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The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing
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July 2016: Biography Memoir > The Tao of Bill Murray - 5 stars (best of 2016 pleasure read)

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message 1: by Megalion (last edited Jul 21, 2016 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megalion | 484 comments The Tao of Bill Murray. Extremely apt.

On the surface, this book is half stories and anecdotes of people's Murray encounters. Half a review of his movies. Correction: a brief recap of the movie then the story of how the producers managed to catch the free flying Murray and get him to agree to do the movie. Plus any other interesting anecdotes related to the filming.

Bill's gotten quite a reputation for being off the wall, eccentric, and not the easiest actor to work with. We learn his life philosophies and get as much of a peek into the mind of Bill that anyone can get. The stories show a pattern that helps us to do so.

Note, Bill keeps his private life private and the author respected that. It's not like Bill doesn't leave plenty of stuff out in the public space to satisfy. A running theme in the recapping of his career, directors commenting that they wanted him even though he was notorious for not following directions, because he was fun to have around. They never knew what he might do.

He had an office in the same building as his old agent. He popped in one day and asked the secretary if she wanted popcorn. He didn't come back right away but when he did, he was pulling an entire street vendor's popcorn cart with him. He'd gone down and bought it off the vendor. Too funny but I wonder what he did with it after? Left it as a gift to his agent I bet.

This is part of the genius in the Tao of Bill Murray. Who he is at his core and how he lives his life.

There's one comment from man himself in response to a question by the author. It captures a huge part of the essence of Bill as we see and encounter him (us readers vicariously through all these stories).

What did he want people to take away from a meeting with him?
Initially he demurred. Then he conceded that he was actually a "little more selfish about it" and wasn't necessarily thinking about what he wanted other people to take away from an encounter with him. "My hope always is that it's going to wake me up," he said. "And if I see someone who's out cold on their feet, I go, okay, I'm going to try and wake that person up. It's what I'd want someone to do for me: Wake me the hell up. "

Note: my copy is not a finished one so this passage may not be the same in the final book. I couldn't think how to do justice via paraphrasing.

I strongly relate to this because it's why I've done strange things in my life. Like wear bunny ears for an entire month in high school. Put my hair up in Pippi braids and go out in public. Once even to work.

I thought of it as an attempt to bring random spontaneous humor to whoever sees me. When you see something very out of the ordinary, it does jolt you out of your everyday routine. As he puts it, wakes you up. As I saw it, if they laughed even just in their mind, yes! If they scowled and thought badly of me. Too bad, and sad that their outlook on life was so dark. Kindred spirit he is.

All the stories brought much joy to my heart. He got away with a lot more than the average person could because in the end, he'd be recognized and forgiven because HE'S BILL MURRAY! Throughout my giddy happiness, I was also envious!

A tangent, I wish there was a Tao of Robin Williams. One of the most touching remembrances was by Norm MacDonald. A rookie comic making his first appearance on a talk show. A basket case of nerves when a guy walks by, sees him, stops to strike up a conversation that quickly morphs into an impromptu comedy act. Then continued on down the hall. Norm's nerves were gone from laughing and he was calm and tasty to go out and make others laugh. Very much like Bill in that respect.

Even if you can take or leave Bill, this book is very worth the read if you enjoy pranks and free spirited living.

In my opinion, he's found the path to live life to its fullest and happily shanghais people on the journey. We should all be so lucky.

A note about the writing. I commend the author for having found a great balance in arranging the stories. Excellent curating. It so easily could have felt repetitive but he kept it fresh all the way through.

Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


message 2: by Anita (last edited Jul 21, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6671 comments You and Bill sound like kindred spirits! And would have loved to see you with the bunny ears, lol. I always feel admiration for people who do what they feel like doing without to much regard for what others are thinking . . .unfortunately, I definitely don't have that free spirit.

So glad this read was such an excellent one for you!!!


Megalion | 484 comments It's not easy to cultivate and or maintain it.

High school was probably my easiest time. But I did do it through my career jobs as well.

I envy Bill for being able to get away with a lot of what he did because of his celebrity. Very glad he did it regardless.


Megalion | 484 comments Need to correct my review. Review of his movies is incorrect. Each movie is a very brief recap then stories related to it. Often about how the movie makers nailed Bill down to get him.


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