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Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine Hardcover – December 5, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Throughout this marvelously entertaining journey, precious and universal truths emerge amid the churning of Weiner's self-conscious intellect and self-deprecating sense of humor. Weiner manages to suspend disbelief long enough to share tales of divine wonders, a possibility in all of us."―Booklist (Starred Review)

"Book of the month... Much of the power of this pilgrimage comes from the characters Weiner encounters-informed, impassioned, and idiosyncratic guides who lead the ever-questioning, ever-doubting author on a magical mystery tour that illuminates our inner and outer paths."―National Geographic Traveler

"I came to Eric Weiner's MAN SEEKS GOD looking for a fight. But in the end, I didn't find the fight I was looking for; instead, I found an affable, candid, deeply thoughtful, sometimes ironic and funny soul, with whom I shared certain similarities.... In the end, despite my proclivity for theological fisticuffs, Mr. Weiner's candor and thoughtfulness were entirely disarming. Whereas some people spend a lifetime searching for their god, Mr. Weiner's whirlwind speed-dating of deities is a thing to behold. I came to admire Mr. Weiner's tenacity and verve, trotting off to places I'll likely never go -- at least not for the same reasons -- pursuing and spending long hours with the kinds of people I'll likely only meet in passing, all in an effort to better understand the world and himself and to 'find his God.'"―Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"Winsome, self-deprecating humor marks every page."
Publishers Weekly

"Well-researched, informative and engaging, MAN SEEKS GOD is packed with facts and wisdom that, regardless of which God you root for, will leave what a Buddhist friend of Weiner's calls 'Post-it Notes on the brain.'"
Washington Post

"It is not so much the various religions and religious practices examined that make MAN SEEKS GOD compelling, but the people Weiner encounters and spends time with as he travels around the world in search of something to fill the proverbial 'God shaped hole.'...[an] honest and neurotic, generally entertaining book."―Bookreporter.com

"Writing about spirituality is fraught with ironies: Isn't the divine supposed to be beyond words? How to describe the inner landscape without sounding insane or precious? Eric Weiner's quirky religion-hopping travelogue, MAN SEEKS GOD actually embraces these pitfalls, while poking good-natured fun at the genre.... a refreshing departure from more weighty spiritual tomes."
San Francisco Chronicle

"In a time when many religious people insist only their own faith is valid, Weiner traveled the world in a quest for answers to spiritual questions.... Not taking himself (or others) too seriously, Weiner's travels take him to Turkey, where he whirls, dervish-style; and Las Vegas, where he encounters Raelians, who base their beliefs on UFOs. He studies Kabbalah (without Madonna) and meditates with Tibetan lamas."―New York Post

"Books about God tend to fall into two categories: objective inquiries into the nature of belief and personal tales of spiritual awakening...Weiner's 'Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine' nimbly and often hilariously straddles the fence between the two genres....He's Woody Allen channeling Karen Armstrong."
New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Eric Weiner is author of the New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss, which has been translated into eighteen languages. A former correspondent for NPR and the New York Times, Weiner has reported from more than three dozen countries. His work has appeared in the New Republic, Slate, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The New York Times Magazine, and the anthology, Best American Travel Writing. He divides his time between Starbucks and Caribou.

Read more about Eric Weiner at www.ericweinerbooks.com


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (December 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446539473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446539470
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,087,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Danusha V. Goska on January 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Man Seeks God" is often a very superficial book on life's biggest, heaviest questions, and Eric Weiner, the book's author, is a relentlessly self-absorbed, elitist, dilettante, but that is exactly this book's charm. This is probably the only somewhat serious hardcover book that addresses Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Taoism that you could read straight through, and laugh at, during a long plane flight. This book is full of witty one-liners. A favorite: Taoism fills mankind's God-shaped hole with a hole-shaped God (220).

Weiner, your host through four thousand years of religions belief and practice, is quite the whiner. At the Second Coming, he'd obsess on his hangnail. At first I was shocked at how unabashedly self-absorbed he was, but his single-minded frankness wore me down. By the time he actually did write something serious about a spiritual experience he'd had - all the way on page 316 - I was moved.

Weiner is a very successful author and journalist who was hospitalized with a bad case of intestinal gas. (Really.) A nurse asked him if he had found his God yet. He realized he had not, and he set out looking.

I would give this book five stars instead of four if Weiner revealed any awareness of one feature of the book: his search is extraordinarily dilettantish and superficial. Others going in search of the deep truths have devoted years of sacrifice, study, and immersion. They travel far, live poor, study hard, test beliefs under the most demanding of conditions, seek teachers who themselves have inherited beliefs from generations, and lived their lessons under the toughest circumstances. None of that for Weiner.
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Format: Hardcover
Eric Weiner, self-proclaimed "gastronomical Jew" who falls somewhere nearest the atheist/agnostic end of the belief spectrum, embarks on a journey to explore religion.

The faiths he chooses to indulge range from the seemingly sublime (Buddhism and Taoism) to the ridiculous (Raelianism), with a few other odd balls (Wicca, Shamanism) and variations on old standards (Sufi Islam, Franciscan Christianity and Kabbalah Judaism) thrown in for good measure.

While there is no full-water immersion here, Weiner makes a sincere effort to dip his toes into each of these belief systems. Occasionally, he finds himself waist deep; once or twice, in over his head. That's what makes this book different and better that a mere survey of religious thought - we get the perspective of a first-hand observer who walks the walk while maintaining his objectivity and humor.

With recent studies showing that non-believers are far more informed about religion in general than are those professing a particular faith, this seems the perfect book to bridge the gaping ignorance. It's both readable and respectful.

Along with his first book, the best-selling Geography of Bliss, Weiner is defining a new, witty narrative style - more subtle, perhaps, than Bill Bryson or P.J. O'Rourke, but also frequently more substantive.
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I scanned the other reviews here as I have read rave reviews and disappointed reviews in several publications regarding this book. Happily, so far, I am with the majority in this case. If you read his previous book, I think you know what to expect and I was very happy with it. I recommended the Happiness book to nearly everyone and now I am doing the same with this new one. Yes, if you want to be a cynic, maybe none of the story set up really happened that way and he was looking for a new book idea. Personally, I don't care althought the set up is a great one all the same. I read this book expecting to be entertained (and I count myself among the Confusionists) and I was very entertained. I learned a few things about several of the world's religions and it has piqued my interest in learning more about a number of them. It has lead to numerous interesting dinner discussions with friends and I expect they will read it too. I guess I did not expect "the answer" at the conclusion of the book so I have no disappointments about how it ends. I love his writing style- self deprecating humor- and I expect I will read every book he ever writes.
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Format: Hardcover
The spiritual journey, in fiction and nonfiction, is a tried-and-true theme because religious community and spiritual experience play a large role in the lives of so many, and have for millennia. The latest author to explore this realm is Eric Weiner, whose memoir MAN SEEKS GOD is about looking for the sacred.

While in the hospital for mysterious severe abdominal pain, a nurse ominously asked him, "Have you found your God yet?" The answer was no. Rattled by the possibility of illness (it turns out he was just fine) and spooked by the question, Weiner sets out to discover a deity, or a religion in which he can find meaning and comfort. Raised a secular "gastronomical" Jew but with no emotional ties to Judaism, and wary of the term "agnostic," the world of religion was wide open to the self-proclaimed "Confusionist."

A former NPR correspondent, Weiner was comfortable traveling the world to get information and perspective, and so that is what he did. Guided by the work and biography of philosopher and psychologist William James, author of the seminal THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, Weiner takes an experiential approach to finding God. But, ever the bibliophile, his search is informed by additional thinkers and theologians such as Ghandi, Aldous Huxley, Rumi, Lao Tzu, Rilke, Paul Tillich, Isaac Luria, and many more.

Weiner begins with Islamic mysticism, Sufism. From California to Istanbul to Konya, he ponders Sufi thought and tries to spin like the Whirling Dervishes. And while he finds beauty in the practice, Islam is not for him. He next goes to Kathmandu in search of the wisdom of Buddhist meditation, studying with a guy named Wayne and circumambulating a stupa.
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