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Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity Hardcover – December 28, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lynch blends biography, filmography, spiritual quotes and his philosophical perspective on the life-changing capabilities of transcendental meditation, all within two and a half hours. Having practiced meditation for three decades, director Lynch discusses how it has influenced his life and helped him to concentrate his energy. Listeners may catch glimpses of creativity and consciousness, but Lynch's rants lack cohesion and substance. Within the audiobook's short chapters, Lynch barely broaches a topic before moving onto the next, leaving listeners to question his emphasis to go "deep." The most interesting aspects arise out of his anecdotes and comments about his films, like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet. His dry rattling voice hints at the passion behind his statements, but more often comes across as insistent and almost whiny. He reminds listeners that authors do not always make the best voices for their books. However, on the sound production end, the lightly blowing wind for the quotes from the Upanishads and Sutras adds mystical air to their reading. It's unfortunate that neither his words nor his voice live up to that standard.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Author David Foster Wallace once observed that, as a filmmaker, David Lynch seems to care more about getting inside the heads of his viewers than about communicating a particular message to them once he's inside. With this book, Lynch offers us a rare glimpse into his own head. A longtime practitioner of transcendental meditation, a set of meditation practices popular in the 1960s, Lynch is primarily interested in communicating to readers the powerful creative vitality that he has tapped through meditation. In 85 brief, airy chapters--many koanlike and some only a sentence or two long--Lynch discusses the techniques with which he expands his consciousness, catches ideas, and gives form to abstraction. (It's not all lofty stuff: milkshakes are, it turns out, a key vehicle for creativity.) In the process, he reveals just enough biographical information, philosophy of film, and general behind-the-scenes dirt (including the connection between Lynch's Lost Highway and O. J. Simpson)to keep the attention of those more interested in Lynch's films than in his consciousness. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (December 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585425400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585425402
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 132 people found the following review helpful By T. TOM TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Get the audiobook instead of the book (either on CD if you want to own the physical CD like me, or as a download). I got the audio CD and imported it into my iPod.

The audio CD (by the way, it's 2 CDs) works much better than the book because you get to hear David Lynch talking and it's like a conversation with him. It's also unabridged so you get all the same content as the book however in my opinion, it's better than the book and is a rare opportunity to listen to David Lynch talk about many of the ideas that make him tick.

David Lynch was my hero before and now he is my idol.
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92 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Adam Donaghey on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
David Lynch's new book, "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" is creative, charming, brief and playful. Written in small passages that flow, despite uniquely defined ideas, and seem to jump right off the page and dance and twinkle in your mind as you continually turn the pages, Lynch takes the reader through a deeply contemplative--though subtle in description--journey into 'that which all things emerge.'

I actually acquired this for a friend of mine and when I present it to him, I'll promptly admit to reading it--in its entirety--before giving it to him. I'll tell him how Lynch touches on his films, but only chooses one or two interesting anecdotal items regarding these films and then moves on. Much the same with his life. I'll also share with him the positivity that Lynch exudes throughout and how important and real this state of mind is to him. How his whole aim is to be less and less and less restricted by anger and depression and sadness and hostility and all the other negative aspects of life.

According to Lynch, it's all because of Transcendental Meditation and consciousness-based education. Lately, he's been giving many interviews and talks and whatnot to propagate his progressive thinking with regards to the many benefits of Transcendental Mediation. His foundation--the 'David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace'--is dedicated to introducing and maintaining this principle to young people and educators around the world.

In one passage of the book, Lynch says that Van Gogh "would have been even more prolific and even greater if he wasn't so restricted by the things tormenting him. I don't think it was pain that made him so great--I think his painting brought him whatever happiness he had."

I suppose I'm charmed. And I now believe in world peace.
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Format: Hardcover
There are some remarkable insights to be gleaned from this short treatise on the process of creation, by one of our most creative and challenging filmmakers. It is very well written, in a simple and economical style that manages to deliver much more of interest than many much larger volumes on the subject of creation. The book consists of a series of apparently disconnected (but in fact well ordered) reflections on his own life, his work as a filmmaker, his practice as a meditator, and on the larger themes of creation and of human motivation and of relation between the conscious and unconscious mind and the role of art in revealing truth. Lynch is also careful not to limit the applicability of the ideas he develops to his own field of filmmaking, but (humbly) suggests ways in which the same insights can apply to other art forms, to business, to dealings with other people, and to life in general. The central metaphor of the book, suggested by the title, is that to catch the really big fish (i.e. to discover a profound truth, create a beautiful work of art, or develop a novel and powerful new way of doing things) one must swim in the depths (i.e. find some regular and continued practice, such as meditation, whereby your mind is opened up beyond its subjective limitations, a practice that encourages thinking to transcend its dependence on the narrow perspective of common sense and prejudice we inherit). He indicates a number of ways in which he has been able to do this in his own life, primarily through meditational practice. It is a quick read, but is the kind of book that would could be browsed repeatedly, with the reward of renewed insight.Read more ›
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sanders Ford on January 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I thought David Lynch's Catching the Big Fish would be an intellectual discussion about creativity. Instead, I found it to be a delightful experience of creativity. In reading it, I was surprised to find myself feeling happy, content, and bright inside. It's an easy read - nice, well contained, short chapters, yet not simplistic. While fun to read, I felt I was also growing in insight and wisdom.

I've never met Lynch, yet I feel like he's a friend now. He's open enough to share his ideas and opinions, and caring enough to share his feelings on creativity, art and life as a whole. I didn't want the book to end.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By senorfeliz on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book reminded me of Lynch's wonderful and understated "Straight Story" in its unpretentious simplicity and quiet power.

And like Straight, this book may not be what some Lynch fans initially were expecting. But don't let that throw you. This book is a gem!

At first I thought I might have liked it more if it had some of Lynch's amazing art throughout it - some of his paintings, a few chosen film stills, maybe even some of his thoughtful stylish furniture.

But as I sat back with the simple words on white pages (so UN-Lynchian some might at first think), I realized that every aspect of the book was an intentioned aquarium view of anecdotes and insights of the Lynch mind and art - an outstanding exposition of a cutting edge artist's approach to, and cultivation of, the creative process.

Delightful and bold - I loved it!
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