Rated Reads

The Dude and the Zen Master

by Jeff Bridges

Rated: High

The thing I like most about this book — and what drew me to it in the first place — is the title. I liked that they’re playing off of The Big Lebowski and Bridges’ role in it. I like the thought of the Dude as a Zen master. I also like the notion of Jeff Bridges as the Dude and Bernie Glassman as the Zen master the Dude is bouncing ideas off.

Up front: this book is exactly what it claims to be: a conversation between Jeff and Bernie. Nothing more.

Unfortunately, that’s a  problem for the reader. Although we get some of Bridges’ history — his childhood, his marriage, his acting — it’s mostly just a long, winding conversation about whatever strikes the fancy of these two men. Which can be interesting, sometimes. They riff (best word, that) on Zen, The Dude, Buddhism, acting, activism, love, music, politics.

What it’s not is linear. And (for me at least), that mattered a great deal. I think they tried to have everything tie into something Meaningful, but it just didn’t work as a whole. So I took to reading it in small chunks, which made it work better. I’d read until I got tired of their circular discussion (and honestly, of Bridges: he talks a lot — either that or Bernie is just a great listener — and he doesn’t always make sense) and then put the book down for a few days.

In the end, it wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t terrific either. I’m going to be Zen about it, though, and just accept it and move on.

It’s what they would have wanted.

Rated: High for many, many f-bombs. Jeff Bridges has a foul mouth.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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dude and zen
  • The Dude and the Zen Master
  • by Jeff Bridges
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: