The Dude and the Zen Master

Jeff Bridges, Author, Bernie Glassman, Author
Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. Blue Rider, $26.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-399-16164-3
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 01/01/2013
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-101-60075-7
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-593-07234-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-14-218052-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-130-6
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4481-6907-8
Paperback - 271 pages - 978-0-552-16955-4
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Actor Bridges engages in a philosophical dialogue with friend and Zen master Glassman, an aeronautical engineer and mathematician in his early years, for an easy, fun read that poses some serious questions. The presentation is light-hearted and analogies are frequent; in discussing a fear of taking action, Glassman invokes "Joe, the centipede with a hundred legs, trying to figure out which leg to move first." Later, Glassman recommends a musical approach to dealing with change: "Bear witness to the voices and the instruments—whether it's a jazz band or life—and then move with them, flow with them, because in life you're always in a band and you're always swinging." The Zen influence means a lot of nature imagery, with "Leaves turning, flowers popping open, rain falling on a leaf," but it's not cheap spirituality. Both men are involved in programs to promote peace and defeat hunger and they share stories of community artists, Holocaust survivors, and even Bridges's long-time stand-in. Recognizing that frustration results from expectations, they say, "Work with whatever you have and make something beautiful." Lest it all get too lofty, Glassman recalls his judo master's advice: "When you get into trouble, the best judo defense is to run." (Jan.)
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