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Jonathan Livingston Seagull Paperback – January 1, 1973


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380012863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380012862
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (638 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 neighborhood 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 payoff: 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

Review

Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me Flight. He makes me young. -- Ray Bradbury

More About the Author

Richard Bach's inspirational classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull is one of the few books that dominated the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List for two consecutive years. With humor, wisdom and insight that could only come from one of the world's most beloved authors and an accomplished pilot, his most recent book, Travels with Puff, recounts Bach's journey from Florida to Washington state in his small seaplane, Puff. With over 60,000,000 copies of his books sold, Richard Bach remains one of the world's most beloved authors. A former USAF fighter pilot, Air Force captain and latter-day barnstorming pilot, Bach continues to be an avid aviator-author, exploring and chronicling the joys and freedom of flying, reporting his findings to his devoted fans. His latest book, Illusions II, is a remarkable account of his angel's lessons, by the way of a seaplane crash. His website is www.richardbach.com.

Customer Reviews

This book is a very easy read.
Michele Neumeyer
We only have one life - and most of us who can afford to buy books have an amazing wealth of luck that 90% of the world's population dreams of having.
Lisa Shea
All I can say is that once you read this book, you will understand.
Kikyo C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

275 of 293 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's really amazing that this book, published in 1970, got onto the top sellers of all time list. It is barely 127 pages long - and that includes many pages of seagull photos, with very few words per page. The margins are very large :) It's a story about a seagull who, unlike his comrades, is not happy yelling "Mine! Mine! Mine!" for food. He loves to soar, and fly. He faces rejection and ridicule for his quest for greater heights. And of course, he inspires all of us to reach for our goals.

So first, obviously this book is REALLY short. I just re-read it and, without racing at all, I was done in 16 minutes. It's very short. There aren't long, drawn out characterizations here. Jonathan learns to fly well in about 2 pages, and by page 31 he is fully aware of all of his skills. By page 57 he in "Heaven" - or at least in another stage of life in with like-minded seagulls, speaking with telepathy. Chiang is the elder there who tells Jonathan that there actually is no Heaven - that Heaven is the state of being perfect. Jonathan decides to return to Earth and help others. He spends a few pages teaching Fletcher his skills, and then vanishes, leaving Fletcher to teach the new seagull students how to fly. The story ends.

Really, the story here is that Jonathan and Fletcher were not "special" in any way. The point is made many times that they were seagulls like any others. The difference is that they chose to strive to better themselves. They were not content to merely eat and sleep. They wanted to become really good at what they could do - fly. The elders explain that for many people, this process takes many lifetimes. If you do well in a given life, you graduate to a "higher" life where you can then work with people on your next stage of progress.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Kikyo C. on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
If there is anything that this book teaches, it is that we have the ability to change reality with the power of our own thoughts. This is one of those books that no matter how many times I read it, will never fail to amaze me. It's the kind of book that leaves you speechless, unable to do anything but think, and wonder.
Presented in the form of a charming parable about a seagull's education in flight, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is about far more than the life of one seagull. It is about each and every one of us, struggling to find the answers, to reach something higher that we are not even yet aware of. We are all a little bit like Jonathan, and when we read Bach's story, we realize that we all have the same power inside. That we can do anything, be anything that we want, if only we can believe in ourselves. Bach's message is a powerful and timeless one that stretches across all barriers to reveal the simple truth that we all, at one time or another in our lives, knew: the most powerful force that exists is that of belief, especially in ourselves.
I can't tell you exactly why you need to read this book. It's not about something as simple as plot or writing style. There is a rare magic in the words that cannot be conveyed by any other means than the experience of reading the book. All I can say is that once you read this book, you will understand.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat on March 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again". "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight." That is what the author of this book says about the "hero" of this story, a seagull named Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is different to the other gulls in his flock. He doesn't live to eat, but eats to live and pursue his passion: flight. But his search for perfection and speed doesn't endear him to the other seagulls, that eventually expel him from the flock for daring to be different. To know what happens afterwards, you will need to read this book, because I don't want to spoil the ending.

The real question here, I guess, is whether you want to read a story about gulls... I mean, there are so many good books out there, why read a book about a bird?. The answer is simple: the story in "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" is a metaphor about things that can happen to you in real life. Have you ever felt tempted to do the same that everybody else, just for the sake of conformism?. Have you often felt like given up when something you really want to do demands too much work?. Just think about it...

I believe that many of us are sometimes like most of the gulls in this book, and we need to learn the lessons that "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" gives us: the most important thing is to believe in ourselves, and always do our best without giving up.

I would like to point out that some people say that this book is full of New Age ideas. I really don't think so. Okay, I certainly don't know much about those ideas, and I'm not interested enough to learn more about them.
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217 of 252 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jonathan I loved this book. Jonathan when he came back to help the birds on a lower level of spiritual development, is like, Michael in the book An Encounter With A Prophet, coming back to help Nathaniel. Their statements of truth seem rather hard to accept at first, even by those high flyers who want more than the "herd" or "the flock" are willing to blindly accept as truth.
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