West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief

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9781596913448: West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief

After spending two years in bed with Lyme disease, Steven Kotler had lost everything: his health, his job, his girl, and, he was beginning to suspect, his mind. Kotler, not a religious man, suddenly found himself drawn to the sport of surfing as if it were the cornerstone of a new faith. Why, he wondered, when there was nothing left to believe in, could he begin to believe in something as unlikely as surfing? What was belief anyway? How did it work in the body, the brain, our culture, and human history? With the help of everyone from rebel surfers to rocket scientists, Kotler undertakes a three-year globetrotting quest. The results are a startling mix of big waves and bigger ideas: a surfer's journey into the biological underpinnings of belief itself.
Steven Kotler's novel The Angle Quickest for Flight was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and won the William L. Crawford IAFA Fantasy Award. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Discover, Outside, Details, Wired, Men's Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.
Praise for West of Jesus:
"West of Jesus is one of the smartest books ever about the sport and religion of surfing."-Los Angeles Magazine
"The ideal book for any readers who have ever asked themselves, 'How did surfing take over my life?' Kotler brings us closer to the answers via a wild, globe-trotting journey in search of surfing's much-referenced but rarely discussed spiritual side."-Los Angeles Times
"A surprisingly entertaining nonfiction account of his own spiritual quest through surfing... Kotler is often laugh-out-loud funny."-San Francisco Chronicle
"Kotler's tale starts slow and then, like a seasoned surfer calibrating his board to his ride, monumentally catches stride...Call it mysterioso or the oceanic feeling, what Kotler's seeking is nothing less than the big explanation."-Village Voice

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About the Author:

Steven Kotler's novel The Angle Quickest for Flight was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and won the William L. Crawford IAFA Fantasy Award. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, National Geographic, Details, Wired, Men's Journal, Maxim, Salon, and elsewhere. He has surfed all over the world and lives in Los Angeles, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

After surviving a battle with Lyme disease, Kotler finds himself searching for a reason to live and turns to his love of surfing. The novelist (The Angle Quickest for Flight) and journalist travels to Mexico, where he hears a story about a magical being called "the Conductor," who controls the surf. Having heard the same tale eight years earlier while surfing in Indonesia, Kotler decides to seek out the legend's source while researching the inherent mysticism of surfers and their sport. Detailing his journey and findings, Kotler creates a work that combines the most compelling elements of memoir, travelogue and scholarly abstract into an accessible tale of physical and mental adventure. Up for anything, Kotler seeks out big waves, bungee jumping and a risky helicopter ride. He also delves into far-flung topics: surfing's history, Joseph Campbell's work on myths, Jungian psychology, Zen Buddhism, government "weather modification" experiments and the religious beliefs of islanders like the Maori and Hawaiians. The book reaches its peak when Kotler focuses on the inner workings of the human brain. His reasoning of how genetic and biological factors combine with physical and emotional experiences to create the spiritual "funkytown" feeling unique to surfing is both enlightening and inspirational. (June)
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A spiritual and scientific surf quest, West of Jesus tracks a contemporary surfing myth and looks at the neuroscience that connects spirituality and high risk sport. After spending two years in bed with Lyme disease, Steven Kotler had lost everything: his health, his job, his girl, and, he was beginning to suspect, his mind. Kotler, not a religious man, suddenly found himself drawn to the sport of surfing as if it were the cornerstone of a new faith. Why, he wondered, when there was nothing left to believe in, could he begin to believe in something as unlikely as surfing. What was belief anyway? How did it work in the body, the brain, our culture, and human history?Into this mix came a strange story. In 2003, on a surf trip through Mexico, Kotler heard of the conductor, a mythical surfer who could control the weather. He d heard this same tale eight years earlier, in Indonesia, but this time something clicked. With the help of everyone from rebel surfers to rocket scientists, Kotler undertakes a three year globetrotting quest for the origins of this legend. The results are a startling mix of big waves and bigger ideas: a surfer s journey into the biological underpinnings of belief itself. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781596913448

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A spiritual and scientific surf quest, West of Jesus tracks a contemporary surfing myth and looks at the neuroscience that connects spirituality and high risk sport. After spending two years in bed with Lyme disease, Steven Kotler had lost everything: his health, his job, his girl, and, he was beginning to suspect, his mind. Kotler, not a religious man, suddenly found himself drawn to the sport of surfing as if it were the cornerstone of a new faith. Why, he wondered, when there was nothing left to believe in, could he begin to believe in something as unlikely as surfing. What was belief anyway? How did it work in the body, the brain, our culture, and human history?Into this mix came a strange story. In 2003, on a surf trip through Mexico, Kotler heard of the conductor, a mythical surfer who could control the weather. He d heard this same tale eight years earlier, in Indonesia, but this time something clicked. With the help of everyone from rebel surfers to rocket scientists, Kotler undertakes a three year globetrotting quest for the origins of this legend. The results are a startling mix of big waves and bigger ideas: a surfer s journey into the biological underpinnings of belief itself. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781596913448

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 140 mm. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A spiritual and scientific surf quest, West of Jesus tracks a contemporary surfing myth and looks at the neuroscience that connects spirituality and high risk sport. After spending two years in bed with Lyme disease, Steven Kotler had lost everything: his health, his job, his girl, and, he was beginning to suspect, his mind. Kotler, not a religious man, suddenly found himself drawn to the sport of surfing as if it were the cornerstone of a new faith. Why, he wondered, when there was nothing left to believe in, could he begin to believe in something as unlikely as surfing. What was belief anyway? How did it work in the body, the brain, our culture, and human history?Into this mix came a strange story. In 2003, on a surf trip through Mexico, Kotler heard of the conductor, a mythical surfer who could control the weather. He d heard this same tale eight years earlier, in Indonesia, but this time something clicked. With the help of everyone from rebel surfers to rocket scientists, Kotler undertakes a three year globetrotting quest for the origins of this legend. The results are a startling mix of big waves and bigger ideas: a surfer s journey into the biological underpinnings of belief itself. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781596913448

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