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Extended Audio Sample Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha Audiobook, by Jack Kerouac Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.94 out of 52.94 out of 52.94 out of 52.94 out of 52.94 out of 5 2.94 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jack Kerouac Narrator: Danny Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9781440613050
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In the mid-1950s, Jack Kerouac, a lifelong Catholic, became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that had a profound impact on his ideas of spirituality and later found expression in books such as Mexico City Blues and The Dharma Bums. Originally written in 1955 and now published for the first time in book form, Wake Up is Kerouac’s retelling of the life of Prince Siddartha Gotama, who as a young man abandoned his wealthy family and comfortable home for a lifelong search for Enlightenment. Distilled from a wide variety of canonical scriptures, Wake Up serves as both a penetrating account of the Buddha’s life and a concise primer on the principal teachings of Buddhism. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emma | 2/4/2014

    " A brief handbook to the origins of Buddism and the life of its creator. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joey | 12/25/2013

    " I really have no idea what I just read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 10/26/2013

    " I really didn't like this book as much as I expected to. I think my expectations were too high. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jean-Paul | 10/14/2013

    " though an intersting read for the beat completist, i found it lacking the pop! of kerouac's more prominent work and the narrative paled compared to other more notable classics such as hesse's siddhartha. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 9/21/2013

    " Jack Kerouac gets to me after a while. He's interesting to listen to for a while, but at a certain point you have to turn him off. Love his books, but just couldn't get through the last bit of this one :/ "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 K Nolfi | 9/12/2013

    " I actually liked Thurman's intro better than Kerouac's actual text. I've never read Some of the Dharma but should give that a try. I prefer Dharma Bums. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liz | 8/29/2013

    " This is now one of the few books I just couldn't make myself finish. I found it largely dry and uninteresting; full of varying analogies for the one idea that the world we see is an illusion, with little expansion on this point. I would not recommend it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jess Kogel | 7/19/2013

    " Not Kerouac's best but still follows in line with his trail writing and extreme deal. Not a book i would pick up to learn about buddhism but a book i would pick up to understand the mind and thoughts of Kerouac. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zia Laura | 4/20/2013

    " I couldn't even finish it... just a money-maker book using Kerouc's notes and notoriety! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Kizer | 3/21/2013

    " A fun read. But I'm a sucker for all things Kerouac. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joseph | 2/10/2013

    " A keeper book. I really was not expecting that after reading Big Sur and On the Road. Truly an exceptional read as literature, history and philosophy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cherie | 11/5/2012

    " A Really fantastic retelling of the life of the Buddha by our very own Beat Buddha, Kerouac. This should be standard reading material for all Naropians. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve Malley | 7/19/2012

    " The book was good, though it did not live up to my expectations in some ways. I enjoyed several passages -- in particular, I liked when Buddha compared his work to that of a farmer. I think I just expected too much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garrett Dunnington | 2/24/2012

    " This is probably Kerouac's least-Kerouac book. I am not even sure if he even intended for this to be published. He does a good job of using archaic language without coming off as dry. This interpretation of the Buddha is very valuable. I quite enjoyed it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Matthew Carlin | 1/23/2012

    " This is literally just a man telling you about Buddha. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 12/30/2011

    " I learned some info I didn't know before, and that was great! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Akasha | 11/14/2011

    " A great hidden treasure of American Buddhist literature... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken French | 11/4/2011

    " Distilled from other sources, but it has the exuberance of the youthful Kerouac. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Schwan | 9/9/2011

    " Not the typical Kerouac book. Mostly goes into discussions about the ideas and lectures of the Buddha. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 m. soria | 6/28/2011

    " i can't believe this book even exists, such a great primer for some of the dharma. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 5/21/2011

    " Beautifully written: poetic and flowery. However, it was very short, and hard to follow in parts. I didn't learn anything new about Siddhartha Gautama. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 4/3/2011

    " Dated but memorable "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 1/4/2011

    " Distilled from other sources, but it has the exuberance of the youthful Kerouac. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 10/12/2010

    " Not the typical Kerouac book. Mostly goes into discussions about the ideas and lectures of the Buddha. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Matthew | 9/17/2010

    " This is literally just a man telling you about Buddha. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 8/3/2010

    " Beautifully written: poetic and flowery. However, it was very short, and hard to follow in parts. I didn't learn anything new about Siddhartha Gautama. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garrett | 7/15/2010

    " This is probably Kerouac's least-Kerouac book. I am not even sure if he even intended for this to be published. He does a good job of using archaic language without coming off as dry. This interpretation of the Buddha is very valuable. I quite enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scotty | 3/12/2010

    " though an intersting read for the beat completist, i found it lacking the pop! of kerouac's more prominent work and the narrative paled compared to other more notable classics such as hesse's siddhartha. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin | 6/18/2009

    " A fun read. But I'm a sucker for all things Kerouac. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 K | 2/17/2009

    " I actually liked Thurman's intro better than Kerouac's actual text. I've never read Some of the Dharma but should give that a try. I prefer Dharma Bums. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 1/22/2009

    " I really didn't like this book as much as I expected to. I think my expectations were too high. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cherie | 10/22/2008

    " A Really fantastic retelling of the life of the Buddha by our very own Beat Buddha, Kerouac. This should be standard reading material for all Naropians. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 10/13/2008

    " The book was good, though it did not live up to my expectations in some ways. I enjoyed several passages -- in particular, I liked when Buddha compared his work to that of a farmer. I think I just expected too much. "

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About the Author
Author Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. He attended local Catholic schools and eventually Columbia University, becoming in the late 1940s and early 1950s a member of what was soon to be called “the beat generation.” His first novel appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957, that epitomized to the world the beat philosophy. This novel created a sensation by chronicling a spontaneous and wandering way of life in a style that seemed founded both on jazz and on drug-induced visions. Kerouac published several novels, and Mexico City Blues is a volume of his poetry. 

About the Narrator

Danny Campbell is an actor who has appeared in CBS’ The Guardian, the films A Pool, a Fool, and a Duel and Greater Than Gravity, and in over twenty-five commercials. Winner of two AudioFile Earphones Awards, he has narrated Once a Spy by Keith Thomson and read the part of David Foster Wallace in Mike Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, among many others. He is a member of the adjunct faculty in the theater arts department at Santa Monica College.