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(Book Review) The Tao of Bill Murray

We've all heard the stories:  Bill Murray was spotted joining a kickball game.  Bill Murray crashed a bachelor party, gave a toast, and disappeared.  Bill Murray jumped behind a bar and poured people shots for 30 minutes before vanishing into the night.   There have been so many of these tales over the last four decades, one starts to wonder if they're more urban legend than fact.  However, they're true, and they're well-documented in the book, The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing, by Gavin Edwards.  

Edwards, a Rolling Stone editor, chronicled these amusing stories and organized them into 10 principles by which Bill Murray lives his life.  They include, "Invite yourself to the party," "Make sure everybody else is invited to the party," "While the earth spins, make yourself useful," and more.  The theme that comes across throughout the book is that you will be hard-pressed to find an individual who lives more in the moment than Murray.

The man who used to be known "simply" as a TV and movie star has become more of a transcendental figure in recent years.  People seem to feel like they've had a spiritual moment when they tell the tale of the time Bill Murray came out of nowhere and held his hands over their eyes.  It's as if he's the Dalai Lama of comedy.  Murray has a remarkable ability to find the joy and the absurdity in everyday life.  He also sounds like he is challenging to deal with in a professional capacity, but it's that same resistance to structure/love of improvisation that fuels these entertaining anecdotes.  There is also a method to this madness.  These adventures also allow the man to build a wall between his public persona and his private life.

The Tao of Bill Murray is really three books in one.  Edwards starts with a mini-biography of the actor.  (You may be surprised to find out Murray's connection to the Fantastic Four comic books.)  The ten principles follow, with each chapter being a fascinating look into the life of a man who goes wherever the spirit takes him.  (Of course, several of these stories involve Murray's beloved Chicago Cubs.)  The final third is a review of all of Murray's movies, some of which are comedy classics, and some which have rightfully been swept away into the dustbin of history.  Put them all of the films together, and you see a man who has worked hard to become a better actor and take more challenging projects, while still suffering the occasional misfire.  Hey, no one is perfect.

Fans of Bill Murray will love this book.   It's a quick read filled with stories that will make the audience smile.  In a world that seems to be falling apart on a daily basis, The Tao of Bill Murray is a reminder to all of us to look for, and appreciate, the laughter and absurdity wherever we can find it.

 

The Tao of Bill Murray Cover
A man who follows his own path.  (pic via Random House)

 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 24, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812988086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812988086

 

 

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