The audio version author, blogger, Zen teacher, and Zero Defex bassist Brad Warner’s first and probably best known book, “Hardcore Zen” is surprisingly entertaining. I don’t mean that to be harsh on Brad, but to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of audiobooks. They’ve always reminded me of my parents’ long-winded Zig Ziglar self-help tapes left over from the early ‘90s. There’s something in me that just prefers to hold a mass of paper and glue in my hands, but I didn’t miss that so much here. Brad keeps what would be a six hour gab fest lively by interspersing his reading with the songs that he talks about at different points in the book, bringing in some of his work from Zero Defex and Dimentia 13, not to mention his Yoda and David Carradine impressions in the beginning.
What Brad keeps poking at throughout the book is this pesky little thing called “Reality.” We can’t really know what that is unless we see it for ourselves, says Brad, but why take his word on it? Better yet, why take my word on whether or not his audiobook is worth listening to? Somebody else on this vast plane called the Internet might say this book is total crap. In fact, you might want to read that review too so that you can form a more balanced opinion. The only sense of “Reality” I can glean from this book is that, in my opinion, Brad is one hell of an entertainer and he’s got some guts. He puts his opinions out there and gets his share of criticism from Buddhists and punks alike. In spite of all of that, he continues to be wry, witty, and honest. If you want the self-help audiobook that will change your life, steer clear of this one. If you want something well-written that can hit you like a punch in the face at any moment, this is your book.