Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breakfast with Buddha” as Want to Read:
Breakfast with Buddha
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Breakfast with Buddha

(Breakfast with Buddha series #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  13,366 ratings  ·  2,006 reviews
The only thing certain about a journey is that it has a beginning and an end—for you never know what may happen along the way. And so it is with this journey into the minds and souls of two very different men—one of them in search of the truth, the other a man who may have already found it.

When Otto Ringling, a husband, father, and editor, departs on a cross-country dr
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published September 7th 2007 by Algonquin Books (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Breakfast with Buddha, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Princess78 A little. I thought Rinpoche will give up from getting part of house or's too unreal this end.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,366 ratings  ·  2,006 reviews

Sort order
May 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I cannot help comparing Breakfast with Buddha to a Mitch Albom book because of the juxtaposition of spiritual elements within an American cultural framework.

However, whereas Albom’s work tends toward the syrupy, Roland Merullo’s book eschews any magic realism and stays on the beaten path for a spiritual journey. And that is what this novel is, an introspective expedition that parallels an actual physical journey and put together as ably as a modern Joseph Conrad meditation.

Actually this reminde
I am always searching for a book like this: funny, wise, philosophical, magical, but real at the same time. So much fiction that gets awards and rave reviews is so depressing! This book is great if anyone is open to what Buddhism can teach, and if they are skeptical, they will feel instant kinship to the main character who takes a guru (mainly Buddhist, but he incorporates some Taoism and Hinduism and others) on a roadtrip to North Dakota. I am changed just from reading it once, but I will again ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, spiritual
What a wonderful surprise this book was! I came upon it by accident and found all of the secrets of life oozing out of the pages. It was funny, and tragic and overwhelming all at the same time. In the tradition of the great across-America reads, it offered little snapshots of our country as Mr. Otto Ringling and his sister's guru journey back to Otto's home to settle some necessary business.

I loved this book as much for the questions, as for the answers.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Hmm.. slightly artificial. Maybe the problem I had with the book was that the spiritual journey of the main character was so short, he already lives around the block from Nirvana, he is sensitive, loving and committed. He did not have much to overcome. He already is infatuated with his wife, loves his teens with the adoration of a toddler dad and hasn't really suffered much. Anybody out there have teens? Oh, and did I mention he is not too rich but just rich enough not to need the hefty proceeds ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, a book comes along just when you need it.

When I was twenty-something, I read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and it pushed me toward becoming a different kind of human being. I've read a lot of "spiritual guide" literature, since then, learning more or less about the eternal search for peace and meaning in living. But "Breakfast With Buddha" would sit near the top of the list, with "Zen" and a few others, a lovely tale that enlarges perspectives without beating you over th
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This isn’t the kind of book I usually read, and when I first started I though it was going to hover dangerous close over the self-help line. It took less than a chapter for me to realize that wasn’t true. This book was not only refreshingly original on a “religious/inspirational” level, but it was refreshingly original for a fiction book. While it won’t appeal to you if you don’t have any kind of spiritual side (agnostics/atheists won’t be too amused), if you do have any kind of beliefs about sp ...more
Oct 25, 2007 rated it liked it
There are moments in this book that are great. The chapter when he stays at an inn where he went with his wife is touching and real. There are some sweet moments between the main character and his travel partner...the guru Rinpoche. I liked the idea of the book more than the book but it does have some moments that make it well worth reading.
May 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Shallow and trite pap (think New Age Nicholas Sparks), but at least it's quick reading. Ugh.
I was surprisingly taken by this book. It is an unusual story of a drive from New Jersey to North Dakota by car - the narrator and his sister's guru. I loved the descriptions of American life and "Americana" that were a part of the book. Otto, the narrator, wanted to show the holy man America. As they travel the skeptic Otto begins rethinking his life - his upbringing in North Dakota, and his center, his wife and children.
A delightful book!
Jan 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-group, spiritual
1.5 stars. I wasn't in the mood for this book...
As a friend said, the author does too much navel gazing." I'm glad Merullo is a "seeker of enlightenment", but nothing happened in the book. The 2 main characters, the ordinary middle aged successful "author/editor" and the "guru" he travels with, are not very interesting. The guru's language skills are mediocre, as are all the conversations - and that's what makes up most of the book.
C'mon Novel Women book group, let's preview the books more car
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible, fiction
I really enjoyed this book. 3.5 stars
Amy Young
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a surprising gem this book turned out to be! I rolled my eyes when a friend placed it in my hands with an emphatic recommendation. I am not big on books with religious undertones, especially ones that seem like they're out to sway my beliefs. My first impression of Buddha was that it would be an attempt to do just that., judge, cover, etc...was I wrong. This book was hilarious, inspirational, thought-provoking and emotional. I felt like I was riding along in the car with Otto and
Chris Beal
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. I've read it twice and it impressed me in different ways each time. The story is about an upper middle-class man in a happy marriage with kids he loves. But when his parents are killed in a car accident, he begins to doubt that his comfortable life is all there is. He has to go back to North Dakota, where he grew up, to take care of the estate, and his “flaky” sister contrives to have her guru come along for the ride. The guru is a “Rinpoche” from Siberia. I had thought ...more
Mira Margitta
Malo filozofije,malo humora i eto zabavne price .😊😊
Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Have you ever been stuck in a car with a middle-aged man having a mid-life crisis? Oh, and did I mention, he's got a famous guru along for the ride? That's about what Breakfast with Buddha feels like . . . not that it is all bad. In fact, the guru's explanation of life being like a glass of water with dirt stirred up in it might make the entire journey worthwhile by itself.

Overall, this was a light read with a few good tidbits of "Buddhist" thinking tossed in now and then. Those thoughts, illust
I have a few mixed feelings on this one. The road trip Ottis Ringling sets out on from New York to North Dakota is not so much what makes the novel's story; it is actually the vessel in which the author interweaves philosophical ramblings, the meaning of life ponderings, Christian sentiments, and Buddhist beliefs. I have the hypothesis that these are, moreover, his own beliefs.

Did I agree with some of these? Yes. But a lot of them were extreme, maybe making things a little over simplified. Yes,
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
I felt a little manipulated by this book, as if it was written to be a "book club book". Nevertheless, I was caught up in the story and related with the main character. I became completely engrossed and read it quickly. I like thinking about the things it made me think about and made me interested in reading some of the literature the author lists that he read. Also, it is true that the waitstaff at Siam are constantly filling your water glasses! I think the author would have much preferred Camb ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Philosophy laced with humor
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Facile life lessons disguised as a buddy road trip novel. If you are looking for a formula for a bestseller this is it: fortune cookie wisdom in an easy to digest narrative. For good measure you may want to throw in a mentally handicapped person or whatever word is appropriate for that condition these days, or maybe a transgender person because they are all the rage. Once again, this is a book of answers for people who are terrified that there are no answers. I would wager that people who love t ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008
This one was found while wandering the stacks of Borders while my husband looked for books for his classroom. It seemed like a funny enough premise so I requested it from the library. What a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon outside with the puppy!!

Well crafted with a very personable first person narrative Mr. Merullo really makes you feel as if you are along for the ride with these two men! At the end of the book he does say that it is based on a similar cross country trip he took which
I loved this book. I didn't know much about it when I started, but was delighted with it. The author uses such a light touch to introduce his character's and their differing spiritual approaches to life. The road trip is used as an exploration of restaurants and countryside, from New Jersey to North Dakota, but also as a journey into the deeper realms of each of these men's values and souls. There is a lot of humor, but also a lot to ponder.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sabrıma beş yıldız vermek istiyorum, bu kitabı sonuna kadar okuduğum için. Nasıl ki Ertuğrul Özkök’ün köşe yazısını okumaya başlarsınız; cümlelerin akıcılığı ve basitliği size o yazıyı okutur, ama her zamanki gibi elle tutulur derin bir düşünceye rastlayamazsınız yazıda; sonuna vardığınızda yine okuduğunuza pişman olursunuz. Çünkü aklı başında, biraz dilbilgisine ve orta düzeyde genel kültüre sahip, yazmaya meraklı hemen herkes bu yazıyı akıl edip yazabilirdi, diye düşünürsünüz ya; hah işte bu k ...more
Ginger Harris
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Breakfast with Buddha is something of an introduction to spirituality to the skeptical, modern man. I am very happy to read from previous reviewers that this modern skeptic seems to be in the minority. Many readers have already done our spiritual adventuring, learning, and homework and all with an open mind. This guy, though probably represents must of white men in this country, doesn't represent spiritual seekers. He isn't even that funny. This book is not a comedy. I enjoyed the perspective of ...more
Linda Robinson
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Credit to the author for allowing me to see past my own busyness, cynicism, egocentricity to find the true message in Merullo's book. I was so uncomfortable with Otto Ringling, I had to put the book down, take a walk and figure out what was bothering me. It was me. The snide humor, authoritarian posture and stiff-necked Midwestern Mr. Ringling made me irritable. Once I figured out it was because he reminded me of me, I succumbed to the lesson of the book. Volvo Rinpoche, his bohling and meditati ...more
Tina Bahat
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
" Dio onih ružnih stvari koje nosimo u sebi je sasvim naš, a dio smo naučili ili naslijedili. Začudo, to je nešto na što ne možemo utjecati vlastitom sviješću. Kao da je to nešto posve prirodno - ti izljevi bijesa na koji god se način oni manifestirali. Sve je to u redu. Lako ćemo naći opravdanje za svoje male ili ne tako male ovisnosti. U stanju smo to racionalizirati. Sve je to dio našeg uma i naš je um to u stanju uvažiti. Sve što u vezi s tim možete učiniti jest da procijenite koji su vaši d ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars! I went into this book expecting to hate it, but I didn't. It's basically the definition of a feel-good book.
Kate Rademacher
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My husband I LOVED this book. Laughed out loud. Perfect!
I read this for book club and actually liked it more than I was expecting to. I would read the next two books in the series.
Sean Runnette's narration was well done.
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my new favorite books. I saw so much of myself in Otto Ringling - the struggle of living what I would consider a good life but still feeling like something is missing. I don't mean for this "review" to be so long, but I feel this true connection to this book, to Otto and the journey he was on. It's my journey too.

Grew up learning about Christianity on my own. I mean, my mom gave me a head start taking me to church when I was little and then periodically after that.

It wasn't until
Laura Hill
Dec 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I don’t understand why I enjoyed this book so much. I stopped about 1/3 f the way through, but then picked it back up and just kept reading. It felt like a non fiction essay – full of one man’s search for truth and enlightenment kind of thing. It was written in the first person and had all the trials and tribulations, doubt and skepticism that usually accompanies such essays. But it is fiction. In a little afterward the author explain that he trip across the country was one he had made, so a lot ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Breakfast with Buddha 14 140 Apr 25, 2014 09:25PM  
  • A Heart as Wide as the World: Stories on the Path of Lovingkindness
  • Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity
  • The Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life
  • The Addictive Brain
  • The 12-Step Buddhist: Enhance Recovery from Any Addiction
  • Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living (Being Peace, #2)
  • This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity
  • The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • Coming Closer to Ourselves: Making Everything the Path of Awakening
  • Enlightenment for Idiots
  • Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life
  • Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings
  • The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow (The Dalai Lama's Cat, #3)
  • Work as a Spiritual Practice: A Practical Buddhist Approach to Inner Growth and Satisfaction on the Job
  • Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas
  • Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha's Teachings
  • Living Deeply: The Art  Science of Transformation in Everyday Life
  • The Second Rule of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #2)
ROLAND MERULLO is the acclaimed author of twelve previous books, including Revere Beach Boulevard, In Revere in Those Days, A Little Love Story, Golfing with God, Breakfast with Buddha, Lunch with Buddha and American Savior. Merullo has won numerous prizes, including the Massachusetts Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Other books in the series

Breakfast with Buddha series (3 books)
  • Lunch with Buddha
  • Dinner with Buddha
“If Christ's message could be distilled down to one line, that line would have to do with kindness and inclusiveness, not rules and divisiveness.” 28 likes
“You ask a certain question again and again, in a sincere fashion, and the answer appears. But, in my experience, at least, that answer arrives according to it's own mysterious celestial timing, and often in disguise. And it comes in a way you're not prepared for, or don't want, or can't at first, accept.” 9 likes
More quotes…