Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling : Achieving Balance in the Modern World, Hardback

Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling : Achieving Balance in the Modern World Hardback

Part of the Mindfulness series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling shines new light onto one of the great scientific icons, and explores how pushing that pedal can nurture mindfulness in a spiritually stressful age.

The author steers us through his own perspective on cycling - weaving the philosophical, practical and personal into an elegant balance.

Add in a sprinkling of meditative insights, and we can all learn how to experience Einstein's enlightened outlook on life through the simple joy of riding a bicycle.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 144 pages
  • Publisher: The Ivy Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thought & practice
  • ISBN: 9781908005472



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Physically this is a handsome little book. The endpapers reproduce the cover image, reduced and repeated. There are several sidebars interspersed through the text, which are printed over a light grey version of the same image. I find deciphering writing over images to be annoying, but it seems rather the style of our times. Was it Wired magazine that popularized this? But in Wired I could only sometimes make out the writing at all. Here I could read the sidebars - it just took a bit of effort. Anyway, all that complaining is directed at the sidebars - the rest of the text is nicely laid out with attractive legible fonts etc.This is a short book with a bit of a fairy tale quality. Irvine proposes four aspects to our thinking, two dualisms: local vs global, practical vs imaginative. He suggests that Einstein balanced these, or exemplified the way that these can actually reinforce each other mutually. He proposes that we also can cultivate this balance or mutuality through mindfulness, cycling, and especially mindful cycling. Further, he suggests that Einstein himself cultivated this mutuality through his own cycling.I am a fan of Einstein, of meditation, and of cycling. This book addresses some of my more core interests and concerns. Irvine does a reasonably good job of arguing his case. Probably the weak point that annoyed me the most was his assertion that cyclists tend not to be narcissistic. I am a regular reader of the hilarious Bike Snob NYC blog, and this past summer rode for my first time in Manhattan, particularly down the West Side Greenway Path. Irvine does admit that not all cycling is mindful. I don't recall him admitting that a narcissistic sort of cycling exists. It does, it does!Can a text be profound but shallow? I would call this book profound because really the kind of balance and mutuality that Irvine proposes indeed seems extremely valuable. The idea that it is what we do, how we live, how we go about our daily activities, such as commuting, that this visceral living is inseparable from our thinking and perceiving, this idea is also crucially important. This book is profound because it addresses profound issues.What makes the book shallow is that it doesn't dig into the material in any real depth. It doesn't examine and test evidence, weigh alternatives, etc. This book is a basic introduction. It is a pleasant enough starting point, a gentle presentation of the topic. Since I have lived with these ideas for decades, a basic introduction doesn't give me much satisfaction. But probably I am not the typical reader!I think I did read at least a good bit of the biography of Einstein by Abraham Pais. I don't recall him discussing bike tours of Einstein. I do remember from somewhere that Arthur Eddington was an enthusiastic cyclist! Anyway, it was great to learn about Einstein's cycling!

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