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Though I was skeptical when handed this book - I am neither into religion nor do I desire to have a hip-zen lifestyle in Southern California - I was immediately drawn in to the way this amazing man's life unfolded. Early on, he set out to be an independent intellectual, constantly learning and living in his "own way." He succeeded, in spite of the odds, on the terms that he set out for himself. This was deeply inspiring to me, and it turned out that despite the surface differences of interest, Alan Watts had a lot to say about the choices one makes in life and how to go about living.
The book is also filled with details that are as fascinating as they are hilarious. A friend of his youth made a pilgrimage to a famous and ancient monastery, which he discovered was "an elaborate homosexual organization." Though he lacked a university degree, Watts was allowed to study at Northwestern, which he described as "the type of place where philosphers worked from 9 to 5." Later, in LA, he hung out with Aldous Huxley, experimenting with hallucinogens, beating drums all night long, and listening to the incredible rhythm of that brilliant man's speech, which he says arrested all conversation in entire restaurants. The list goes on and on.

Warmly recommended.
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on 13 May 2011
This is a fascinating autobiography of a fascinating man. He certainly did live life his own way. He talks in his usual clear and unassuming style of a life that just happened to be very important for the merging of Eastern and Western approaches to life that has taken place since the 1960's. A largely self-educated man with great communication skills who though very knowledgeable stayed rooted to the ground.
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on 25 December 2013
Watts uses language most beautifully to consider the meaning of Zen and its development from ancient eastern traditions. In doing so he presents an extraordinarily persuasive picture of both the nature of reality, and of human conciousness. Why wouldn't any reader subsequently profess Buddhism? The book is a masterpiece ,a fact realised by many of my contemporaries decades ago.
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on 19 October 2014
A great read for anyone who enjoys or agrees with Watts philosophy. This is a deep dive into a mind, like no other and the knowledge he passes over even just in an autobiography is dazzling.
I would recommend this book and Watts philosophy to anyone who has any format of power.
I retracted 1 star for the way the book goes back and forth in Watts life, even though he clearly explains that this was intentional. It just makes it a little to hard to keep up sometimes.
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on 22 October 2014
Perfect. Highly Recommended.
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on 18 July 2014
good read
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on 27 June 2012
Self justification riddles this book.

This came as a big surprise because I rate his other output very highly.

I gave up on it and gave it away to a charity shop.
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