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Einstein & The Art of Mindful Cycling: Achieving Balance in the Modern World (Mindfulness) Hardcover – 28 Sep 2012
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The strongest chord is struck when Irvine points out how an ordinary bicycle with its simple mechanisms still does so much for many of us, in a world of otherwise baffling technological advances. There, if anywhere, may the bicycle help us achieve balance in the modern world. --
Reflective, uplifting and a joy to read. --
The Good Book Guide
from publisher, philosopher and
cyclist Ben Irvine
is a fascinating
journey into his own world- view and that of one of his heroes, Albert Einstein.
An intriguing blend of auto- biography, historical musing and self-help manual, it s fair to say The Art of Mindful Cycling takes on a lot.
The book largely succeeds because of the fluidity of Irvine s writing, the soothing design and the variety of the subject matter. As you might expect, this curious book won t be for everyone, but if you have a friend of a metaphysical disposition, it could make an entertaining stocking-filler and talking point. --
About the Author
Dr Ben Irvine is a writer, publisher, campaigner, and recovered philosopher. He is editor of the Journal of Modern Wisdom and Cycle Lifestyle, publications which aim to put mindfulness and the good life back onto the social agenda, and is lobbying for a universally recognised map of cycle routes in the British capital. Ben also blogs for The School of Life, teaches philosophy to undergraduates at Cambridge University and is an Honorary Associate in the Philosophy department at Durham University.
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Top customer reviews
Many books are written and marketed on a 'this will change your life' ticket. Dr Irvine's 'Mindful Cycling' makes no such trite promises, but conveys some much-needed simple and practical wisdom for refining one's lifestyle.
Taking Einstein as his role model, Irvine reveals to us the man behind the myth and shows, with references both scientific and personal, how such a remarkable human being's way of thinking was deeply connected and motivated by the everyday phenomenal world. Through playing his violin, talking with all people as equals, and riding his bicycle, Einstein maintained a state of equanimity in which his extraordinary mind could function at its optimum capacity. We may not all have Einstein's IQ, but taking a leaf or two from his exemplary life book can, Irvine suggests, assist us in cutting out a lot of the mental and emotional 'clutter' that preoccupies so much of our waking time. The benefits of this are obvious: clearer thinking, calmer feeling, a sense of place, belonging and purpose and, above all, lower fuel emissions!
I love the lack of pretension that pervades this book, both its subject matter and in its writing. When Irvine, himself a doctor of philosophy, describes his own experiences, and shows how too much analysis and lazy thinking can negatively affect even the brightest of individuals, there is an honesty and clarity of purpose sorely missing from many so-called 'wellbeing' type books. The simple observations he shares from the saddle are ones with which we can all identify, probably remember from childhood, even - but how often do we actively remember? If we did, would we not all jump back on our bikes, disengage our complex modes of pursuing endless fantastic desires and pleasures, and 're-mind' ourselves of where the balance lies? This book is full of down-to-earth and manageable suggestions for getting back on your bike - metaphorically and literally. For, as Einstein showed us, both theoretically and in his behaviour, aren't the mental and the physical intimately connected?
An uplifting and no-nonsense read. No crazy goals, techniques or practices - just inspiration.
As for the inclusion of Einstein as a model example of what mindful cycling can do for you, he seems a fairly arbitrary choice. It seems he owned a bicycle and would sometimes ride it. Irvine may as well have made as much from Einstein's preference for crew-neck jumpers, or Einstein's choice to wear his hair somewhat longer than fashion dictated, as he has from Einstein's occasional use of a bicycle.
It's an easy read, and it is a fairly short book. I don't really feel like I learned anything from it.
So, who would it be good for? People who are considering taking up cycling AND some kind of "mindfulness" practice - but know nothing at all about either - and would also like to learn a smattering of trivia about Einstein. That strikes me as something of a niche market, but those people - if they are out there - will eat this up.
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