Overview

Garrison Keillor meets Jack Kerouac meets Mahatma Gandhi in this wry, roadwise scripture. Hobo Sapien is a series of freight train parables born out of the author's twelve-plus years riding freight trains, combined with lessons learned in his seven-year stint as a Self-Realization Fellowship monk, plus the added bonus of fascinating railroad history. Non-fiction readers buy books to learn something, for reference, or to be entertained. Hobo Sapien fills all three bills. Readers will get a unique immersion into ...
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HOBO SAPIEN: Freight Train Hopping Tao and Zen

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Overview

Garrison Keillor meets Jack Kerouac meets Mahatma Gandhi in this wry, roadwise scripture. Hobo Sapien is a series of freight train parables born out of the author's twelve-plus years riding freight trains, combined with lessons learned in his seven-year stint as a Self-Realization Fellowship monk, plus the added bonus of fascinating railroad history. Non-fiction readers buy books to learn something, for reference, or to be entertained. Hobo Sapien fills all three bills. Readers will get a unique immersion into the underground world of the hobo. The spiritual takes are written with a subtle humor that helps the medicine go down. It is not your parent's self-help book. Armchair adventurers, rail fans, spiritual seekers, and academia nuts will all gather intriguing information from this missive. It is vastly different from other hobo books because of its unparalleled combination of adventure, rail history, humor, and spirituality. The author's background is also unique and varied. Not many hobos have gone from Yale to rail or from hunk to monk.

REVIEW BY MARTY SHAW:
Wayne Iverson lives an interesting life. He didn't become a hobo because of any misfortune, but to satisfy an unfulfilled sense of adventure. He later became a monk because of a similar desire to learn more about the spiritual side of life. These two seemingly different paths converge to transform him into a `hobo sapien.' According to Iverson, `hobo sapien' means wise hobo and he explains that both hobos and mystics lessen their material desires. While mystics do it to focus on their souls, hobos do it to experience freedom. Iverson further explains that there are two types of freedom - freedom without responsibility and the type of freedom we should all try to achieve, freedom with responsibility - doing what we ought to do when we ought to do it.

The author's adventures are mixed with life lessons learned while hopping trains but the entertainment value is never over-ridden by any type of preaching. The types of moral lessons tucked within the pages can best be described with an example from the chapter titled "The Headless Hobo," where he describes the time that he stood up on a boxcar while facing the caboose. He noticed that his shoe was untied so he kneeled down to tie it. Mere seconds after stooping down, the train went under a low bridge. Lesson learned?

"When riding a freight train, it's extremely important to know what's going in front of you. Looking backwards can be hazardous to your health. It's like nostalgia. It faces you toward the caboose of life. The good old days were rarely that special. Live in the present and face forward or life might just knock your block off."

In addition to the rail-riding tales and the small doses of spiritual insight, Iverson's stories also provide a brief history of the various rail systems that stretch across the terrain. In telling the history of the railroad, he also provides a history of the land and some of the events that shaped it.

"Hobo Sapien: Freight Train Hopping from Tao to Zen" is a fun book to read that offers just the right amounts of spirituality, history, and hobo adventure. No one part overpowers the other so the reading remains light, entertaining, and informative all at the same time. Those who enjoy light-hearted non-fiction adventure, spiritual zen-like lessons taught through life stories, or the history of the American West will find this book especially enjoyable.
Marty Shaw, Austin, TX - Amazon Review
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Editorial Reviews

Bill Cruz
I LOVED YOUR BOOK!!!!! Anything else I might say would only be redundant, after the comments the students wrote (pp 122-126), but when I first heard about your experiences on the rails, I knew there was great potential for sharing an enlightened perspective...and your book doesn't disappoint. Great format, great content!"
Ricahrd Blake
Wayne Iverson’s “Hobo Sapien” surpasses other “hobo books” with an incomparable blending of death defying escapades, rail stories of yesteryear, wittiness and self realization.
Fascininating incidents teken from Iverson's over 12 years of riding freight trains... I especially appreciated the moments when surprises popped up in unexpected punch lines to bring home a spiritual truth.
Brilliant, entertaining, informative, and often hilarious.
Tom Boyd
From title to conclusion, I find this book worth reading. It was informative. It stimulated my interest in Wayne’s singularly curious way of living in this mad age. It assured me of the primacy of the spiritual life in the midst of even the most ordinary and the most novel ways of construing life. It possesses a wit, which I repeatedly found to be a delight.
Tom Massey
There is some great material here and the potential for a highly popular book. I found it to be fun reading, insightful, and provocative, with vivid descriptions of how to do a number of things we never had the nerve to try. I really liked the format — the short narrative chapters, each accompanied by a succinct moral point, make for easy access and delivery of a poignant message.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013198166
  • Publisher: Reed, Robert D. Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,167,878
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Born in WI, raised in MN, Wayne was the doubless All-American boy — high school class president, A student, All-American in football. Destiny's course took him to Yale University, but he had an identity crisis and "Wiffenpoof," he was gone. He started to roam and hop frieght trains. Wayne fully recovered from his Yale experiences and eventually graduated from The Evergreen Stage College in Olympia, WA with a degree in Environmental Studies and Land Use Planning. He became a city planner in western ski areas, and then went monastic for seven years to find the best environment in which to meditate.
Wayn'es qualifications to write this book are obvious from the text itself — twelve years of extensive rail riding and seven years as a monk. He has won two writing contests. A hobo and a children's story were produced for community radio in aspen, CO. A comedy called Tnenitis was produced for the Five-Minute Play Festival in Aspen, CO. A non-satirical parody of Father Thomas Keating's work called Night of Sense of umor was performed in Denver and in Boston. Chasing Messiahs, a stage play, was converted into a screen play. Wayne has developed a detailed step outline and back stories for either a TV series or triloty of films based on Hobo Sapien. He is working on a stage play called Wanda Wakes thata gives a hopo perspective from the point of a view of a wife who was left behind.
Wayne is an entertaining speaker, having given numerous talks, sermons, and workshops in Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas, and natural history tours in Alaska. He is married and divides his time between Alaska, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    To Be Crowned "King of the Hobo's - Self Realization - or Intriguing Adventure

    Wayne Iverson's "Hobo Sapien" surpasses other "hobo books" with an incomparable blending of death defying escapades, rail stories of yesteryear, wittiness and self realization. Fascinating incidents taken from Iverson's over 12 years of riding freight trains and unique lessons learned from his seven years as a practicing monk fill the pages of this captivating missive. I especially appreciated the moments when surprises popped up in unexpected punch lines to bring home a spiritual truth. I also enjoyed the artwork and photographs which depict Wayne's journey as a Yalie, and Evergreener, a monk, and practicing yoga poses done on freight trains. "Hobo Sapien" will attract readers who enjoy various genres, from adventure, railroad history, spirituality, and humor. Brilliant, entertaining, informative, and often hilarious.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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