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Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It Hardcover – January 14, 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dyer's ninth book (Out of Sheer Rage; Paris Trance), a collection of 11 personal essays covering his travels around the globe, begins in New Orleans when Dyer is in his late 20s and concludes in the Nevada desert some 20 years later. In between he touches ground in destinations such as Bali and Amsterdam, usually seeking a "peak experience." More often than not, he is disappointed in his quest, but makes engaging stories of many aimless walks, such as wandering stoned through Amsterdam in search of a lost hotel, touring the ruined Roman city of Leptis Magna, or stumbling upon a suicide on South Beach. Even more intriguing than the far-flung locales he describes-such as Cambodia, Libya and Thailand-are the seemingly pedestrian ones he makes exotic. His essay "The Rain Inside," on experiencing a near emotional breakdown at a techno music festival in Detroit, is a masterpiece, equal parts introspection and cutting observation. Though the moments and perceptions he records are fleeting, Dyer deliberately provides touchstones-repeat references to Auden; the durability of his Teva sandals-that mark a path through the book. Fittingly, it's only when he finds himself in the metaphorical nowhere of the TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone) at the Burning Man Festival, that this postmodern pilgrim finally finds his place in the world. This original book from a genuine writer-a modern Montaigne-should provide serious readers with a lasting high.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Not as tie-dye as it sounds, this book by award-winning novelist/biographer Dyer chronicles what he himself calls "the whole self-journey thing."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (January 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375422145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375422140
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,546,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels and six other nonfiction books, including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. The winner of a Lannan Literary Award, the International Centre of Photography's 2006 Infinity Award for writing on photography, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters' E. M. Forster Award, Dyer is a regular contributor to many publications in the US and UK. He lives in London. For more information visit Geoff Dyer's official website: www.geoffdyer.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love Geoff Dyer, but this is not his best book. Consisting of stories that take place around the globe and which may or may not have happened or may not have happened quite as presented(the "genre-bending" the publishers are pushing, but anyone whose read autobiographical material... Spalding Gray, Bertrand Russell is aware of the may (not) have happened factor), the stories are Dyer's trademark style and sense of humor unevenly applied. Some of the stories ("Miss Cambodia") are simply excellent. Others are good stories peppered with far too much name checking of other authors ("Leptis Magna") and still others ("The Infinite Edge") are just simply mired in pretentious navel-gazing.
To take the latter, the author is in South-east Asia, but aside from the fact that it's ever-so-green (the first thing anyone notices about the region), there is nothing remotely remarkable about the setting. It is as though Dyer hopped half way around the world to hang around with Western backpackers (which is, I suppose, what all backpackers do, but I digress). Then, to top it off, he (rather, a character) quotes Rilke! So narrator-Geoff has traveled to the ends of the earth to quote Western authors with European backpackers? Ech. It's why people shudder at tourists. Even in "Miss Cambodia," narrator-Geoff admits that he can't distinguish between one temple and the next, but from all the Western quotes sprinkled throughout it becomes apparent that narrator-Geoff has no way to relate to his exotic settings because he knows nothing about them. He only knows a corpus of Occidental thought, DWEM's if you will.
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Format: Paperback
If the existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a travel memoir, perhaps he would have written "Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It." Geoff Dyer's search for meaning and genuine happiness - a journey that takes him around the world - is loaded with laughs and numerous meditations expounding on pithy quotes by luminaries such as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the poet W.H. Auden.

He bungles through New Orleans, Paris, Rome, other exotic destinations and not so beautiful places like Detroit in a stoned Woody Allenesque manner. He beautifully captures the moment of a place and its scene in a clear voice. In Amsterdam he's caught in a downpour after ingesting mushrooms and goes to a nearby café to change. "In the cramped confines of the toilet I had trouble getting out of my wet trousers, which clung to my legs like a drowning man."

Despite excessive self-absorption at times, the book still works on many different levels. Reading this quirky meditation one really gets a three for one deal as travel, philosophy and comedy all take their respective well-deserved bows. But the common thread throughout this text that connects the reader is Dyer's steady stream of honest writing.

Bohdan Kot
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Format: Hardcover
Don't buy this book if you're looking for some version of Yoga Lite. It's actually a serious collection of personal essays that chronicle globe-trotting Geoff Dyer's travels between the ages of 20-40. As such, it's really a story about growing up, maturing into some version of adulthood, coming to piece with what Is. Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It is not about yoga - but it IS about finding inner peace.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit I picked up this book with the comic title because I heard the author writes of his experiences at the Full Moon Party on Hat Rin Beach in Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand. I have indeed been to this relatively isolated island but not to the infamous festival of alcohol and psychedelic trance music. Luckily, British writer Geoff Dyer has actively partaken fully in all the legendary activities that have made the festival's reputation. But this episode is not the only attraction in this slyly funny, surprisingly introspective travel journal, which glides seamlessly from place to place on a magic carpet of hallucinogenic drugs. With a blessed lack of apology, Dyer chronicles his wide variety of mood swings with mind-bending wit and precise observation. A true drifter, he takes his jaundiced eye, as well as his loneliness, frequent listlessness and pervasive self-dissatisfaction, along with him wherever he goes, but what prevents the book from being an incoherent downer is how he makes his restless nature palpable and often hilarious.

In a collection of eleven short stories, the author takes us to New Orleans, Cambodia, Bali, Paris, Ko Pha Ngan, Rome, Miami, Amsterdam, Libya and Detroit, but he makes a point of ending each chapter with something to leave the reader wanting more. It could be a vivid image or a personalized sensation but never a look-back summary. Whether it's musing about the potential of a racially motivated incident on a Mississippi road trip or the details of a suicide in Miami's South Beach or the lush greenery of Bali's rice paddy fields or the artistry of a one-legged barber in Cambodia, Dyer has a gift for conveying his thoughts in an authentic, descriptive way that does not smack of posturing.
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