The Great Failure: A Bartender, a Monk, & My Unlikely Path to Truth

Version: Unabridged
Author: Natalie Goldberg
Narrator: Natalie Goldberg
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Biography & Memoir, Health & Wellness
Publisher: Sounds True
Published In: September 2004
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 6 hours, 45 minutes
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Natalie Goldberg has inspired millions to write, developing an intimate relationship with their minds and a greater understanding of the world in which they live. Now through this honest exploration of her own life, Goldberg puts her teachings to work. In this wry, nimble memoir, Natalie Goldberg candidly depicts her father Ben, an old-fashioned man's man who knew no boundaries a trait that is at once his greatest strength and most profound weakness. In capturing the essence of this larger than life Jewish bartender, she reveals the intricacies of a precarious father-daughter relationship. The tenuous relationship with her father leads her in many directions and ultimately to Dainin Katagiri Roshi, a dynamic, celebrated Zen Master. In light of an eye-opening discovery that shakes her ideal of this beloved teacher, Goldberg revisits the many years of loyal practice under Roshi's guidance. Elegantly weaving these tales together, this story is finally a search for truth. Filled with Goldberg's trademark gifts for both humor and teaching an original adaptation by the author of the book by the same name - The Great Failure touches our hearts and minds as we come to recognize the ways in which we fail to confront our illusions.

Reviews (2)

The Great Failure

Written by Pilar on May 13th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book is both short and thin. In it the author attempts to tackle some painful experiences related to both her teacher, Katagiri Roshi, and her father and maybe use the effort as a way of inner growth. Her feelings and thoughts appear to be highly unresolved. She ends up revealing her own inner struggle, and it doesn't make for inspiring reading. She shows herself to be judgmental and small-minded. Her relationship with her parents isn't what one would expect from a long-time Buddhist student and sometimes teacher. For those of us who looked up to her in the past, this book pops the bubble.

Great Failure: A Bartender, a Monk, and...

Written by Anonymous on October 6th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I have listened to other books by Natalie Goldberg and she would be well served (as would we all) for her to have someone else read her books. I find her delivery to be a difficult distraction. As a fellow Buddhist, I found her reactions to her life (in relation to her years of Zen study) rather curious. Nor was it very interesting. Unfortunate considering the fact that she did attempt to tackle some difficult subjects (personal abuse and teacher integrity). I was hoping for more, and can only report that I did finish the tapes. Too bad!

Author Details

Author Details

Goldberg, Natalie

Natalie Goldberg is a poet, teacher, and the author of eleven books, including her classic, "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within--"which has sold more than a million and a half copies and has been translated into fourteen languages--"Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highway, Living Color, "and "The Great Failure". She has taught seminars for thirty years to people from around the world, and lives in northern New Mexico.