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Jonathan Livingston Seagull: a story [Hardcover]

Richard Bach
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 87 pages
  • Publisher: Element; New edition (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007747039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007747030
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 13.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description Review "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 your flock, tribe or neighbourhood finds your ambition threatening. (At one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock.) By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate pay-off: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness. The dreamy seagull photographs by Russell Munson provide just the right illustrations--although the overall packaging does seem a bit dated (keep in mind that it was first published in 1970). Nonetheless, this is a spirituality classic and an especially engaging parable for adolescents. --Gail Hudson

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It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Terence Jones VINE VOICE
The reason i bought this book was because a famous bodybuilder called Tom Platz who was very succesfull in the late 70's through to the early 90's menetioned it. In a 1980 interview on Arnold's Total Rebuild video he considered bodybuilding to be philosophical and mentioned this book as an influence.

He said "The seagull wanted to do something artistic and out of the ordinary compared to the everyday things that he was supposed to do"

I thought that if it could innfluence an athlete such as him then it would be good for me.

I was right.

Don't get me wrong there are probably more indepth philosophy books and better fable stories but the former are more likely to be "Americanised" using lots of buzz words and phrases with feel good meanings.

The beauty of this book is in it's simplicity - a story of a seagull wanting to do something different and WHY. It's written by a British writer. It isn't very long (about 30 of the 87 pages are photos of seagulls)


It'll only take an hour to read but it's message may last a lifetime
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review for my father 18 May 2001
By A Customer
My father gave me this book to read when i was just 15. He inscribed the front with "Fly Free and Be Happy". I know JLS had an amazing effect on me and him both, I just hope younger people are able to see past the obscure to the true meaning of the tale. Now my father is flying free and I hope he is happy and at his funeral pages 46 - 47 were read for him - a fitting tribute I think.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superlative, uplifting, genre defining 20 April 2000
By A Customer
Absolutely superb work by Bach. Extremely short novel, an easy afternoon read. Despite its length it is immensely powerful and has had a deep impact on all the people I know who have read it.
Oh, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't look like it's the kind of thing you would normally read (basically, whatever you normally read, this isn't like it); it seems to have the same effect on everyone, regardless of taste.
I would urge anyone who has a grasp of the English language to read this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Nadders
This book reminded me of the things I found amazing as a child. I loved books like the Magic Far Away Tree and The Moomins. Reading this book as an adult one realises that it is not a fantasy but an illustration of the possibilities in our lives. If you are stuck in a rut or losing sight of what life is all about, then this short story might inspire you to push a bit harder and reach a bit further. I love it's simplicity.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty four copies later ... 21 Nov 1999
By A Customer
I have just ordered my twenty-fourth copy of this book! Having read it so many times over 15 years, I have worn out most copies - the rest I have bought for other people. It was the book that changed my life. Whenever circumstances in my life have led me to ponder life itself, this book has been my 'bible' of inspiration. Sometimes it will inspire, sometimes it will make you cry - releasing the grief and stress of your life. Whatever it does to you, one day this book will hit you between the eyes. You might read it at the wrong time of your life and it may mean nothing, but I guarantee that one day, this book will make sense and change your total outlook on life forever. After that, it's just good to re-read to top-up with the positive vibes. Read, absorb and move forward. Re-read, rise higher and fly free.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Self development - a Seagull's perspective! 8 Jun 2010
This is a timeless fictional story about a non-conforming seagull named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It is an unusual little book as it is a story from a seagull's point of view.

The book was written by Richard Bach (b. 1936). A former US Air Force pilot, many of his books contain flight references. The book is very short - about 100 pages - many of which comprise photographs of gulls. It caused quite a stir when it was first published in 1970. This best seller is a classic and is still on many schools' reading lists.

The story is about Jonathan's passion to fly like no other seagull against all odds. He is different from other gulls who exist merely to eat and survive. He wants to learn to fly higher and faster than anyone else. He constantly improves by teaching himself new techniques. Each time he `fails' he moves to a higher level of awareness.

He eventually reaches a plane where he finds many gulls with the same mindset. He is encouraged and motivated to continue to excel and ultimately learns to fly beyond his wildest expectations. His self development and personal growth keep him focused on his search for a higher purpose, and through persistence and perseverance he finally achieves his goal.

As his reputation builds so does a `following' but he remains humble, speaking of simple things, such as "the right for a gull to fly" and "freedom." His followers consider him "special and gifted and divine, above all other birds." He explains to them that they all are. There are some great phrases like:

"The gull who sees farthest who flies highest".
"Everything that limits us we have to put aside".
"You need to keep finding yourself, a little more each day...".
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful flight to understanding 28 Oct 2002
By Mr. R. N. Lock VINE VOICE
This book is a wonderful experience and one I will never forget. I loved this book so much and everytime I re-read it, another jewel of wisdom presents itself to me. From a simple story of a seagull, Richard Bach has produced a masterpiece. My last words are fly with Jonathon and you will see more clearly beyond your horizon. Brilliant !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Super read worth reading again and again.
Published 21 hours ago by Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Superb book as a gift for a friend
Published 1 day ago by Harshjit Thakker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 day ago by Mr. Jl Hurst
5.0 out of 5 stars part 4
first time I've read Part 4,missing from the book for so many years and now the story feels complete now.
Published 6 days ago by Martyn Hutchby
5.0 out of 5 stars to the great gull in all of us
And so the story goes on.

To all my friends fly, live, enjoy a book that every teenager in the world should read.
Published 9 days ago by dfddfd
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read.
Greatest book I've read alongside Illusions.
This book can be a life changer if followed and constantly re read, I urge you to get it.
Published 17 days ago by John Seward
5.0 out of 5 stars i love the book
Such a great book - I could not put my kindle down - I am so glad I have it
Published 17 days ago by Karen
4.0 out of 5 stars An old gem
Read this many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Just bought two copies; one for my brother to read and one for my daughter.
Published 20 days ago by Mr M M M
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I absolutely love this book because of the different levels of meaning and understanding, I would recommend this to people of all ages :)
Published 26 days ago by Daniel Ballinger
3.0 out of 5 stars I read all the good reviews but for me it was nothing new
I did like this book, but it never blew me away like all the other reviews, maybe its me, I liked the story, maybe I need to read it again.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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