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Gurdjieff Paperback – March 25, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Co-screenwriter of The Crow, John Shirley is the author of the novels Demons, Crawlers, Wetbones, A Splendid Chaos, and the Bram Stoker Award-winning story collection Black Butterflies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585422878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585422876
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brett J. Trout on May 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
The depth and complexity of Gurdjieff's teachings simply do not easily lend themselves to explanation. While there are many books on Gurdjieff which detail his complex philosophies, they require basic level of understanding of the Gurdjieff to understand them. Until now, that basic level of understanding could only be achieved through years of research. For the first time, this introduction is available in a single book. Gurdjieff: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas is the seminal stepping stone toward all other Gurdjieff teachings. The clarity and charisma with which Mr. Shirley wields his pen, place this work apart from all other explanations of Gurdjieff and his teachings. Most of these other books, while indeed enlightening, are a true labor to digest. Mr. Shirley's book stands in stark contrast to these difficult reads. Without eschewing detail, Mr. Shirley enlightens and entertains with his splendid introduction. Finally, a definitive background on Gurdjieff and his philosophies, you will not want to put down.
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By Harun on August 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although I am not new in the "Work", it is always very stimulating to come across a nice and well written literary work about such a man as Mr Gurdjieff, or simply G. No matter how much deep we dig into our selves, to me at least, this man still stand above us in his sharp and compassionate view of our own possibilities. In reading Mr Shirley book, one gets the feeling and the atmosphere of those first years of the "work", in a time where the world was (like today!), very much immersed in deep sleep (wars...).

But I do have one little piece of criticism, nothing that denegrates the work itself, but an attitude commom among orthodox Gurdjieff followers. That is, the subtle negativity directed towards Mr Ouspensky. One can feel that throgought the book, and it is my belief that the work (or Mr G) does not need anyone defending its purity, or making sure everyone undertands that Mr G was really THE TEACHER.

Other than this minor mistake (in my view, of course), the book is very pleasent to read and well structured. I do recommend.
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By A Customer on May 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book knows the real Gurdjieff teaching (some groups out there are a bit mixed up). THe book has received very good reviews in Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal and elsewhere. It's objective, it's not promotional, and it criticizes Gurdjieff, evenhandedly, as well as setting out his very important teaching.
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By A Customer on May 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
The author manages to make some extremely complicated ideas as clear as any introduction can make them and does so in a highly readable manner. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the teachings of Gurdjieff, knows nothing of them, or is already acquainted with his ideas, reading this book will be a rewarding experience. Gurdjieff has always been a controversial figure, but he founded no religion and neither have his followers, but those with an interest in religion, spirituality, philosophy, or just looking for an interesting biography of a fascinating chracter.
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Format: Paperback
John Shirley has written an invaluable biography of the philosopher and mystic G.I. Gurdjieff. His writing is clear and incisive, and he gives the reader a very good sense of the man, "warts and all."

Gurdjieff was a very difficult man to be around, according to those who were his students and companions. He relentlessly strove to shake people from their "dream" and get them to see reality. While he had many faults, he also had a compelling vision of what humans were and could become.

I would recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to study Gurdjieff or Ouspensky in depth, before they take on the original material. Gurdjieff's writing style is very difficult, while Ouspensky is much clearer, conveying the same general orientation. Shirley's book will help clarify the distinctions, and give a good overview of the body of Gurdjieff's thought.
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Format: Paperback
Author John Shirley has written a clear and compelling overview of the life, ideas and teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff. Shirley clarifies that this book is just an introductory piece, and points to other works, including Ouspensky's <i>In Search of the Miraculous</i>, which Shirley describes as the authoritative explanation of the Gurdjieff Work, insofar as a book can do justice to Gurdjieff's teachings, which are said to be experiential rather than intellectual. However I think he's too modest; he's clearly devoted subtantial careful research and consideration to his complex subject. I highly recommend this book - even if you've never heard of Gurdjieff, it's a great read.
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