Book Reviews of some priceless books..!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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"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.".... This was one of the few lines that I read in a book review sometime back and it took to me high on the motivation peak to say that nothing is unachievable.Well, let me tell you something ,I was never into reading books that promoted confidence building techniques or personality development because I believe that its all in own's own self and needs to bloom out with our actions.But,this book delves into something really different from all general books and it says , it is "To the real Jonathan Livingston Seagull,who lives within us all"-- that implies that just believe in yourself that you can do it and no wall or pebble can stop you from reaching the zenith.Lets walk back to the historical memory lanes to explore the origin of this fabulous book:

Des Moines,Iowa,July2-John H. Livingston, was the man who inspired the best selling novel "Jonathan Livingston Seagull".

Johnny Livingston , as he was known ,moved many years ago from Iowa to Florida.He was one of the country's top pilots during the batnstorming days of the nineteen-twenties and thirties. From 1928 through 1933,Mr. Livingston won 79 first places,43 seconds and 15 thirds in 139 races throughout the country,many of them at Cleveland.He won first place and $13,910 in 1928 in a cross-country race from New York.He was a man who used to enjoy every moment of his life with the passion in his eyes and that sparked his immense success in all his ventures.Richard Bach,a former Iowa Air Guard pilot, has said his best selling book about a free wheeling seagull was inspired by Mr. Livingston.
Well, the storyline below will hint you on how can you solve tough problems and achieve goals in the rugged terrain and also on how do you make a race of your own that marches to success by motivating others as well.Also, you will get to know the ways to setting goals, not giving up, and being determined to overcome all obstacles to reach those goals.
This book narrates the story of seagulls that relates human life. 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 was the seagull who was unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve - slowing, slowing, and stalling once more - he was no ordinary bird. Its the general nature of the that they 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, that he found,was, not the way to make one's self popular with other birds;infact it was something that drifted the seagull community to go against his thoughts. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting. But,Jonathan Liviing seagull loved freeedom and was not a normal seagull like the outcast.He always wanted to learn how to fly better even in the difficult of all situations but the rest of the flock never felt that as important.
The elders of his flock inform him in no uncertain terms that a seagull only needs to fly well enough to feed himself, that flying is not the point of being a seagull. But Jonathan rebels against the proscribed ambitions of the other gulls; he yearns to explore the boundaries of flight. As he continues to test these limits, the Flock expels him, but eventually a group of younger gulls join him in his quest and together they transcend their seagullness.
The message of the book is perhaps best expressed in the epigraph above and in a conversation between Jonathan and Elder Chiang:
"Chiang, this world isn't heaven at all, is it?"
The Elder smiled in the moonlight. "You are learning again, Jonathan Seagull," he said.
"Well what happens from here? Where are we going? Is there no such place as heaven?"
"No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.

The author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull, tries to convey the fact that "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight." Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a story about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening. (At one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock.) By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness.
So, as you must have got the hint by now---Seagull Jonathan Livingston aims not to be the ordinary, but to be the ordinary extraordinary. He is not satisfied with his restricted norm of life, but aims higher. He wants to fly, fly the perfect drop,achieve great heights and master it to perfection. Of course being different is a sin to his flock. He becomes the outcast, but that doesn't let down his moral. In his quest for the flight he attains heavens and he meets his old friend who teaches him the essence of flying.To his friend and himself, flying perfect was not about flying, but knowing it to the fullest. However he is still not at peace because he wanted the rest of the flock to pursue the same dream. He met his equals, who were against him and yet within time he could overcome all of them because of his desire to fly perfect. In his quest for the supreme learning to perfection, he flies back to the flock.

He sees that there are several Seagulls who now want to fly like him. He becomes their teacher and promptly all of them become outcast again by the rest of the community. Still, more Seagulls followed him as their teacher,and this was something great that was taking shape--especially the zeal! He becomes a messiah for those students, however hard he tries to fight it saying he is only a learner. In due course of time when he feels that his time to serve his friends had ended, and he had succeeded in making at least some Seagulls see the possibilities of life, and that his subordinate friend could take up the job, he decides to fly back to his old friend.His reluctant friend doesnt like the idea of taking up God's job, but Jonathan could convince him to smile with acceptance.
What sets this book apart is its simplicity in conveying the thoughts on life. Like the author says in the beginning that the book is to the real Jonathan living within us, it does force you to introspect. Limiting ourselves is the worst thing in the world we can do. But the one who challenges limits is the one whom the society rejects and yet it turns out that the one is one whom others follow.
We are too scared to let ourselves go. We are too scared to challenge ourselves. Most of the time we need that secluded cloud of society on us to feel safe. Out of society we are most likely to cripple down and break.
Only the brave few make it and they become the God figure who inspires you to look beyond the possibilities.Its only faith which stops us ,so start working on that ,what say??
Learning is finding out what you already know
Doing is demonstrating that you know it..!
Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you...!
You are all learners, doers, teachers...!

Do get your copy of the book soon...and post ur comments :)


Blogger Chinmay said...

The possibilities are endless if one sits back and ponders..! The way the arguments 'n' opinions stated have been solidified is very impressive. Seems everyone
can relate to and take an interest in the story of "Seagull" !!

Keep posting buddy...!

Monday, 16 October, 2006


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