Happy Wednesday, ladies! I hope you all are having a wonderful week so far! For today’s post I want to talk about another book I read recently, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I actually read it before I left for Peru, finishing it on the way to the airport. It only took about 4 days to read so it’s quite short. However, for such a short book, it is incredibly well written and filled with advice and inspiration.
JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL
Richard Bach’s Johnathan Livingston Seagull is an aviation classic. It was one of the books that made my dad want to dedicate his life to aviation. So it was very sentimental for me to read, because I share the same love. And after reading, I understand why.
If you’re not a pilot, this is a great book. But if you are, it’s something more. Bach manages to make the rote mechanics of flying sound whimsical and magical. He builds the image in your mind and is able to replicate the feeling in you of that first flight that made you want it so bad. And what’s amazing is he makes you relate to seagull. The idea that the pilot is one with the plane is entirely embodied in the character of Jonathan.
But not only pilots read this blog, so I have to talk about Jonathan as a role model in general. And he is. He is the perfect kind of role model. He is not a god, he is not perfect, and he struggles to learn, stay motivated, and fight doubt just like we all do. Because it is such a short book, he progresses from novice to expert quite quickly, but if you pay attention to the details in the story you can see how it takes him ages to reach expert. And then after he thinks he has learned all that there is to learn, Jonathan finds out that there is still more. It’s just like real life, and he copes with it like a champ. Truly, Jonathan is one of the most inspiring fictional characters I’ve ever seen.
- Pgs. 11-15: Jonathan wanted to give up. He didn’t think he could take it anymore and he decided to join the flock. But his mind drifted, as it will when you are passionate about something that you know is right, and he came back to his flying. I like this part because it reminds me that those nagging feelings and passions that don’t go away are always worth pursuing.
- Pgs. 36-27: All of Jonathan’s practice paid off. Despite being shunned and his values dismissed, he pursued his goals and he finally found his people. This is so important because sometimes the people around us can bring us down, even if we love them. But if we ignore the negativity and continue to focus and persevere, we will both succeed and find our people who want to see us succeed.
- Pg. 45: Alright, the aviatrix in me loves this part for one reason: it embodies the core piece of advice that every pilot should live by. “You must begin by knowing you have already arrived.” But this is a good piece of advice for anyone working on a project or even just driving somewhere. As a pilot, before you take off you should know exactly what to expect at every step to your destination. You should have thought out everything you must do all the way up until landing at your destination. It keeps you organized, and it keeps you safe. Outside of aviation though, by breaking down all the steps that will lead you to your end destination, you can keep yourself easily on track, on time, and unstressed.
- Pgs. 62-63: Jonathan was motivated not just to learn as much as possible, but to turn around and inspire and teach those who hurt him. He didn’t turn his back on his community, but instead shared his knowledge with any who would listen. This is exceptionally important because too often those who have acquired knowledge turn their backs on those who want to learn. There’s no way anyone became an expert simply by their own merit, in a vacuum, not even fictional Jonathan. So I think it’s important to always pay it forward, to learn, and then to teach.
- To be honest, it was WAY difficult to only pick a few favorite parts. My notes are full of more that I love, so this is just a sampling. But the book is full of rich inspiration.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Unlike the last two books I talked about (and more like the first one), this is definitely more of a niche book. If you have any interest in aviation whatsoever, then yes, read Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Richard Bach is probably the most recognized author, and this book is one of the most recognized books, in the aviation industry.
Aside from that small group of people, if you just want something short and whimsical, but not too fluffy, this book is wonderful. Bach carefully constructs a very technical sort of whimsy that is different from anything I’ve ever read before and is quite enjoyable.
I would also recommend this book for kids or for you to read to your kids. The language is really simple and Jonathan is a very inspiring character. The moral of the story is so powerful. It can and should be read over and over again. And it would be excellent for focusing on certain positive attributes and personifying them into a character that kids will want to be like.
What do you think, would you read Jonathan Livingston Seagull? And who is your most inspiring fictional character?