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Publisher's Summary

Years after losing his lower right leg in a motorcycle crash, Robert Kull traveled to a remote island in Patagonia's coastal wilderness with equipment and supplies to live alone for a year. He sought to explore the effects of deep solitude on the body and mind and to find the spiritual answers he'd been seeking all his life. With only a cat and his thoughts as companions, he wrestled with inner storms while the wild forces of nature raged around him. The physical challenges were immense, but the struggles of mind and spirit pushed him even further.

Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes is the diary of Kull's tumultuous year. Chronicling a life distilled to its essence, Solitude is also a philosophical meditation on the tensions between nature and technology, isolation and society. With humor and brutal honesty, Kull explores the pain and longing we typically avoid in our frantically busy lives as well as the peace and wonder that arise once we strip away our distractions. He describes the enormous Patagonia wilderness with poetic attention, transporting the reader directly into both his inner and outer experiences.

©2009 Robert Kull (P)2015 Robert Kull

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Extraordinary story of an inspired journey

Any additional comments?

I read this book when it was first published. I love the audio version even more. Kull's year alone on an isolated island in Patagonia comes alive in his narration. He shares with authentic vulnerability his triumphs, his tragedies, his disappointments, and his spiritual growth. If you yearn for such a transformative adventure, try living vicariously through Kull's recounting of a 21st-century Walden. (Your experience will be much more comfortable! No freezing rain, relentless winds, precarious boat trips, spoiled food stores, or endless collections of firewood!)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

we could all use a vision quest.

most outdoor enthusiasts only dream of having a year of solitude in the wilderness. .however. .none of us know exactly how it would affect our psyche. robert kull had the will and the determination to give it a try. humble by nature this guy did what no one else has had the balls to do...what an inspiration! !

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wisdom in Extreme

Would you consider the audio edition of Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes to be better than the print version?

Yes, you hear within this Audible recording all the “poetic attention” to nature and beautiful “lyrical writing” that makes Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extreme; A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness so engaging. Some people easily underestimate the harsh conditions, both physical, mental and even spiritually that a solitary retreat entails. Criticizing may be easy but few of these critics are eager to step forward and try even a two-week or two-month retreat like this
Bob was brave enough to accept twelve months of meeting his own personal demons, and his dark side as well his strengths head first… and share it with us.  Some of it is not a pretty sight but allowing this look inside makes for engrossing reading. We cheer and support when he triumphs over fears. We are saddened when his dark side overwhelms and he strikes out at the innocents present. We forgive him for his humanness and recognize that we too are human – not always so perfect as we would like.
But this is always a story or search and triumph, read by the author himself, in his own voice. The clarity and emotion comes through and it is an honor to be present for it.
Included in this book are interludes that some fell are out of place … such as “ “A Glance at Other Solitaries”, “Dancing in Hallowed Halls”, “ The Urge to Be Alone”. I felt that they gave us some welcomed relief from the dailyness of existence on a small windy island, while adding some valuable perspective to what we are witnessing, .  Bob Kull has dropped small bread crumbs for many of us with his research and honest writing urging us to take them up and follow. I myself carried this volume in a backpack and later listened to the audio during my own twelve months in a solitary hut and benefited immensely. I could not have asked for a stronger or more encouraging companion.
I thank Bob for sharing this fearless path, for not hiding the hard parts and for making this exploration available to all those armchair travelers that are intrigued.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Struggles, bliss, dark Presence, and Cat.

Where does Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Hearing Bob's experiences told in his own voice made the story come alive.

Which character – as performed by Robert Kull – was your favorite?

This is a true story performed by the author.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

How interesting that you eventually realized you had been taking the wind personally, as a dark entity intent on screwing with your plans. I like how you eventually found peace in the rain and lessons from the wind.

Any additional comments?

Bob was my instructor in a Masters level ‘Systems Thinking’ course. After experiencing him as an instructor I was excited to read about the journey that helped make him into not only the person he is, but also an exemplary teacher. Below is the feedback I emailed to him after I first read “Solitude” a few years ago.

“Thank you for writing the book. I really enjoyed your struggles, your moments of bliss, your honesty about Cat, and your enigmatic description of the dark Presence you felt those 2-3 times. Your impressions of other writers and their own experiences with solitude helped ground my understanding of the issues you grappled with in a larger field of shared experiences. Your realization that you couldn't be 'fixed' by a year of hard personal work and meditation was really interesting...I think many of us believe that if we try hard enough we can achieve some kind of personal perfection and fix those annoying neuroses/biases/anxieties/fears/etc. that make us who we are (for better and for worse). Though it is a nice goal, achieving perfection probably isn't why we're here - do you agree?

I'm really glad I waited until I had the time to sample your experiences in small nibbles instead of tearing off the chapters in huge bites. It was worth taking the time”.
_____________________

Since writing this a few years ago, I have been lucky enough to work with Bob as an Instructional Designer on his courses. He is deeply committed to helping his students recognize, then break through, limiting modes of thinking. Watching him demonstrate this attitude is what made me initially want to read his book and now that his book is available in audio, I’m enjoying the story again, especially hearing it told in his own voice.

Bob still goes on regular “solitude adventures” to keep himself in tune with what he feels is important. His photography highlights his writing and can be found on http://bobkullphotography.weebly.com/

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 12-06-15

A wonderful listening experience

This audiobook brings an extraordinary story to life, a human story of self-immersion in one of the wildest places on earth. Listening made me feel like I was there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Solitude was more the Cat's

I reached chapter 22 of 32 and stopped. Up until then I felt every fluctuation. In listening I found I developed a need to tell this guy to learn to be content. That's all, just learn to be content. He read other people's books and every time he spoke about them his voice was never his. It was like he was impressed with things and want also to impress. He even spoke of parts he disagreed with and I sat thinking "So put the book down, you already are who you are, develop THAT - don't waste time trying to regurgitate the ideas of someone else as if they are now yours." I liked this guy and I loved what he was out there for. I did however, find it very hard to understand why he could claim to SEE what some of these other authors were saying but he couldn't see what was right under his own nose.... he was ill treating the CAT and that didn't seem to matter enough to even WANT to fix. He was more connected to a set of ducks that wouldn't let him near and less connected to a cat who wanted him to be nearer. Robert, you don't need to books. They are just other men trying to work through their own stuff. Leave them to theirs, they do NOT have what you have. Work with what you have and learn to be content.
I had to stop when you talked about sexual fantasies about your Mother and masturbating over it. Just because Freud said so doesn't mean it's true. He was just another man trying to sort out HIS mess. No one has YOUR fingerprints.. No one has YOUR mind. Be yourself. Go where there is no path and create your own instead of trying like hell to absorb other people's thoughts and experiences. The oak tree is already in the acorn. Let it grow.
Later...................
Okay, I went back and finished the book. Although I still am not happy about the sexual aspect with his 'Mother" which I thought should have just been left out completely, there was one thing I found I ended up appreciating about this book. I began to enjoy the visual painting of the surroundings and that seemed to end up being enough for me to say I received another perspective on solitude. That said, I will never listen to it again, and I sincerely hope this author finds himself and doesn't become the amalgamation of other regurgitated minds. When he spoke authentically, he was enough in my eyes.

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rain rain rain

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

not sure

If you’ve listened to books by Robert Kull before, how does this one compare?

have not

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no

Any additional comments?

I was excited to give this a shot but cant get over the first several hours of complaining. "more rain"...Yes, youre in Southern Chile, it's going to rain and be windy..move on

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Prepare to be amazed

If you could sum up Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes in three words, what would they be?

Stays with you

What did you like best about this story?

It's real and raw, but funny and relatable- even in its extremes. We may not all take the trip that Bob took to investigate the questions churning inside us, but if you are drawn to this book, you probably have those questions too. And if you have those questions too, then his experience will touch you, and touch off your own journey. It's not another man-vs.- nature story of conquer and record-breaking, but you sure can't help but be in awe of the man's courage, skill set, and sheer will and fortitude to envision, plan, execute, and complete his year in solitude. But even more than that is a deeper respect for the fact that it *wasn't* about conquer and man-vs.-nature, but about a human, being in, and with, nature.

Have you listened to any of Robert Kull’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

n/a

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were times when I had to take a break. He's sharing with you his inner process, and sometimes it gets to be too much. Which makes it all the more amazing to think about... he was in it- for a year! No pausing for him. But I was always pulled back to it and the deeper I got into the story, the less breaks I took and listened to the final four hours on an international trip. Looking down from 35,000 feet, it was the perfect accompaniment.

Any additional comments?

This is a good book to listen to, as a first-person true story, narrated by the author. Again, I had read the book in paperback, and it didn't land the same way as listening to Bob tell his own story and lived experience. The weaving of straight up story-telling with beautiful descriptive observation, and inner process narration embedded in academic investigation and research mixes up to a truly winning result.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very Powerful Very Moving Very Touching

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. In hopes that they would be open to listening to what it really takes to wake up. That there is no magic thing out there but its all inside. It is a moment to moment choice. We all are very much alike filled with fears and doubts but through looking inward we start to see clearly and start to heal.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes?

When Bob described how much he missed Cat after leaving. How much he felt Cat was an important part of the entire experience.

Which scene was your favorite?

Not sure. Had many.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

For the most part. I did want to listen most of the time.

Any additional comments?

I love how this book had a day to day record of how our minds work. It clearly records how even if we are in solitude, the mind finds ways to distract from real feelings. It shows how we project ourselves out and how everything we come in contact with mirrors us. It shows how over time meditation which includes awareness of feelings , thoughts, body and all sense perceptions, starts to temper the reactions and deeply engrained mental formations that we all deal with. This is the only book I know of that describes a daily record of experiences of what all mystics have forever been trying to convey.

Thank You

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • My Distracted Universe
  • 04-21-18

I regret buying this book

I was very interested in the book but ended up regretting that I bought it. I assume I would have enjoyed it more if the author didn’t appear to be such an dislikable person. All he does is whine! Anxiety here and scared there. Of what? Life? Get a grip man, seriously. If you’re that afraid of nature then stay at home! That together with the scenes that with his pet that border on animal abuse really makes me wish that I hadn’t given him my money.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-21-18

Too long

75 % too long. Some Pearl's of Wisdom but needs editing down. It rambles and is patchy.