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Meetings with Remarkable Men (All and Everything) Paperback – September 27, 1991

64 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the All and Everything Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Right around the turn of the 20th century, G.I. Gurdjieff initiated a group of spiritual adventurers called the "Seekers of Truth." These intrepid intellectuals of every stripe crisscrossed Africa and Asia in search of the hidden mysteries of antiquity. In Meetings with Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff narrates their exploits while drawing portraits of these extraordinary figures (including one woman and a dog). Half travel journal, half autobiography, Meetings with Remarkable Men begins with Gurdieff's childhood, when he finds his book learning at odds with paranormal events that were self-evident but inexplicable through modern science. Later he discovers a map of "pre-sands Egypt" and evidence of the Sarmound Brotherhood, alleged keepers of ancient wisdom dating back four and a half millennia. He climbs the Himalayas, follows the Nile, and is led blindfolded to a mysterious monastery. In his encounters with dervishes, monks, and fakirs, Gurdjieff recovers the wisdom he seeks; by comparison, European understanding, he says, is backwards and barbaric. A controversial figure in his time, Gurdjieff inspired deep love and loyalty in his pupils and ridicule from skeptics. At the bookends of Meetings with Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff suggests the value of blurring the line between allegory and straight reporting. But then what exactly is Meetings with Remarkable Men? You be the judge. --Brian Bruya

About the Author

G. I. Gurdjieff was born in 1887 in Alexandropol. After studying with spiritual masters in the Near East and Asia, he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France.

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Product Details

  • Series: All and Everything
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; New Ed edition (September 27, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140190376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140190373
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By rastaman on August 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is much autobiographical information here, but G.'s intentions are never straightforward.
There is a deeper intention.
That is to inculcate into the reader the need to search for the meaning of life.
Along the way, he tells of many entertaining adventures in cultures and regions not familiar to the West and conveys the fascinating diversity and antiquity of this crossroads of religions, beliefs and ways of life.
Predictably there are those who find one objection or another to this book, and have come to conclusions without much basis.
It is a given that some will approach a book like this with skepticism and perhaps disapproval. Some of this is due to hearsay, concerning G.'s reputation as a "mystic" in the Rasputin/Crowley mold or some such nonsense.
One of G.'s methods was in fact to APPEAR as a charlatan, in order to put off just those people who form opinions too quickly and fail to doubt the limitations of their own perspective.
Those with a more open mind will be more receptive to more subtle intentions and sense a profound and urgent underlying teaching.
For those people - those who sense a meaning behind the entertaining anecdotes and storyline - the next step is to read the book IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS by P.D. Ouspensky, which gives the best account of the man G. and his manner of teaching in the first half of the 20th c.
But most of all, it is the best explication of the teachings themselves, and a book that to many people is the profoundest and most meaningful book they have ever read.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Sutherland on July 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the most accessible of Gurdjieff's works and should be read by any student of the "essence of reality" or "timeless wisdom," concepts that can't be articulated without sounding like cliches. For this reason I give it five stars.
As mentioned by other reviewers, Gurdjieff is a master of "coyote wisdom." In the American Indian tradition, the coyote, as totem guide of a Shaman, is a trickster and there was none better than Gurdjieff. My most vivid recollection is a story about his teaching center in France where he was adulated by an obsequious woman. He picked up an iron bowl from the fire and told the woman, "Here, hold this." Her shock and pain may or may not have awakened her consciousness, but the technique is vintage Gurdjieff. I have met a number of serious students of Gurdjieff in my 60 short years and they stand out as having significantly more depth than most students of non-traditional paths. Recommended.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By on January 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
Overall, this book is fascinating reading for anyone. In particular, the chapter (60 plus pages) on "The Material Question" struck a note in me in the early 1960's and has resonated throughout my life and mind ever since. Taking it exactly as he presented it, I applied myself to this way of thinking, fully focusing on everything surrounding me. I opened my first small business and went at it with a perseverance and determination learned from Gurdjieff. I never looked back, and consider that one short novel of a chapter to have been the greatest influence on my material success.
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59 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Lewis on October 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
When I was in college in the late 70's, my small circle of friends were philosophers, shaman, and spiritualists... which really means, we liked to discuss amongst ourselves the deep meaning of it all, around bong hits and Budweiser. WARNING: Budweiser is BAD for you, and I no longer drink alcohol!!! One of these friends loaned "Meetings With Remarkable Men" to me, and it made a lasting impression, just as David Carradine did in the TV series "Kung Fu", which kicked off the kung fu - Buddhist - Shaolin - Taoist journey for Americans, more than Bruce Lee was able to accomplish (Bruce Lee was all about martial arts, and didn't have a whole lot to offer the spiritually thirsty. His lack of dimension was his failing). Anyway, we sat around, smoking and drinking, discussing, and watching "Circle of Iron", and formulating the shape of civilization to come.

The other interesting aspect of "Meetings" is that it is an introduction to the trans-Caucasus, a geographic area with a diversity of cultures, religions, and ethnicity as colorful as the plumage of the peacock, which happens to be the embodiment of the Yzidi Lord of the World, Shaitan. One lasting impression was the scene from Gurdjieff's youth, when he witnessed the Yzidi boy being entrapped within a circle that bullying school children had inscribed around him. This event triggered Gurdjieff's quest for answers to life's eternal mysteries.

The book is a story of that quest for answers. It almost doesn't matter if the events actually happened or not. Read this book in the spirit of the late Gary Jennings's adventure fiction (The Journeyer, Spangle, Aztec) and you will have a better appreciation for this book as adventure fiction, if not spiritual revelation. "Meetings" is introductory, and prerequisite, to the Gurdjieff story.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jj Pieterse on May 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
A book that without doubt has the potential to inspire the reader to live consciously and purposefully. The stories of Gurdjieff's life is put forward in a very simple manner and yet allowing a powerful pattern of encouragement to emerge. Each chapter stands independently able to enlighten and entertain. Gurdjieff shows that the path to an ultimate aim is not straight but rather filled with al kinds of obstacles and delays. While emphasising the struggle to achieve, the seeker of truth provides also the answer on how to overcome obstacles. The teacher shows that sometimes survival requires ingenious solutions and at other times shrewd and calculated plans. Attainment requires the influence of resourceful people with inner qualities rather than external presentation. Gurdjieff demonstrates the inner qualities of people who know how to be restrained in the manifestations that proceed from their nature while conducting themselves justly and tolerantly towards weaknesses of others. The ultimate aim is to enlighten the reader of the inner qualities that constitute remarkable men. Gurdjieff succeeds to develop in his readers the desire to become remarkable men themselves. Men that will on their turn influence the rest of the lives of all they interact with. Ultimately the book aims to transfer an experiential understanding of what Gurdjieff, as a teacher, expect from his pupils as a result of his teaching.
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