The Open Road: Book summary and reviews of The Open Road by Pico Iyer

The Open Road

The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

by Pico Iyer

The Open Road by Pico Iyer X
The Open Road by Pico Iyer
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2008
    288 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

One of the most acclaimed and perceptive observers of globalism and Buddhism now gives us the first serious consideration—for Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike—of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s work and ideas as a politician, scientist, and philosopher.

Pico Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father’s) for the last three decades—an ongoing exploration of his message and its effectiveness. Now, in this insightful, impassioned book, Iyer captures the paradoxes of the Dalai Lama’s position: though he has brought the ideas of Tibet to world attention, Tibet itself is being remade as a Chinese province; though he was born in one of the remotest, least developed places on earth, he has become a champion of globalism and technology. He is a religious leader who warns against being needlessly distracted by religion; a Tibetan head of state who suggests that exile from Tibet can be an opportunity; an incarnation of a Tibetan god who stresses his everyday humanity.

Moving from Dharamsala, India—the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile—to Lhasa, Tibet, to venues in the West, where the Dalai Lama’s pragmatism, rigor, and scholarship are sometimes lost on an audience yearning for mystical visions, The Open Road illuminates the hidden life, the transforming ideas, and the daily challenges of a global icon.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is a brilliant pairing of writer and subject...Like its subject, the aim of this book is ultimately simple: behold the man." - Publishers Weekly.

"Despite Iyer's best intentions, it leaves the impression of a scattering of postcards about Iyer's friendship with this important leader rather than a searching study of the leader himself." - Library Journal.

"Starred Review. Nonfiction of the highest caliber: fascinating and thorough, but never sycophantic or overly familiar." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer (born 11 February 1957) is a British-born essayist and novelist of Indian origin. Iyer the author of numerous works of nonfiction and two novels.

Pico Iyer has written nonfiction books on globalism, Japan, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, forgotten places, and novels on Revolutionary Cuba and Islamic mysticism. He regularly writes on literature for The New York Review of Books, on travel for the Financial Times, and on global culture and the news for Time, The New York Times, and magazines around the world. He has covered the Tibetan question for many publications for more than twenty years.

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