The Great Failure: My Unexpected Path to Truth (Insight: The Spirit Behind The Words)

by Natalie Goldberg

Paperback, 2005




HarperOne (2005), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages


One of America's favorite teachers, Natalie Goldberg has inspired millions to write as a way to develop an intimate relationship with their minds and a greater understanding of the world in which they live. Now, through this honest and wry exploration of her own life, Goldberg puts her teachings to work.


(35 ratings; 3.2)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lindsayg
This was very interesting. I'm a big fan of Natalie Goldberg, I've read just about all her books. For those not familiar with her, she writes about Zen meditation and also writing as a practice. (Not necessarily writing to publish, but instead writing as a discipline, like meditation). She also
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wrote a very moving memoir about her path to Zen Buddhism called Long Quiet Highway in which she talks about her intense admiration for her Zen teacher and how hard it was for her when he died. In this, her newest book, she talks about what happened when she found out some really upsetting things about the Zen teacher she'd idolized so much, and how she came to deal with that. This book didn't get much acclaim and the reviews were pretty mixed, but I really liked it. Her overall point is that everybody fails at something. Since we all have that in common, wouldn't it be better if we could just accept that in ourselves and in other people instead of keeping all these deep dark secrets. It was a thought-provoking read.
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LibraryThing member aulsmith
This was my first encounter with Natalie Goldberg, and I found her intolerably whiny. I'm a big fan of stories about people realizing that their religious leaders are schmucks. However, Goldberg's guru barely qualifies in big scheme of things, and Goldberg's emotional reaction seems completely
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over-blown. There are some really interesting stories about her father.
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LibraryThing member Pferdina
This memoir was interesting, and I was curious about the relationships Natalie had with both her father and her teacher. Unfortunately, the book read like she was trying to work through her personal problems while writing it, so it did not connect well with me the reader.
LibraryThing member AngelaLam
An interesting exploration about the two central male figures in Natalie Goldberg's life.

Both men were dynamic and full of life force and deeply flawed. Goldberg's father had no sense of boundaries, which caused havoc in her life. Katagiri Roshi was Goldberg's Zen teacher who led a secret life
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that was not exposed until after his death. Both men were instrumental to Goldberg's discovery of compassion, forgiveness, and human frailty in spite of greatness.

A deeply moving work about our humanity and how a person can hate the sin and love the sinner.
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LibraryThing member c_why
Apt title. Her books are screaming, irritating, pointless. "I" must be in every sentence. No one could be much of a success dealing with a father that . . . [words fail] - but interesting to see the most awful slug/humanoid in print. As for the Zen - well this is the best advert ever to confirm
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suspicions that it is pointless bunk [which it actually needn't be - but in this book is]. What has Goldberg's life been about ??? Save me from these flakes - in reality or in print.
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Original language


Physical description

224 p.; 8 inches


0060816120 / 9780060816124
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