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The Dude and the Zen Master Paperback – January 28, 2014
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"Mr. Bridges and Mr. Glassman are likable, and smart, and interesting...[The Dude and the Zen Master] includes compelling discussions of Mr. Bridges's marriage, acting technique and close relationship with his father...you'll always be grateful for the hang."
—The New York Times
"[The Dude and the Zen Master] is an odd and wonderful little work that makes use of the transcendentally funny characters and language of [The Big Lebowski] as the starting point for a relaxed philosophical discussion about a wide variety of topics."—Los Angeles Times
"[A] truly incredible book about two friends talking about the good life."
"Whether he knows it or not, The Dude's laissez-faire attitude has become a model for coping with life's complexities...[in] The Dude and the Zen Master, one gets the impression he or she is eavesdropping on an intimate conversation...It's more than chicken soup for the soul, [it's] cacciatore for the spirit, a winner’s guide to optimal living—a manual on how to Dude-ify oneself and just abide, man."
"The Dude and the Zen Master is an exercise in likeability....[Bridges] is in rare form here....To know the Dude (and, by extension, Bridges own meditational endgame) is to love him."
"[A] good conversation between good friends...One of the unexpected treats of The Dude and the Zen Master is the insights into who Jeff Bridges is behind the Dude persona...touching remembrances of his parents, his reflections on life as a devoted family man, and his behind-the-scenes stories of movies he's worked on [and] profound little Zen observations and insights sprinkled throughout the book."
"The Dude and the Zen Master doesn't read like a traditional book at all—but rather riffs like a jam session....you'll feel as though you yourself sat in on the sessions with the dude behind the Dude in The Big Lebowski and Buddhist buddy, Bernie....And what’s so cool is that the two of them manage to address many of life’s profundities—relationships, politics, working, aging, living, dying—in this very funny and readable jam session."
—Rock Cellar Magazine
"The Dude and the Zen Master [is] a wonderful book of conversations...about acting and Zen and the long, fond relationship between these men."
—Sheila Heti, Financial Times
About the Author
Jeff Bridges is an Oscar-winning actor, performer, songwriter, and photographer. He is a cofounder of the End Hunger Network and is the national spokesman for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
Bernie Glassman is a Zen master and the first dharma successor to Taizan Maezumi Roshi, founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. He is well known for integrating Zen practice with social, economic, and educational initiatives. He is also the author of Instructions to the Cook and Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Making Peace.
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It's not a bad book (if you don't count "Whoa, man, what are you saying" occurring three times in the first few paragraphs as bad). But it's not a very good book either. E.g., it's not the deftly written script for "The Big Lebowski," a minor classic among films. It's just a couple of dudes rapping about the character from the movie. Basically, it's like "My Dinner with Andre" with the angst removed and voluntary munchies added. Or like the early David Letterman show without the band, commercials, and audience, and with munchies added.
It's is funny in places but you wouldn't buy this book just for the occasional humor.
It tells you a little about the film and avid fans might like it as much as they like anything having to do with the film. But you wouldn't buy this book for the film background and analysis.
You might learn something about Zen. After all, if you can find Zen in motorcycle maintenance, you can find it here too, or, for that matter, staring at the wall of a cave. For at least two of these, voluntary munchies will help.
If this book changes your life, you probably need to read more, more of lots of different books. But reading this book won't hurt you more than the price of the book and an hour or two of reading time. I'd recommend seeing "The Big Lebowski" again, and see what that does for you.
The book dips a little into promotional territory for Jeff and Bernie's various charitable causes towards the end, and this is primarily the reason why I would dock a star in my rating. Their plugs are perfectly relevant to the discussion, and not overly intrusive or forced, but it can get a little distracting and may turn other readers off. It actually prompted me to think about my own involvement in charitable foundations and organizations, something I'd like to do more of, so I can't fault Jeff and Bernie for for raising my own awareness.
This would be a "self-help" book if it had a shred of material to it yet you can apply some of the ideals which are discussed into your life. Odd like that. Odd like The Dude himself and NOT Odd as the Dude is reality of being instead of becoming anything. Even the Zen Master offers precious little to hang your hat on yet you do come away feeling cleansed and somehow better off than before you read it. Let me know how this all sits with any of you all and we'll see.................