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Publisher's Summary

In Catching the Big Fish, internationally acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch provides a rare window into his methods as an artist, his personal working style, and the immense creative benefits he has experienced from the practice of meditation.  

Lynch describes the experience of "diving within" and "catching" ideas like fish and then preparing them for television or movie screens and other mediums in which he works, such as painting, music, and design. Lynch writes for the first time about his more than three-decade commitment to Transcendental Meditation and the difference it has made in his creative process.

In brief chapters, Lynch explains the development of his ideas: where they come from, how he grasps them, and which ones appeal to him the most. He specifically discusses how he puts his thoughts into action and how he engages with others around him. Finally, he considers the self and the surrounding world and how the process of "diving within" that has so deeply affected his own work can directly benefit others.

Catching the Big Fish will come as a revelation to the legions of fans who have longed to better understand Lynch's personal vision. And it will be equally intriguing to those who wonder how they can nurture their own creativity.

©2006 Bobkind Inc. (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“The quirky helmer known for Boy Scout demeanor and twisted tales shares his creative vision in a surprisingly gentle tome informed by the underlying teachings of Transcendental Meditation. But don’t worry: David Lynch, one-time creator of “The Angriest Dog in the World” comic, keeps the proselytizing to a minimum. He addresses topics ranging from working with wood (for it) to director’s commentaries (against) in deceptively simple, yet ultimately affirming, chapters. There’s much for fans and aspiring filmmakers to enjoy.” (Variety)

“With this book, Lynch offers us a rare glimpse into his own head. In the process, he reveals just enough biographical information, philosophy of film, and general behind-the-scenes dirt (including the connection between Lynch's Lost Highway and O. J. Simpson)to keep the attention of those more interested in Lynch's films than in his consciousness.” (Booklist)

"Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper, says David Lynch the idiosyncratic filmmaker whose creations include Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, and the cult TV classic, Twin Peaks. He claims that he has savored the pleasures of diving deep thanks to a 33-year practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM). He describes the fun of gathering what he calls 'firewood' (all kinds of ideas and things for a film), the joy he takes in seeing an aging building or a rusted bridge, and the respect he has for Fellini and Kubrick. Lynch loves making movies and diving deep, and this testament bears witness to both loves.” (Spirituality & Practice)

Featured Article: 30+ Quotes About Creativity to Inspire Your Process


No matter what field you’re in—be it art, writing, science, tech, or sales—coming up with creative ideas can be frustrating. But here’s the reassuring truth: every single creative has struggled with the same fears. Fortunately, many have documented their experiences, leaving us the words we need to hear when we really feel stuck. We’ve compiled this handy list of creativity quotes from people in all different fields to help guide and inspire you.

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What listeners say about Catching the Big Fish

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Like listening to a wise grandpa

David Lynch is amazing. He has a way of telling you things in a direct and interesting way without it feeling condescending or preachy. At times, it felt a little cultish in the way he pushed Transcendental Meditation, but it's worth it for the gems that are included throughout the book.

I have a feeling that I'll come back and relisten to this over and over again, each time picking up a new lesson about life.

Completely inspiring book.

10 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

It's okay

I used to think David Lynch was a creative genius, but after listening to this, I've realized he's just a very interesting ding-dong who has been extremely lucky in his lifetime. It hasn't ruined his creations for me, but it's taken a little shine off them.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great insights into creativity

This is directly gets to the creative process and where it comes from. It explains those Aha moments we have all had and makes you realize how important it is to take time and dive deep into the deep waters of the mind. As Mr. Lynch says, 'Where the Big Fish Are.'

Also, David Lynch turns out to be a great reader who catches you right away. I really enjoyed this little book!

Don't miss it!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

time well spent

The catchy title brought this book to my attention, never having heard of David Lynch. The book is a series of friendly "rants" by Lynch raging from getting creative to solving world peace. Lots of energy in his narration as well as interesting points of view reflecting how Lynch thinks we can improve our lives.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Go Fish

This autobiographical tour through the creative process of one of the most interesting and influential American filmmakers may give you a few ideas of your own. Lynch's metaphor for finding inspiration -- catching fish -- seems an especially apt one for writers and, of course, filmmakers. The ocean where Lynch goes fishing is the unconscious, accessed (for him at least) through transcendental meditation. He's a tireless advocate for TM, but this book doesn't sound like a commercial message for the practice. In his folksy, matter-of-fact voice, he simply explains how it has helped him to come up with the mind-bending narratives and stunning images that define his films. The audiobook is divided into numerous brief chapters that would make it quite listenable on either short breaks or extended commutes.

12 people found this helpful

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Meditate

If you could sum up Catching the Big Fish in three words, what would they be?

David Lynch will inspire you to meditate daily. He narrates the book himself, which is a plus. If you like him at all, you must give this a listen

3 people found this helpful

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good for what it is/but seemed poorly organized

Some useful insights into filmmaking and creativity process. I felt it was a little heavy on Transcendental Meditation references, which has always seemed cult like to me, and not very well organized, with 70+ short, scattered chapters. Hence 3/5 but still worthwhile to students of creativity, intuition, meditation, filmmaking, art, or how to bring subconscious processes to use.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting Content

I enjoyed this read. I find the creative process as interesting as the meditation process so it was the perfect mix.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 12-29-15

Fascinating insights into a fascinating mind

Short and sweet, I enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about about the life and experiences of the enigmatic Mr David Lynch in his own voice. In amongst the philosophical moments and pieces of life advice, Mr Lynch also gives insight into his interests in transcendental meditation and his own creative process, peppered with anecdotes from his career. It's not intended to be a funny memoir (although there are funny moments) but neither is this reflective book dry and boring - if you are fascinated by Mr Lynch's work and would like more insight into the mind of the man that had created it I would highly recommend a listen.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting insight into Lynch's creative process

I listened to this because I'm interested in using meditation to help alleviate writer's block. I found it useful for that purpose. And it was a lot of fun to hear a director whose films I love talk about the process of making them. On the other hand, a lot of this book consists of Lynch's sincere but somewhat naive promotion of the Transcendental Meditation movement. I quickly started feeling like he was trying to sell me something. And I definitely winced on his behalf when he started explaining that physicists "have discovered a Unified Field" underlying all of reality. The Unified Field Theory, as anyone who's had a college physics course knows perfectly well, is the Holy Grail of theoretical physics. But despite the grandiose sounding name, all it means is the ability to mathematically describe the force of gravity in terms of quantum mechanics. It's just an equation. That equation hasn't been discovered yet. And if and when it is, it will not introduce some new "unified field" underlying all of creation. It will just let us describe very large and very small events in the same mathematical language. Any copy editor worth his or her salt should have caught this mistake long before the book went to press, and it's just plain embarrassing that it made it into the audiobook. There was a lot of this kind of stuff scattered through the book though. Maybe it's just standard California New Age nonsense, but it definitely left me feeling like the kool-aid factor in TM was way to high for me. I still want to pursue meditation -- but this book made it clear that the transcendental meditation movement is not the place I want to do it. That said, if you love Lynch's films or if you are a working artist or writer, this book gives some really interesting insights into Lynch's creative process. You just have to take the TM stuff with a grain of salt, I guess ....

15 people found this helpful