Best Alan Watts Books

A British philosopher, scholar, and speaker are known for translating and popularizing Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism for a western audience, Alan Wilson Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973). He moved to the USA in 1938 and began Zen training in New York.

He was born in Chislehurst, England. He was a local councilor and a part of the executive board of the World Conference of the Faiths in London from 1932-1939 in his father’s office. In the interpretation of modern translators such as Swami Vivekananda, D. T. Suzuki, and Madame Blavatsky, he read Bergson Nietzche, Havelock Ellis, Jung, Bernard Shaw, and Eastern.

In 1934, a member of the Theosophical Society introduced DmitrijeMitrinovic to the Yugoslav mystic with whom he identified. Between 1934 and 1938, his first book, The Spirit of Zen, appeared, and he has edited the Buddhist Lodge of London newspaper, The Middle Way.

He toured universities around the continent as a lecturer since 1956. In KQED in San Francisco, he directed the East Wisdom and the Modern Life series. Here are some books by Alan watts one should read.

1: The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

The Wisdom of Insecurity

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Publication Date: February 8, 2011
  • Pages: 160

Book Description: We forget to accept this here and now by spending our entire time dreaming and preparing for the future and lamenting the past. Tomorrow is such a topic we forget to enjoy. Based on Eastern philosophy and religion, Alan Watts reveals that we cannot and cannot even learn something worth learning just by understanding what we do not know.

Our Opinion: Alan Watts was able to interact in an open way challenging philosophical problems. Our Western way of thinking is dominated by dualism, eschatology, and an immutable ego illusion. This is our Western way of thinking.

2: Meaning of Happiness

The Meaning of Happiness

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication Date: August 25, 2018
  • Pages: 280

Book Description: Deep down, most people believe that happiness is because they have or do something. In his pioneering third novel, Alan Watts, which was initially published in 1940, he offered a more challenging thesis: authentic happiness derives from the embracement of existence itself as a whole in all its contradictions and paradoxes, an attitude which Watts calls a “way to acceptance.”

Our Opinion: Reading it was a great pleasure. It was worth every thread. I enjoyed using the Biblical prodigal son to equate him to the self-confident civilized person and infant, animal or savage.

3: Become What you Are

Become What You Are

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: Shambhala
  • Publication Date: March 11, 2003
  • Pages: 144

Book Description: Watts shows the intellect, playful thinking, simplicity of language that made him so perennially popular as a western interpreter of Eastern thought in this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never available in book form.

It draws on several theological practices and covers such subjects as the difficulty of looking at one’s life ‘. It is the Taoist attitude to harmonious living, the vocabulary limitations faced with ineffable metaphysical realities, and Christian psychological symbolism.

Our Opinion: A magnificent little introduction to Eastern philosophies, with useful parallels to Western practices like Christianity. An excellent reading, but particularly during the current global crisis, was highlighted by the pandemic.

4: In My Way

In My Own Way

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication Date: May 2, 2007
  • Pages: 384

Book Description: Alan Watts traces his intellectual, theological transformation from a young child in rural England of religious Conservatives into a freewheelers’ spiritual instructor who has challenged Westerners to stand up and think for themselves.

Watts has been a philosophically renounced and widespread self-taught since he started this academic life and came into Buddhism with the Christmas Humphrey’s and D’s teachings.

Our Opinion: Watts uses the most beautiful language to consider the essence and growth of Zen through ancient eastern practices. He portrays both the nature of existence and human consciousness as a prominent image. The book is a masterpiece, as many of my peers have realized through the years.

5: Nature, Man, and Woman

Nature, Man and Woman

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Publication Date: February 27, 1991
  • Pages: 224

Book Description: Western thought and culture have unified around a variety of constructed ideas that people stand apart and that they need to manipulate nature; that the mind is somehow superior to the body; that all sexuality requires a seduction that in some way underlies our exploitation of the earth, our lack of faith in feelings, and our solitude and inability to love. In this sense, the Watts question these assumptions fundamentally, building on Taoism’s precepts to offer an alternative view of the human being and the world in which the discrepancies between oneself and others, spirit and matter, make way for a holistic approach.

Our Opinion: This may be my favorite of all Watts books. He regarded this as his best-written (not that he was not even putting down the content) according to his autobiography In My Way (something else in his best).

6: Out of Your Mind

Out of Your Mind

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: Profile Books
  • Publication Date: July 11, 2019
  • Pages: 192

Book Description: Six of the most engaging lessons by this legendary thinker about how to break through the logical mind walls are being published for the first time from your mind. Alan Watts is the voice for all those who seek an understanding of their identity and position worldwide, providing answers to generations of spiritual seekers. This book invites you both to discover the art of a ‘controlled accident,’ what happens when you stop taking your life so earnestly and start enjoying it with utter honesty, both for those new and familiar to him.

Our Opinion: Superb. Only unplug your thoughts; let them flow. It will leave you wondering butlet us make sense of it within a couple of days after you have laid down the book. Flip inside and wiggle yourself with it.

7: Does it Matters: An Essay on Man’s Relation to Materiality

Does It Matter

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2010
  • Pages: 138

Book Description: This is a collection of essays that depict the latest thoughts of Alan Watts on the significant problems of the man’s relationship with his material world. The fundamental theme is that civilized people confuse the sign with the truth, their methods of representing and measuring the world itself, thereby putting themselves in the ludicrous situation of choosing money rather than richness and eating the menu instead of dinner.

Our Opinion: Alan Watts will somehow reverse our simple beliefs and make the world more meaningful by doing so. “Does It Matter” is a small collection of essays on Western man’s relationship to everyday materials (for example, food, clothing, money). Watts shakes our minds with certainty.

8: Psychotherapy East and West

Psychotherapy East & West

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication Date: February 14, 2017
  • Pages: 208

Book Description: Alan Watts was historically regarded as an incisive scholar of East and West theory and psychology before becoming a countercultural hero. This classic of 1961 shows Watts his in-depth knowledge of both Western and Eastern Buddhist, Taoist, Vedanta, and Yoga philosophical philosophies.

He explored the human dilemma in a hostile world and challenged the social norms and illusions linking and limiting contemporary human beings.

Our Opinion: I had been a great fan of Alan’s lectures for years, wanted to read him, and while he had a rough touch, he was utterly fond of him. The cross-over between my moral conviction and the lessons I learned about mental health were amazingly cathartically written. There were also several new study points.

9: Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life

Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication Date: July 12, 2012
  • Pages: 256

Book Description: Watts is a familiar place that interprets East Rituals and spreads through new lands and examines the basis of counterculture in Asia, Siberia, and America’s ancient tribal and shamanic cultures. He deals with some of the most critical questions of the era:

What is the essence of reality? And how does the relationship between a person and society affect this reality? The conversations demonstrated the extraordinary reach of a prime philosopher in discussing and describing the 1960s counterculture as Alan Watts only could in their jokes and provocative style.

Our Opinion: Since about a year ago, I owned this book, I still pick it up on the library shelf. So far, I have read it three times, and I extract something new and exciting every time. This book is a comforting reading for any avid Watts listener.

10: The 90-day Rewrite

The 90-Day Rewrite

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  • Author: Alan Watts
  • Publisher: Writers Tribe Books
  • Publication Date: August 14, 2012
  • Pages: 302

Book Description: The Novel for 90-Days focuses on how the writer is naturally and in the right mind. The 90-Day Rewrite brings us forward and helps us to marry instinct with the stringency of the more analytical and logical processes of the left brain.

This is achieved in a well-organized manner that breaks up the transition to the structure of three acts in thirteen weeks, with each one further divided into separate tasks to consider and work on each day.

Our Opinion: The adorable thing in general about Al Watt and this book is that he loves us and addresses us as his colleagues in the series of daily letters that are the backbone of that book. There are no impenetrable plot structure charts online, and you will not find gimmicky forums to create the ideal scene or track hook.


Is happiness the purpose of life?

For him and most of his predecessors, satisfaction is not a feeling but a long-term action pattern, which was your moral character. Aristoteles says, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole meaning and rest of the human life.”

How many books are written by Alen Watts?

Alan Watts has written 27 books.

Is Alan Watts still alive?

No, he died in 1973 at the age of 58.

Was Alan Watts ever married?

Yes, he was married twice.

Is desire a bad thing?

It is the way your brain tells you that something is lacking in your life. Desire can be an enjoyable and essential part of being human, despite what some people believe.

Why do humans want what they cannot have?

It can sometimes feel as though you always seek something that you cannot get. It can handle that the more people pull away, the more they can. This is partly because of our ego and self-worth and partly because of our skewed sense of value.

Conclusion: Alan Watts has written over 25 books on different subjects, including cybernetics, semantics, process theory, natural history, anthropology, and eastern and western religion. Some of his famous books include The Zen’s Way (1957), The Eastern and Western Psychotherapy (1961), Modern Alchemy (1958), Asia and western man’s Legacy (1937), Happiness’s Sense (1940), and Joyous Cosmology (1962), amongst others.

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