Alan Watts Autobiography Re-released


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If anyone is interested, Alan Watts autobiography, In My Own Way, has recently been brought to press again for the first time in years. Until now, getting a copy of this book meant searching through used-book websites and trying to determine the best compromise between condition and cost. As far as I know, it's now available new only in paperback and costs about $15.00 or thereabouts.

I have also just recently finished reading it, and had an excellent time learning about the man behind such important books as 'The Way of Zen' and 'The Book on the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are' and 'Tao: The Watercourse Way' (to mention only a few). Comparative philosopher, shaman, trickster, guru, imposter: Watts has been called many things, but his contributions in introducing the West to the East are undeniable.

The book is larger than I anticipated originally, but Watts 'gift of the gab', as he calls it, makes this wandering and honest account of his life read effortlessly and enjoyably. Watts discusses all of the exuberant, eccentric, infamous, and inspiring personalities which undoubtedly contributed very much to his philosophy. He speaks of his childhood in England, his eventual immigration to America, life as an Episcopalian priest and his subsequent parting with organized Christianity, his travels as a lecturer, and a colorful line-up of pandits, gurus, scientists, psychoanalysts, philosophers, occultists, artists, and friends which he met along the way.

Watts was criticized by some, both during his life and after his death, on the notion that he was setting himself up as some kind of nonsense guru (Margaret Mead once accused him of being a 'fake swami'). But, Watts always maintained that he never ascribed this role to himself, nor encouraged it in his works, nor asked for it at his innumerable lectures. Certainly, a man that was pompous about his spiritual exploits would cringe at the thought of discussing such things in his life as failed marriages, stupid decisions, extra-marital affairs, and hack fatherhood. With In My Own Way, Watts is unafraid of what the reader may discover about him, and this makes the read all the more interesting. To those who would criticize him for simply being who he is, without reproach for himself, Watts admits: "They'll just have to put up with me, just like they have to put up with the rain."

thanks for the information. I love autobiographies but have never read this one. Many moons ago I did read a few of the books by Alan Watts and still have a copy of his "Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown", sub-titled "A Mountain Journal", which contains many interesting essays on various subjects. I would think his autobiography would make good - even possibly illuminating! - reading.

I'll keep a look out. Thanks again.