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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
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)

THAT IS NOT THE POINT. IT'S THE MESSAGE THE BOOK HAS.

It'll only take an hour to read but it's message may last a lifetime
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69 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 1999
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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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 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...".
"...you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way".

This novel is about attaining your dreams and being your own self development mentor. Jonathan shows that through sheer tenacity and perseverance you can overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. On a deeper level, it explores man's inherent desire for personal development and self growth, and the search for true happiness. Deeper still, it touches on our materialistic life being not the end but the beginning of something even greater.

As you read you realise that Jonathan Seagull lives within everyone. What are his teachings?

* Live and love your life's passions.
* Give yourself the freedom to soar.
* Never ever give up on your passions.
* Allow yourself to listen to your heart.
* Have faith and pursue your true purpose.
* You can do anything if you want it enough.
* Follow your dreams through thick and thin.
* Dare to question what is taught by your elders.
* It is all right to be different from everyone else.
* Do not follow others blindly - fly out on your own.
* Keep working on your talents and fly to new heights.
* It is your choice to live your life exactly the way you want.
* Follow your dreams even if others find your ideas ridiculous.
* Break through the restraints of family, friends and community.
* Figure out what your greatest talents are and truly live your life.
* Hard as it may sound, do not be concerned over what others think.
* There is always something great to be learned from trying new things.
* Listen to your dreams and persevere until you get to where you want to be.

IN SUMMARY

'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' is about far more than the life of one seagull. It is a fable about self empowerment and the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if the people around you find your goals threatening or ridiculous. Jonathan shows that you can do anything and be anything you want if you just believe in yourself. It is also about the struggle to find the answers about life itself.

This book is a great read for all age-groups and particularly for anyone who wants to `fly' in the broadest sense of the word. It is a book that can be read a number of times with each reading giving you further insight.

It is also a good fable for children as it stimulates discussions on the various meanings of the story. The ending was slightly puzzling but on viewing the DVD which, though very lengthy (2 hrs), did suggest some explanations. The film also shed light on why the book had numerous black and white, grainy photographs of gulls. (All the music and songs are by Neil Diamond)
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2001
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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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2000
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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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 1999
After I read this book, every time I saw a seagull I thought of Johnathan Livingston seagull and how even though his elders through great shame and dishonor toward him he didnt let that put him down and he still did the one thing he loved flying. Thats why I invite you to live the adventure of flight and life with Johnathan a Seagull in the wonderful book Johnathan Livingston Seagull written by Richard Bach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2012
This book is absolutely amazing.It is great for people of any age from 9(when I read it two years ago) to as long as you live.If you are ten, you'll love it. If you are eighty seven you'll love it. It is very inspiring for if you are not doing well at something and leaves you motivated to do your best. The story is about a seagull who keeps trying to achieve his goals, even if it means being chucked out of the flock, who won't give up. I DEFINITELEY RECOMMEND IT!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 20 June 2011
I heard about this book years ago but just never got around to reading it. I am very glad I have. Through the metaphor of flight, the experience of Jonathan Gull teaches us to reach out for more and raise ourselves out of ignorance. Made an outcast from the rest of his flock by daring to be original, Jonathan learns that by developing his skills in flying, he can help himself and others. Each lifetime that we are given is an opportunity to learn and develop our understanding. Even if this means going against the norm and being ourselves. By expressing our true nature we can become free.

Although a very short book, it deals with some big ideas: self development, the nature of space and time and enlightenment. I certainly didn't expect those themes in a story about a seagull! Perhaps through reading this book we can be inspired to "lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!" Not bad for 87 pages and an hour or so of reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 1999
After reading the book, one thing has become pretty clear in my mind. we are not here for mere earning our bread and butter. Life is all about exploring new heights, think about them till you reel under the pressure, dream about them and nurture them. It also tells us that to follow freely the promptings of heart, one must not conceal from oneself that life is coarse and ruthless in its own wayward course. The book is a bid to rekindle the sleeping Jonathan Livingston Seagull in us. Thru the seagull, the author explains us and takes us to the finer nuances of life. What does a man need, we always think. Bread, Butter and a bed to sleep on. NO, you will know after reading the book. There is much more to life than getting these things. You don't have to simply live for them. How about bringing a pose of roses for your beloved from the stiff cliffs of Alpine, when roses are out of season. This book will teach and prompt you to do that. Thanks Richard for letting me know the Jonathan Seagull in me.
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