Read First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life & Living by Richard Bode Online


Now with a brand new foreword from New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Zaslow. FIRST YOU HAVE TO ROW A LITTLE BOAT first hit shelves in the mid 1990s and has been inspiring readers ever since. Written by a grown man looking back on his childhood, it reflects on what learning to sail taught him about life: making choices, adapting to change, and becoming his own persoNow with a brand new foreword from New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Zaslow. FIRST YOU HAVE TO ROW A LITTLE BOAT first hit shelves in the mid 1990s and has been inspiring readers ever since. Written by a grown man looking back on his childhood, it reflects on what learning to sail taught him about life: making choices, adapting to change, and becoming his own person. The book is filled with the spiritual wisdom and thought-provoking discoveries that marked such books as Walden, The Prophet, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. For nearly twenty years, it has enchanted and endeared sailors and non-sailors alike, but foremost, anyone who seeks large truths in small things. This refurbished edition will find a place in the hearts of a whole new generation of readers....

Title : First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life & Living
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780446670036
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life & Living Reviews

  • Kari Ross
    2018-10-10 19:05

    I loved this book. I read it about two weeks after a big heartbreak and it helped ground me and look forward agai. And no matter the state if mind I started the book, its a quick, heart warming read.

  • Gavin
    2018-10-16 22:52

    I picture Richard Bode scanning the saltwater horizon with his youthful eyes and unintentionally crafting this beautiful elegy over the course of a young lifetime - a spark of insight here, a hastily written idea on a steno pad there - and finally gathering all of these ripe wisdoms, these little wonders of the world, into this simple culmination of a book. The journey of sailing and learning how to sail is truly such a meaningful metaphor for a fulfilling life.I thank my father, who himself loves sailing, for giving this book to me at the right time - just as I finished my PhD and promptly decided to abandon that track for something that truly calls to my heart, intellect, and passion. After reading Bode's words about sailing, I feel even more sound in who I am and who I hope to be and to become.I come now, at this late juncture of my life, to this sudden realization: I have no destination, no real destination, in the literal sense. The destination, the place toward which my life is tending, is the journey itself and not the final stopping place. How I get there is more important than whether I arrive, although I will arrive, and what I must try to remember, now more than ever, is to listen to the wind, and the wind will tell me what to do.I am overwhelmed by the power of remembrance. I do not dwell in this precise and fleeting moment, but in the accumulation of all my moments for as far back as my human memory goes. I am my past, and to deny my past is to deny myself, because the life I lived right up to this ephemeral instant defines who I am. My life is not in me; it is on what I remember, and I do not possess what I remember so much as it possesses me.

  • S'hi
    2018-10-22 15:02

    A pleasant sojourn while away for a week at an intensive training course. I missed my sailing on both of the Saturdays so this book was my way of making up for it.In some ways I was surprised how much it did. While there were a few details about learning aspects of boats and their movement, it was the friendly life advice that I so appreciate that this book also provided. It is so much easier listening in to other’s mistakes and learning from them. Yet somehow we still need to make mistakes of our own…And so I did during this “break” from my own life as well. I found my presence was probably adding in some way to tensions in the household. Perhaps not for any direct reason of my own actions, but merely the awareness of a stranger observing the intimacy of life in a young family. It wasn’t always appropriate to “escape” to my room. But the perspective of time and anecdote helped me reflect on similar moments when my own children were so young.I found it a pleasant surprise to read of the discovery of one’s own youthful freedom when compared to contemporaries who were trapped by complete families. Having lost his parents while young, Richard Bode lived with an aunt and uncle while spending much of his time finding mentors through the local community based around his interest in water and wind and wave. As one of seven children I certainly do envy him this freedom.I particularly enjoyed the internal perspectives of learning. Sailing is a very new activity for me, and I often find myself contemplating rather than doing. The commodore of our club is puzzled by my rigging a boat only to stand on the shore in deep thought rather than casting off. He cheerily calls: “Now it’s only practice” as I finally return from getting out on the water. “After I learn to rig properly BEFORE I go out!” I reply. My mind takes me too many places for the boat to catch up. Books such as this help remind me of simpler times and ways of being. But they also let me know I was a dreamer then too, so the challenges are probably not that different despite age.Apparently there is also another book by this writer, so now I’m off to see if I can find it…

  • Claire
    2018-09-28 14:38

    As a boy, Richard Bode is enthralled with the boats that glide through the bay near his home. His first boat is nothing more than a dinghy, which he dutifully rows out of the creek and across the bay, each stroke bringing him closer to harnessing the power of the wind. As he learns about sailing, he learns about himself. He describes the lessons he learns while growing up and the sailing masters he meets along the way — the men who guided him at sea and in life. I sympathized with the young boy as he watches the blue sloop skimming across the bay, as graceful as a swan. I shared his excitement when the beautiful boat he admired was finally his, and sailed along with him as he recounted a lifetime of adventures. And when the older man regretfully said farewell to his beautiful, beloved sloop, it seemed as though I had lost a friend too.Through a simple story about sailing, Mr. Bode shares his reflections on life and living. It is a story about the human experience — one that sailors and landlubbers alike — can appreciate."As humans we live with the constant presumption of dominion. We believe that we own the world, that it belongs to us, that we have it under our firm control. But the sailor knows all to well the fallacy of this view. The sailor sits by his tiller, watching and waiting. He knows he isn't sovereign of earth and sky any more than the fish in the sea or the birds in the air. He responds to the subtle shiftings of the wind, the imperceptible ebbings of the tide. He changes course. He trims his sheets. He sails." - Richard Bode

  • Kiki
    2018-09-30 21:48

    As a sailor and one who savors the memories of the past, this book made me smile wistfully at so many points. The lessons one learns on a sailboat are life lessons and cannot be understated. Easy read. Good for those in one of life's many transitions and fans of Long Island's south shore.

  • Melissa
    2018-10-09 20:05

    I really appreciated the author's life lessons and using sailing as a metaphor. If I knew more about boats I probably would have given this a five.

  • Peg Gjertsen
    2018-10-08 17:49

    Amazing book if you have ever sailed a book. It mentioned many places that were familiar to me particularly the Great South Bay.

  • Jennifer Callahan
    2018-10-06 18:45

    A touching little book that a neighbor gave to me.

  • Magpie
    2018-10-21 21:43

    Melanie 2017

  • Jordyn
    2018-10-14 17:39

    SO cute. Fun little life lessons and just a fun read.

  • Sintija Valucka
    2018-09-24 19:04


  • Shirleon
    2018-09-26 16:47

    First off I have to say that I wish Goodreads put the time you started this book, because it didn't take me two whole days to read the book. I started it last night, yes, but just barely, and then finished it today. Technically I read it in about 4 hours? Give or take. Anyway, I loved the book! I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up at my libraries book sale. I saw the word boat and since I'm on a nautical theme, I thought it would be a good read to add to my list! Well, when I looked at it last night I noticed that it was more of a non-fiction self-help kind of book. My first thought was, uh oh. What did I start here? Don't get me wrong, I don't completely dislike self-help books, they just aren't my thing. But the author wrote in such a way that I felt as though he was writing a novel rather then about his life. This made it much easier to read. It isn't to deep, at least it wasn't for me. Maybe for someone who isn't sure of where they are going in their life they might find it deep and full of meaning, but for me, it was just a good book.I enjoyed how the writer talked about the life lessons he learned from learning to sail. I know nothing about sailing. The only time I was ever on a sail boat was when I was 9 and I wore a life jacket and held on for dear life. After that, I never sailed again. I liked it, I think. I don't quite remember how it felt, but I don't live near bodies of water to sail in so I never went sailing. After all the sailing books I've read, I think I would enjoy it. Though I would probably tremble in fear if I saw a whale come up to my boat after reading In the Heart of the Sea.Bode's way of writing was so easy to read that I was able to read the book in one sitting. Usually with books like this I can read one chapter or one section and then I have to put it down and think about it and then come back. But he wrote so easily and so naturally that I felt that I could keep going. Well worth the read, my friends!

  • Mik Hetu
    2018-10-03 20:49

    A man’s reflections on what sailing has taught him about living life, without the cliches.This may not be one of the best books ever written, but it is one of the very best books I’ve ever read! Once, at a booksale, I met a guy who was buying several copies of this book, as I was, for gifts, for recipients yet undecided. There are many cliche life lessons in sailing — how you often have to trade off speed for direction; prepare your gear; etc. — but I didn’t find any of these in this book. Richard Bode tells of the more subtle lessons, like how although he loves sailing enough to make a career out of it (he was an editor for I think it was SAIL magazine), he was not able to pass that passion on to his children. Imagine being a man maybe in his early twenties, really just beginning his life, happening to meet a grandfatherly type in the boatyard. The young man won’t listen to any lectures, but he’ll listen to stories, and if he learns anything from them, it could save him many years of misdirection. This is a powerful book!The famous M. Scott Peck writes, on this book’s cover, “Elegant as a clipper and practical as a tug, this brilliantly written elegy gently teaches the fundamental principles of life and how to navigate its shoals.”And Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, writes “Even without knowing a lot about sailing, I was charmed by its wisdom and passion.”And Walter Cronkite: “What a wonderful book it is! . . . Pure Joy.”So don’t just take my word for it . . .

  • Sean
    2018-09-29 15:45

    This is an incredible little book. As nothing more than a collection of thoughts about life and living, it's probably only passable. But for anyone who has every sailed, or dreamed of sailing, it's very magical. It's becoming one of my all time favorites.The author describes how he bought a small sloop as a boy and learned to sail it. As he describes many of the lessons that he learned, he applies what he learned to other areas of life. The book would be interesting enough just as a story about a boy learning to sail. But each aspect of sailing becomes a metaphor for some part of life, and Bode's comments are always wise and insightful.Here's the quote that I saw somewhere else that drew me to this book:"For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze."

  • Donna
    2018-10-11 16:39

    I'm not a sailor and don't aspire to be one...deep black water is always a bit frightening. However I can understand the allure and magic of it through the eyes of a young boy needing an outlet for grief at losing his parents, and the usual growing pains of any adolescent boy. Learned some sailing lingo I will never use and months from now will not remember port from starboard (again!). But something beautiful lives in the wind, the waves, the freedom of sailing and the knowledge needed to do it right.(Read as a lenten study book at my church).

  • Littlelion
    2018-09-23 20:48

    I am in love with this book. Happened across it in the self-improvement section of my local bookstore while searching for books on recovering from childhood neglect. As someone who had no meaningful role models to provide me guidance, wisdom or love as a child, I cherish this little book for its easily digestible, immediately applicable nuggets. Every page seems to contain some kernel of indispensable insight on how to approach life's ups and downs, ins and outs. Bonus, it's poetic - the author has a lovely, musical voice.

  • Stuart
    2018-10-20 17:48

    A terrific book, enjoyed it tremendously, especially for those who sail or live life on the water.It's full of insights with a "quotable" saying or phrase on almost every page.As someone who loves to sail, I'd recommend it to anyone who yearns to get on the water, or wants to enhance his/her life.Even if you don't enjoy sailing or being on the water, the book is full of nautical sayings that quickly translate to everyday Life.I'd encourage almost anyone to read this book and look forward to reading Bode's 2nd book "beachcombing at miramar"

  • Paul Jones
    2018-10-15 16:43

    I was sent this book as a gift from a friend in preparation for my first sailing trip. At fist I thought it was a guide on the basics of sailing, it was nothing of the sort! Instead it was a book that relates many of life's lessons to the lessons and passions of sailing. The book helped me get my sailing jargon down and learn a few basics things around the boat which was helpful, but it also helped me look at sailing as not something you just do, it is something that you experience and apply.Thanks for sending me the book, I loved it!

  • Gordon Francisco
    2018-09-25 14:55

    This is a treasure. A young boy dreams of sailing while the old sage of the harbor, whom the boy has watched from afar for months - places him in a row boat - much to the young dreamer's dismay. The sage advises him as the boy finds his way to balance, rowing, taking the waves, docking, etc until he advances the boy to an actual sailboat. Each new chapter brings the young boy another lesson in the skill and art of sailing and seamanship, which he later draws upon as a man. A wonderful story in a very imagnative and intriguing story.

  • Karen Birdsall
    2018-10-23 18:49

    One of my favorite lessons in this book was when Richard went to the dock to check out a boat when a captain asked him if he'd sailed before to which Richard said no. The captain signaling for Richard to get in the row boat and learn that first. (I might not have that down verbatim but it's from what I remember)As in life, most want to start at the top without first learning the skills necessary to grow and succeed at the top. One of my favorite books!

  • Thom Leiter
    2018-10-17 17:39

    This book got me through a summer of selling books. Actually, it helped keep my mind off the misery I was in. When I think about taking on an enormous challenge, I understand that I have to work away at it a little at a time.This book gives a great picture of how that process works and there are wonderful little stories that the author writes in regards to his own experiences as well. I liked it a lot.

  • Victoria Miller
    2018-09-30 19:00

    Such a pure pleasure to read, that as soon as I finished, I went back and started reading the beginning again. For someone who knows about sailing, I'm sure much in this book would resonate more deeply; however, still I learned some things about sailing, and some great reflections on life of value to anyone. A wonderful contemplative and soothing read.

  • Ruth
    2018-10-23 17:38

    I thought this book was more of an autobiography than anything. Beautifully written. I really love sailing and this book was wonderful. Very poetic. I highly recommend this book. I finished it by book light during Hurricane Sandy.

  • Jette
    2018-10-23 17:51

    OK, I am really enjoying this book. Just past halfway through and it is both beautiful and thought-provoking which is always a good combination! I will wait to rate it on the star scale until I'm through, but so far I'd give it four stars!

  • David
    2018-10-01 15:58

    I think this would appear more if you are a sailor, but it's a lot of great advice on how to focus on what's important in life, not getting distracted, knowing when to act and when not, etc.Highly recommended (and really short!).

  • Jim Mcnulty
    2018-10-02 15:01

    Having grown up on the South shore of Long Island and experienced the magic of sailing on the Great South Bay I was pleased to find that the author anchored this story in those experiences. This is a charming story. It is well written and delivers lots of good life lessons.

  • weeple
    2018-09-23 17:02

    This is a good book to read when you are in "transition". Between jobs, between spouses, between phases in your life, etc. The book has some nice "life lessons". Not the most profound thing I've ever read, but it was short enough to make it well worth the effort.

  • Kevin
    2018-10-07 17:59

    Excellent Read. I loved every minute of this book. have now read it twice.

  • Storm
    2018-10-07 18:04

    Wonderful book. Especially great if you grew up around water and on boats.

  • TeriC
    2018-10-10 22:37

    A wonderful book on how the author used sailing lessons as life lessons.Read on my ipad where I made little notes of some wonderful things he said.