Jonathan Livingston Seagull

( 130 )

Overview

People who make their own rules when they know they're right...people who get a special pleasure out of doing something well (even if only for themselves)...people who know there's more to this whole living thing than meets the eye: they'll be with Jonathan Seagull all the way. Others may simply escape into a delightful adventure about freedom and flight. Either way it's an uncommon treat.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. He believes it is every ...

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Overview

People who make their own rules when they know they're right...people who get a special pleasure out of doing something well (even if only for themselves)...people who know there's more to this whole living thing than meets the eye: they'll be with Jonathan Seagull all the way. Others may simply escape into a delightful adventure about freedom and flight. Either way it's an uncommon treat.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. He believes it is every gull's right to fly, to reach the ultimate freedom of challenge and discovery, finding his greatest reward in teaching younger gulls the joy of flight and the power of dreams. The special 20th anniversary release of this spiritual classic!

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Editorial Reviews

Ray Bradbury
Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me Flight. He makes me young.
From the Publisher
Ernest K. Gann This book is a new and valuable citizen in that very wondrous world ruled by St.-Exupéry's Little Prince. I suspect all of us who visit the worlds of Jonathan Seagull will never want to return.

Ray Bradbury Richard Bach with this book
does two things.
He gives me Flight.
He makes me Young.
For both I am deeply grateful.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743278904
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 1/3/2006
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 38,221
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Bach, a former USAF pilot, gypsy barnstormer, and airplane mechanic, is the author of fifteen books. This, his fourth book, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and has continued to inspire millions for decades. His website is RichardBach.com.

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Read an Excerpt

It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea.

A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water, and the word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food. it was another busy day beginning.

But way off alone, out by himself beyond boat and shore, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was practicing. A hundred feet in the sky he lowered his webbed feet, lifted his beak, and strained to hold a painful hard twisting curve through his wings. The curve meant that he would fly slowly, and now he slowed until the wind was a whisper in his face, until the ocean stood still beneath him. He narrowed his eyes in fierce concentration, held his breath, forced one . . . single . . . more . . . inch . . . of . . . curve. . . . Then his feathers ruffled, he stalled and fell.

Seagulls, as you know, never falter never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor.

But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve—slowing, slowing, and stalling once more—was no ordinary bird.

Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight—how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly.

This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one's self popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides,experimenting.

He didn't know why, for instance, but when he flew at altitudes less than half his wingspan above the water, he could stay in the air longer, with less effort. His glides ended not with the usual feet-down splash into the sea, but with a long flat wake as he touched the surface with his feet tightly streamlined against his body. When he began sliding in to feet-up landings on the beach, then pacing the length of his slide in the sand, his parents were very much dismayed indeed.

"Why, Jon, why?" his mother asked. "Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can't you leave low flying to the pelicans, the albatross? Why don't you eat? Son, you're bone and feathers!"

I don't mind being bone and feathers, mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can't, that's all. I just want to know."

"See here, Jonathan," said his father, not unkindly. "Winter isn't far away. Boats will be few, and the surface fish will be swimming deep. If you must study, then study food, and how to get it. This flying business is all very well, but you can't eat a glide, you know. Don't you forget that the reason you fly is to eat."

Jonathan nodded obediently. For the next few days he tried to behave like the other gulls; he really tried, screeching and fighting with the flock around the piers and fishing boats, diving on scraps of fish and bread. But he couldn't make it work.

It's all so pointless, he thought, deliberately dropping a hard-won anchovy to a hungry old gull chasing him. I could be spending all this time learning to fly. There's so much to learn!

It wasn't long before Jonathan Gull was off by himself again, far out at sea, hungry, happy, learning.

The subject was speed, and in a week's practice he learned more about speed than the fastest gull alive.

From a thousand feet, flapping his wings as hard as he could, he pushed over into a blazing steep dive toward the waves, and learned why seagulls don't make blazing steep powerdives. In just six seconds he was moving seventy miles per hour, the speed at which one's wing goes unstable on the upstroke.

Time after time it happened. Careful as he was, working at the very peak of his ability, he lost control at high speed.

Climb to a thousand feet. Full power straight ahead first, then push over, flapping, to a vertical dive. Then, every time, his left wing stalled on an upstroke, he'd roll violently left, stall his right wing recovering, and flick like fire into a wild tumbling spin to the right.

He couldn't be careful enough on that upstroke. Ten times he tried, and all ten times, as he passed through seventy miles per hour, he burst into a churning mass of feathers, out of control, crashing down into the water.

The key, he thought at last, dripping wet, must be to hold the wings still at high speedsto flap up to fifty and then hold the wings still.

From two thousand feet he tried again, rolling into his dive, beak straight down, wings full out and stable from the moment he passed fifty miles per hour. It took tremendous strength, but it worked. in ten seconds he had blurred through ninety miles per hour. Jonathan had set a world speed record for seagulls!

But victory was short-lived. The instant he began his pullout, the instant he changed the angle of his wings, he snapped into that same terrible uncontrolled disaster, and at ninety miles per hour it hit him like dynamite. Jonathan Seagull exploded in midair and smashed down into a brick-hard sea.

When he came to, it was well after dark, and he floated in moonlight on the surface of the ocean. His wings were ragged bars of lead, but the weight of failure was even heavier on his back. He wished, feebly, that the weight could be just enough to drag him gently down to the bottom, and end it all.

As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow voice sounded within him. There's no way around it. I am a seagull. I am limited by my nature. If I were meant to learn so much about flying, I'd have charts for brains. I I were mean to fly at speed, I'd have a falcon's short wings, and live on mice instead of fish.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 130 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(90)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(8)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 131 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2004

    Illuminative!

    When I was a child, young and disenchanted with the world, my father told me to read this book. Since then, I have been on an everlasting journey, discovering more everyday. Each day brings me to a new plateau of understanding. After my father died, I grieved and continue to this day. But, I remember this book, and I know that my father is simply soaring to greater heights.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Jonathan Livingston SEagull

    I read this book as a young girl and when my son was in 3rd grade I read it to him. He loved the book. Now he is 12 and he picked this book to buy for the Chritmas Tree gift to give to a 12 year old boy. It is a book enjoyed by all ages even adults. You don't find many books like this. Highly recommended for everyone!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    Best and Easiest Book I Have Ever Read.

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull
    Jonathan Livingston Seagull a story by Richard Bach is a fantasy story about a seagull who learns the lessons of life and learns how to over come the challenges of life.
    Jonathan Livingston Seagull is of course a seagull, who wants to learn to fly better and faster. Sullivan is another seagull who is an instructor up high in the sky. Chiang is an old wise seagull that is going to move to "another world" soon.
    Jonathan was almost always high in the sky from day to night. Due to this he slept very little and got very tired. He's seen the beautiful sunset and sunrise every day for a very long time. Due to his love of the sky, he's on land very, very little.
    The author is trying to say you can live your life, as you want to live it. The lesson is you can achieve any goal that you choose to pursue. You should follow the path that suits your life. Courage and hard work is how to find out what the true meaning of life is. He wanted to fly to terminal velocity and/or better and faster. He practiced and was trained by the best of the best trainers in the sky.
    First Jonathan introduced himself as a seagull who wanted to fly better and faster and he was not doing his job in the flock. Since he was not doing his job in the flock he got kicked out. Even though he was banished from the flock, he kept practicing on how to fly better and faster. He was then chosen to be a one out of a million seagull to go to a different world that they labeled "heaven". Then he was taught by better trainers high in the sky. After that he flew back down to "his world" and trained the outcast's that wanted to also fly better and faster just like him. By the time this all passed by he learned the lesson of life.
    In my way of looking at things is that whoever reads this book will always have a different way at looking at anything and everything. I never disliked any part of the book; I liked reading every single part of it. The story was a little hard to believe just because it was fantasy, but other then that it wasn't confusing at all. The story was predicable every now and then, but not all the time. To me the ending of this book was awesome, but you have to read the book for yourself to know what it was. I myself would rate this five stars from one to five; one being scraping the dead rat off the ceiling and don't even ask me how it got up there and five being totally awesome.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003

    Seagull Dirty Bird

    The road to Hell is paved with plots like this. This meaningless tale is drivel disquised as self-enlightening spam. In the end it is junk mail for the mind. Some time ago the writer of this book, an out of work hippie whose royalties of this title have long since been squandered away, was featured in a People Magazine article; not surprisingly, this ex-hophead, has not been able to make any meangiful contribution to society since the printing of this book. It should have long since sunk into his thick hipster skull that one would have to be on some pretty interesting medication to find any sense of self-purpose in suck bland pablum as was served up by this lack luster tale. Any one who needs a story like Jonathan Livingston Seagull to find their self-worth needs to adjust their meds, and I mean big time. Do yourself a favor and skip this book, hunt down a seagull instead as it will be time better spent.

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Cool Book

    A fun & interesting story of seagulls, one in particular, with metaphysical meaning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    Quick read that makes you think

    Love this book. It is one of my favorites of all time. It is something you can read in an hour but can leave you thinking about it for years to come.
    Perfect book to bring to the beach!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Good book

    I read this book in a day and it was really helpful to me it may seem like a short book but it really has a good meaning to it. When i first read it i thought that this was really not a very good book but when i read it again and i really thought about it i came to decide that it has a much deeper meaning than what i thought. It reminds us that the body that we see and the things that we can do are only thoughts. Our limitations are there because we think they are. If we remind ourselves that we have no limitations and that we truly are free than we will have no limits we can do anything if we only belive that it is possible. I think that this is really true and i recommend this book for all poeple and all ages.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2006

    Very Inspirational Book

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull is an inspirational story about a seagull that has a passion to learn to fly. Jonathan never worried about what the others thought of him. He became an outcast and was banned from the flock, but he still didn¿t stop believing. He never pushed through all limits. He made the impossible possible. He was determined to reach every goal, and succeeded. Jonathan was hungry for perfection. Perfection isn¿t impossible if you put your mind to it. This simple creature became perfect. He learned to take control of his own mind instead of letting his mind control him, instead of letting the others tell him that the average speed of a seagull is whatever, he refused to believe he could be like the rest. He had to be better than the rest. He had to be the best, fastest, highest flying seagull God had ever created. There are many themes that the book has. One theme is to not let others worry about you. Another theme is if you could put your mind to it, you could achieve anything. If you don¿t stop believing, anything is possible. Don¿t be limited by anything. If there is a plateau blocking your path, push through it. If you read this book more than once, you will find a different theme each time. This book can especially inspire you if you are in sports, or if you are just trying to reach a personal goal. This book also shows the outlook on life in the 1960¿s and 1970¿s. It contains references to life, religion, and freedom. Jonathan believed every bird should be free and have a right to life and freedom. This book was great. I would recommend this book to all ages, but it could be understood easier by teenagers and young adults.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Johnny my homeboy

    Bach in this novel creates an easily indentifiable protagonist which is what makes the story the huge success that it is. The parallels between self expression and learning to fly are found throughout the piece and are what makes the book so intriguing. The religious undertones are vague enough to be interpreted in all religious sects and denominations. I would encourage any and everyone to delve into the spirits of flying and become young again with 'Johnny my homeboy'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    I liked it very much

    Bach's parable is an interesting read. It is very representative of the outer body mentality of the 1960s and 70s. I found it to be inspirational and insightful. It was a very quick read yet it was packed full of deep thoughts and questions that are relevant to all ages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2002

    Excellent -- Uplifting!

    All I can say about this book is what it has done for me. I read this book when I was 11 years old (I am now 32) and it definitely changed my way of viewing the world, the afterlife, and why we are here and born to this earth. Jonathon Livingston Seagull is a philosophy, and, as simple as it is, it is very profound. To this day and as long as I live, I am still learning, I am still reading spiritual books, I can still read Jonathon and get something out of it and I still recommend it to people. That, I think says a lot for this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2002

    awakening of the soul

    I picked up Jonathan Livingston Seagull on a whim, because it had something to do with a school project and because my sister suggested it. Little did I know the powerful book I held in my hands. I read this story in only thirty minutes, but it was enough time to change my life. The amazing imagery and allegories, depicted in such simple prose, create a book of beauty and inspiration. It resounds with clear, meaningful messages, about ignorance and heaven and freedom, and no doubt any reader can find a few messages of their own. I can hardly wait to read this book again and again and again. Jonathon Livingston Seagull shall remain a part of my spirit in the many days to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2000

    This book opened my mind at age 8.....I am now 34!

    My mother claims I was 6! Not sure about that, but I distinctly recall the wonderment I felt, it was the first time ever that I'd been given a view of spirituality that was different than the ingrained fable of heaven and hell that I'd taken for granted in my young life. This book inspired me to keep searching for the meanings behind the words, to look for the POINT embedded in an old lesson. I read it many times up until my teen years, when the book was lost. I've recently gotten online, and one of the first things I did was to order 5 copies, a hardcover for me, and 4 paperbacks for others, one of whom is my 11 yr-old nephew. He gave it rave reviews, his eyes were bright, he said it was 'awesome!' I asked, 'Awesome in what way?' With his usual reserve, he said, 'All ways!'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    u 19 41 19 14 2

    I like sex

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    A short, beautiful read.

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull is about a gull who is different than his comrades. Instead of being content with searching for food all day, he occupies himself with flight. He wants to fly faster, and further. Despite the obstacles placed before him by biology and his brethren, Jonathan persists to reach a level of perfection obtained by a select few gulls.

    Illustrated with pictures of gulls, this short book is a must read for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Love this book

    A must read for anyone facing a rite of passage as well as a strife.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Excellent!

    Excellent!

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    I found this book lying on the ground one day during lunch perio

    I found this book lying on the ground one day during lunch period when I was in middle school in the 70's. I looked for an owner, but found none. After reading it I couldn't help but believe I was intended to find it, as nonsensical as I knew it sounded (I'm an engineer today and know the meaning people often attach to mere coincidence).

    It's astonishing that such a novelette -- almost a short story -- can affect people's lives so deeply. But that is the experience of many, including me, upon reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull. As an adult I realize the basic framework surrounding JLS and the message it delivers exists in many other stories, many of themancient. But since this was my first exposure, it impacted me the most.

    I've owned at least half a dozen paperback copies of the book over the years, usually "loaning" it someone hoping they will enjoy it, too.

    Assuming I don't lose this digital book, it should be the last copy I have to buy for myself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Test

    Sierra

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Inspiring

    I read this book and it was great i read it many times probably a great book too pass down to your children

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