to read the book again. I regretted giving it away. Luckily another friend of mine had a copy. He lent it to me for just one night in 2005, saying that i
J.G. 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
Mar 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.

My copy of this book no longer resembles a book so much as a stack of papers.
Sonia Gomes
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cannot think of who needs such philosophy!!
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, and that 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.
Aug 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
When I was in 6th grade my teacher read this book out loud to our class. I didn't understand a word of it. In retrospect it seems like it was too early. I would like to reread this some day.

*Updated review. Just listened to it on audible. I like the emphasis on self-imposed limitations.
This is a short but oh so beautiful a book! I love birds, though seagulls are not always the most popular of species. I have my own seagull who awaits me every morning, hovering around nearby perching posts like roofs, telegraph poles and street lamps for any cast off cat food I put out for him and his name (given by me) is Cedric. (Don't ask me why, it just came into my mind when he first began to visit) Cedric may even be female but I don't think so. He is down for his breakfast before I have ...more
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a truly simple, but inspiring story.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Nandakishore Mridula
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
This would have got 4, or even 5 stars if I had read it in my metaphysics-loving youth. But I read it after I had become a cynic and a confirmed sceptic, so the fable just felt hollow.
A. Dawes
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this first at least three decades ago. At the time I thought it a nice tale, a little light, but with an uplifting message, when most stories were tragic.

Rereading it this year, I felt exactly the same. The plot is simple: a seagull wishes to no longer squawk and squabble, but rather soar out in the more pure ocean waters - and teach others in turn to do the same.

Like before, the story is a light, uplifting read. I suppose if I were to be critical, I'd say that the whole metaphor is hea
I was curious about this bestselling fable, but wish I’d left it to its 1970s oblivion. The title seagull stands out from the flock for his desire to fly higher and faster than seen before. He’s not content to be like all the rest; once he arrives in birdie heaven he starts teaching other gulls how to live out their perfect freedom. “We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.” Gradually comes the sinking realization that J ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1970 at the tail end of the hippy counter culture revolution of free love and free thinking – the laudable premise underpinning ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ is seemingly that of living life to the full, outside of the constraints of any political, religious or moral belief system and with nothing to stop or limit freedom. Perhaps Oscar Wilde’s quote – “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” also sums up (far more successfully and succinctly) at least a l ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I would like to formally give a HUGE BIG HUG to Kathy, from jsutkissmyfrog, for recommending this book.. I LOVED IT.

It's told from the perspective of an anti-conformist seagull.. let me say that one more time: IT'S TOLD FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN ANTI-CONFORMIST SEAGULL. IT IS PERFECTION.

Review DEFINITELY to come.. I so enjoyed this book!
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this book too late, when I was about 18, and found it unutterable silly. I could see that the idea might once have appealed to me, but there was something about the style that just grated. Oh well.

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Since Jonathan Livingston Seagull - which dominated the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List for two consecutive years - Richard Bach has touched millions of people through his humor, wisdom and insight.

With over 60 million copies of his books sold, Richard Bach remains one of the world's most beloved authors. A former USAF fighter pilot, Air Force captain and latter-d

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