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A prophet has waited twelve years in a coastal town for the ship that will bear him back to his homeland, which he misses.

Why he is there, why he is waiting, how he knows what he knows, and who he is is a mystery. As he departs the townspeople gather to wish him well. A local seeress who knows him best asks him to share his wisdom so that it will endure for generations to come.

So, he reveals his wisdom on love, birth, marriage, children, pain, talking, pleasure, death any so much more.

It is a profound work, and here is his advice on marriage so you may judge for yourself:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Its not a little similar to the Tao Te Ching, where a border guard recognises Lao Tzu, and asks him to share his wisdom as he goes into exile. Written 2,500 years ago, and one of the most translated books in the world. The Tao contains many principles you can use in your everyday life, and if you're not thinking in ego based ways, your wisdom based thinking opens up..

If you like one book, you will love the other, so I recommend both. For the Tao, I recommend the Stephen Mitchell version.

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on July 4, 2004
If I have ever read a book that is timeless, other than the Word of God, it would have to be this one. Although I may not have agreed with every word written, so many of the words of wisdom within these pages brought peace and comfort to me.
I read this book many, many years ago. I quoted from it at times and thought of it often. The words seemed to wrap themselves around your heart and spring out in times of need. There are not many books that can stake that claim, and I have read many.
A classic in my opinion and a book that will never be outdated.
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on June 4, 2003
Khalil Gibran's The Prophet is a truly awe inspiring work of prosaic poetry. Despite being a native-born Arabic speaker, Gibran wrote The Prophet in English, ensuring that his powerful words lost nothing in translation.
The work's 28 short chapters recount the words of a prophet as he leaves his home to depart on a new journey. The words that flow from the prophet's mouth and onto the pages are philosophical and spiritual treatises on all aspects of life. Chapters discuss the range of human experiences and include discussions such as "On Friendship", "On Pain" and "On Death." What unites the 28 chapters is Gibran's thought provoking and probing literary style as Gibran's prophet invokes his listeners to live life to the fullest. The book is not overtly religious but every word and sentence is filled with a spiritual clarity.
The book is eminently quotable with every chapter providing a nugget of truth worthy of repeating. Amazingly, Gibran packs his masterpiece into less than 100 pages, making it a very quick and easy read. Readers will find themselves returning to The Prophet again and again to recapture the beauty of Gibran's words.
The Prophet, which Gibran himself recognized as his greatest masterpiece, is a timeless literary classic. Its truth has touched generations of readers and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
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on July 14, 2001
The Prophet is one of my all-time favorite books. Gibran's writing is ingenious and The Prophet has definitely earned it's place in the canon of spiritual classics and masterpieces of the 20th century. Unfortunately, the audiobook version does not live up to the original text. Sparer's reading is blase' at best: uninteresting, uninspired and uninspiring ... plain dull. He merely read the words but put no heart or soul into them. I whole-heartedly recommend the book to everyone but the audiobook, no....I was very disappointed; I couldn't even finish listening. I wish someone would resurrect the Richard Harris recording -- that one was excellent!
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on November 15, 2005
This is a beautiful piece of literature. It is in the top five of my favorite books. I have read it over and over again and each time I find new wisdom. Kahlil's words will strike your heart.
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I came to the prophet with mixed expectations. Khalil Gibran has been compared with different 20th century philosophers, Nietsche for one, and I was under the impression that he might be one of those oriental writers who was part of the same zeitgeist as that wave of writers who gave way to nihilism and the search for meaninglessness. Not so.

I also was under the impression that there would be a simplicity to Gibran's writing, a kind of moralizing tone that would take one away from autonomous thought. Again, mistaken.

The prophet recounts the story of a religious/spiritual figure who has been waiting for a ship for 12 years, waiting to leave a place where he has lived not of his own will. As he leaves, a woman who seems to be well acquainted with him asks him to impart wisdom on a number of very practical subjects: marriage, talking, working, pleasure, etc. The counsel of the prophet are simple, but not simplistic. There is definite morality, but it is not moralizing. Rather, there is a depth that surpasses the spirit of disregard for meaning that the early 20th century proposed. There is also a respect for life, for the value of individuals, which is manifested in the manner in which the prophet proposes that people be treated, that they treat each other, a quality of thought regarding others that is refreshing. There is value in human life. The prophet shows this.

This short book teaches a number of ideas that are in stark contrast to the manner in which our disposable society functions. Now, here, we do what we want. We look for instant gratification, and while we propose that we should not hurt others, it is only in our ignorance that this is so. Perhaps the prophet hearkens back to a time where values of individuality and autonomy were not what they are now. Perhaps this essay calls us back to remember who we are, more important than we think, less materialistic than would be suggested by how we act. Perhaps there is something to learn from the prophet.
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on January 5, 2004
Most stories have some sort of existential or spiritual point to make. Gibran's story has many. But unlike most books this one sacrifices length and plot, employing a simple and poetic (in prose) directness in order to tell us not so much the meaning of life as how to live. The prophet in Gibran's story is asked by his people to talk about everything from the law to pain and death. And his sermons are both instructive and profound without being over righteous or narcissistic. In fact, so carefully woven and universal is Gibran's prose that one could conceivably adopt The Prophet as some sort of new age holy book. This would, of course, not only be potentially unwise but also unnecessary since its foundations are clearly derived from Judeo-Christian spiritual values. It certainly does not square with many eastern religions in its almost excessive romanticization of notions such as good, evil and God. And even for western readers, it is probably most valuable when considered as an eloquent reminder of our own spiritual heritage. I will keep this book and undoubtedly reread it many times over for its depth and wisdom. It isn't easy to write a modern set of spiritual aphorisms without sounding awkward, cliched, or downright wrong. But Gibran manages it with a natural attractiveness and spiritual sincerity that has assured its status as a modernized tome of timeless spiritual values.
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on April 20, 2003
My late father gave me a pocket sized hardcover edition of this book when I was a teenager. I've had it ever since and still read it from time to time.
Gibran's words are refreshingly nonsectarian yet feel none the less profound, timeless, universal and relevant to all cultures, peoples and times. Some have attributed an alternative spirituality to this work either as praise or as criticism.
I personally don't view the Prophet as a book that advocates any particular spiritual or religious path whatsoever. Regardless of whatever else this book may be may be, I've found the Prophet to be restful and quite enjoyable from time to time. I don't worry about the potential hermeneutic interpretations (that I seriously doubt exist) that might exist therein.
Thus, if it's a spiritual and/or religious text you seek I wouldn't recommend the Prophet. But I don't mean that as a criticism of the Prophet.
I simply view the Prophet as a text on the nonreligious, nonsectarian and universal ideas, ideals, feelings and qualities of what it is and means to be and feel human as viewed from the perspective of another fellow human being who had the same limited perspectives that we all share by virtue of being human beings. Gibran never claimed any differently.
If you only buy one book of prose then this is the one I'd recommend.
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on October 5, 2002
Being an Atheist, it may seem strange to some people that this book holds any meaning for me, but I think that, despite the religious references, people from all walks of life will relate to the poetic prose of The Prophet.
Kahlil Gibran has been greatly celebrated in several countries for the book's simple yet biting phrases. Any two sentences in this legacy of living can be made into a thought-altering quote.
Gibran uses a prose style throughout. Short lines of words written as freestyle poetry create a rich medium to deliver his words.
Each section has something poweful to say, but some of my favorites were those on Work, Giving, Children, Crime and Punishment, Freinds, Time, and of course Love.
As oppposed to most books containing the word "Prophet" anywhere in the title, Gibran expresses life as something to be enjoyed and soaked in as many ways as possible. The book does not stress the punishment of sins, but to bask in pleasure and not look back. Decadence is not suggested, but the basic purpose of Gibran's legacy is to tell us that life is short and must be lived without regrets.
It is a book that includes such beautiful metaphors and velvetty language that you are always sucked into reading "just one more section." What makes the book work is not just the simple genius of the author's statements, but also the beauty of his words, the flow of his language.
I hate to be like everyone else (in more instances than just this), but it does change you. It states what any prophecy should, and allows the religious aspects of the beliefs to take the backseat to the love of life and aspirations.
Buy, read, and live by The Prophet's words.
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on May 20, 2002
If you love someone give them a copy of this book! I was given a copy of this book when I was 18 years old and graduating high school. I had heard a quote from the book during my speech and debate class that made perfect sense to me "Love knows not it's own depths until the hour of seperation", and I made myself a promise to read this book. I had told a friend about my promise to myself and for a graduation present she presented me with The Prophet. I can honestly say that I have never read a book that has touched me as much as this one. It is written almost lyrically. I have since given several different people copies of this book: some friends, some family, some more than friends. Each of them have come away from reading it with a better appreciation of life. When I give this book I ask the recipient only one thing and that is this: if ever they know someone who is going through a rough time in life to pass the book on and let them heal,learn, and realize they are loved by someone no matter how bad things may seem!
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