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West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief Paperback – May 29, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Miles from civilization, knowing nothing about engines and out of supplies, they did the only sensible thing--they went surfing. When they reached the water they found the surface to be completely flat, no waves to be had. Waiting out most of the afternoon with no change in conditions, they were ready to bail, when again -zap!- another bolt hit the reef and *poof* instant waves. Beautiful surf for hours, they caught waves all day, until suddenly, just as rapidly as they had begun, the waves shut off. Just like that, as sometimes happens.
That's when they saw him. Several hundred yards out was an old man sitting on a surfboard. In his hand was a long white bone. The story is that with this bone he could control the weather, could summon waves, and who knows what other magical stuff.
This is the story of the Conductor. It is the myth who's elusive origins author Steven Kotler seeks in his book "West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief.Read more ›
The author brings you along on his quest. He's searching for the origin of the "Conductor" lore - the enigmatic chap who controls the weather and the waves and can give a surfer the ride of his life or be the conduit for ending it.
Reading this book is like sitting in an amusement park ride being driven along a path that allows us a peek at Pacific legends, quantum physics, that ol'time religion and psychotropic drug treatments.
I'm a member of a read and release program and can't quite decide if I want to leave this book on a California pier, a roudy fundamentalist church or the local loony bin. But rest assured, anyone who lays claim to this book will find it fascinating. bg
From here Kotler begins wandering, both in the book and in life. He goes to investigate an old surfing folk tale called the Conductor, about a man who has the ability to control the weather, specifically the surf. With the remains of his life rather messed up, Kotler begins to surf around the world seeking the Conductor. He regains his strength, both physically and mentally. But he also begins to develop mystical experiences. He reports on out-of-body experiences, time stoppages, moments of ecstasy.
It was a delightful trip, it's a delightful story. Only I'm left with a wonder about what he's going to do next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written and entertaining. You will wonder if you are reading fiction. He jumps from a narrative to (sometimes lengthy) discussions on scientific concepts, so if you... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kearu
This is a patchwork of ideas strung together with surfer attitude. Entertaining? Yes, Worth all the 5 star reviews? Not to me. Read morePublished 2 months ago by P. Lovell
Finding oneself at the end of his rope the author took the logical step of tracking down a mythical rope. On a surf trip. It's a fun trip. Worth a ticket.Published 7 months ago by Jplang43
I gave 4 out of 5 just because I liked Steven Kotlers "The Rise of Superman" more, but other than that it is a really nice surf literature and I would totally recommend it... Read morePublished 10 months ago by AJR
The most valuable info in Kotler's book appears on page 141-142. There he references some studies that show spiritual people live longer and have healthier lives than non-spiritual... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Leonard J. Martini
Be warned though. I ordered this book from Academic Book Guy as a gift to a close friend (I have my own copy) who has given me some very nice books, so I... Read more
Excellent piece of work. Some in depth research makes for a solid foundation to a good story. Thought provoking, travel and surf adventure which is also a journey of discovery.Published 17 months ago by Fred Adelhelm
I don't do reviews...however this was such a engaging, intelligent, insightful book with a lot of depth and rare insight. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Gibbslaw