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Book reviews for "Watt,_Alan" sorted by average review score:

Behold the Spirit; A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion
Published in Paperback by Random House Trade Paperbacks (1972)
Author: Alan Wilson Watts
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One of His Best!
_Behold The Spirit_ is one of the most clearly written, profound, and enlightening books on theology I have ever read. This book represents the ideal combination of profundity and readability - never again will you say that a book must be difficult to read just because it deals with extremely complex and deep subject matter. Like most of Alan Watts' books, _Behold the Spirit_ is an absolute pleasure to read, yet competently deals with universal metaphysical questions which have troubled man for many centuries. For instance, Alan Watts talks at length about the problem of what God was doing before He created the universe. Was He just sitting there alone? The answer can be found in the book.

To me, this type of theological question is quite fascinating. I appreciated the unorthodox and critical approach Watts took in examining a wide range of theological and general metaphysical issues. In other words, this is not an evangelical or fundamentalist Christian book; it is a critical and sceptical examination of Christianity and man's belief in God. I highly recommend this work to anyone, and if you only want to read one or two of Alan Watts' most important works, they should be _Behold the Spirit_ and _Psychotherapy East and West_. These two works represent the solid core of Alan Watts' philosophy. They are rigourous, profound, and comprehensive psychological works which are also remarkably succinct, miserly, and readable. With Alan Watts, you can obtain large amounts of elightenment in a short amount of time, with minimal aggravation and headache.

excellent introduction to Watts
this is my favorite book by Alan Watts. originally published in 1947 while he was still an Anglican priest, it is perhaps a better introduction to his work for newcomers--not only because the book is written in a readable and accessible style, but also for his clear discussion of basic tenets and flaws in the Western/Protestant framework of theology and religion.

from there, he shows how the mystical aspects of Christianity can reconcile with more intuitive traditions such as Zen Buddhism--and break beyond Western culture's materialist representation of religion.

i found this book useful because of the straightforward writing style, and because it depicts Watts' own thoughts on mysticism, religion, and God at a foundational level, using practical examples from various rites and liturgies. Watts shows us how to be alive, spiritually.

better than a cup of steaming java
During my days as a resident assistance of a christian fellowship i discovered this book in a rather large box donated to me by my sister. Amongst the books their were titles by Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copland. I perused these and hastily laid them aside. then i commenced this book by Dr. Watts and my my jaw hit the floor. what a radical departure from the sterile christianity I was mired in.
I started to incorporate Watt's teaching in my bible studiesand eventually i left that bastion of provincial thought and started
my own search.
All of alan's writings are absolutely enlightening i would recommend this book to anyone, no matter what they denominate themselves

This Is It, and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Random House Trade Paperbacks (1973)
Author: Alan Wilson, Watts
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Short but Good
_This Is It_ by Alan Watts is a good solid work, but is too short to provide the rigorous instruction needed to achieve any appreciable amount of enlightenment or Zen Satori. That said, it is a wonderful, enjoyable, and profound book page for page, and is essential to round out your collection of Alan Watts' more recent and well-known works. _This Is It_ is also perfect for someone who does not want a megadose of strenuous philosophy and theology; it is ideal for those who are new to psychological-religious non-fiction, or who do not have the time to hack through some kind of magnum-opus epic of philosophy. If, however, you want to read one of the more comprehensive books by Alan Watts, I would recommend _Psychotherapy East and West_, which is his best work.

Great explanation of the non-dual
Alan Watts explains what unity/non-dual consciousness or nothingness really is and explains how it may be different from what many people think it is. He uses various interesting examples to make his case and I thought they were very effective. Ken Wilber has elaborated on this error that people tend to make as well but I think Toru Sato's "Rhythm, Relationships, and Transcendence" really explains it the best. Anyways all of these author's books are well worth reading. They are all brilliant! We are very fortunate that these people write books.

Just do it...
Yes, the Nike ads have captured the essence of Zen. As Alan Watts puts it, This Is It.

Logical paradoxes aside, the "just shut up and get on with it" approach to Life is one of the key elements in Zen. The 'kill the Buddha' psychology of avoiding the pitfalls of externally arising enlightenment is well in line with Watt's own philosophy.

Completeness comes from within and from a place of non-duality, which the koans of Zen are designed to lead you towards. One of the key human errors and the cause of immense suffering is the belief that Life must make sense. Who ever said that? And make sense to whom?

The Techno Bible in The Hitch Hiker's Guide bore the words "Dont Panic" on the cover. That's a good starting point. Add to that Just Do It and This Is It, and you're going to be just fine.

Another great read from the man who gave us The Two Hands Of God.

Joyous Cosmology
Published in Paperback by Random House Trade Paperbacks (1965)
Author: Alan W. Watts
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Psychedelic Rememberance: Ecstacies & Early Warnings
This classic by Alan Watts is one of my favorite books for remembering the elevating side of the psychedelic experience. It
was sensitively written during the period when psychologists were
more optimisitic about lsd psychotherapy: after all, it gets the
patient to talking, and that is what pays, especially if the result is elevating fascination. Furthermore, many of
the effects were memorable and salutory. Of course, since those
days it has become evident that lsd-25 is not entirely foolproof, and that frequent use at unknown dosages using material of unknown quality can easily lead an explorer to a hospital where he may have to recover from an induced nervous
breakdown. The reveries of Alan Watts concerning his experiences are agreeable and have a sacred quality to them. However, Interested investigators would be well-advised to read LSD: MY PROBLEM CHILD by Albert Hofmann, the chemist who discovered lsd-25. This book is less sanguine, more medically realistic, and contains specific information about disagreeable effects at high dosages, information on specific toxicity, other accounts of pharmaceutical industry professionals regarding the useful
properties and post-use side-effects, scenarios for safe usage,
and so on. All that will be left is a hunt for some blessed land of freedom where men may still take lsd once in a while without the hauting side-effects of police pursuit, imprisonment, and jailhouse blues.

The Joyous Cosmology
My best friend let me borrow 'The Joyous Cosmology' and I read it in 2 hours. An intellegent perspective of such things was very interesting to read because most of the time when you hear about Acid, Mescaline, and shrooms, all you hear is a bunch of incohearent praise with nothing to back it up. With a scientific understanding of it, I would feel a lot safer doing such things. A super book!

Entheogens: Professional Listing
"The Joyous Cosmology" has been selected for listing in "Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments: An Entheogen Chrestomathy."

Climber's Guide to Smith Rock
Published in Paperback by Falcon Publishing Company (1992)
Author: Alan Watts
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Excellent Historical Perspective
Alan Watts did an excellent job in putting together this guide. The topos and maps are high quality, the photos are excellent and it's easy to navigate. But what really sets this guide apart from many others is the quality of the historical perspective and the overall readability of the text. Watts played an important part in the development of sport climbing in the US and thus was a controversial figure for years. His treatment of those tumultious times is worth the cost of the guide.

Going to Smith in 2 days.
One of the best guidebooks out there. The topos and pictures are clear and the descriptions are detailed. The author has probably done all the climbs so he should know. The topos even give specific gear needed at certain places on the climb. Where the author's climbing style lays is obvious, he seems to dislike anything with a chimney. Quality of routes are measured by a 4 star system. The author uses R and X rating. This guide has everything you could ask for. If you only want one guide to the area, this is it.

THE Smith Rock Guide book
This is the greatest guide book to Smith Rock State Park ever. It has it all. That is all there is to it. This is the perfect guide to the perfect climbing area.

The Essence of Alan Watts
Published in Paperback by Celestial Arts (1978)
Author: Alan Wilson Watts
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The Essence of Alan Watts, The Year 2000
I have written my review today 4/1/2000. I did not finish my biography review list. I want to make sure that you put me on the biography review list so that people can contact me by my e-mail address. Pease do this for me. Thanks!

The Essence Of Alan Watts, The Year 2000
I already wrote my review; i wanted you to place my name on the WRITER'S REVIEW LIST. I wrote my review, and did the information for the writer's list. BUT, i somehow disconnected myself from you and me before i could enter my writer's review application on my computer. Please enter me on your writer's review list. You have all the information;except, i did not write a biographical paragraph, as was requested. I did correctly send or submit my review of, The Essence of Alan Watts, The Year 2000.

The Essence of Alan Watts, The Year 2000
The content of this book is divided into 10 modes:EGO,GOD,Meditation,Incense,Nothingness,Death,Time,The Nature Of Man,The Cosmic Drama,Philosophical Fantasies. The basic content is that you do not exist as EGO; you are "free" to be a organism/environment,thus releasing you, so to speak, from being "trapped" inside your body as though you were a prisoner. The EGO content, in my opinion, equates to 90% of all of the book. Next, the content, GOD: we can know GOD most profoundly, the most "truly", in not knowing an "image" of GOD, or in not knowing GOD. For WATTS, not knowing GOD, equates to FAITH in the obvious "existence" of GOD. Meditation is to get in touch with yourself through "reality," by closing out all of your active "thoughts." Bottom line: you exist as "reality." FINAL thoughts:Incense connects a person's sense of smell with all of the universe. Nothingness is the "what" that allows something to happen. It is background, and will always be seen as "structure." Death, you are already "dead;" however, you will HAPPEN again. Time is breaking the habit of thinking about yourself in the "past;" and JUMP starting yourself into the "always" now. The Nature of Man is that he is "unhappy" because of the lack of knowlege between WORK and PLAY. They are the same; man looks at them as separate,thus going crazy or almost insane. We ned to get our heads and genitals together/with work and play together: so that we create life as a pleasure or "unified" one. The Cosmic Drama is GOD playing all the acts of the "play" earth. GOD is us; meaning no victims. All horrible "things," pain, human torture,etc. are victimless, because GOD is playing the victims. In the Cosmic Drama we realize that we are GOD. Watts ends with Philosophical Fantasies. Here by three fantasies, Watts ties together the content of the EGO and the final content of the BOOK. (1) Everybody is a constant "reproduction." (2) Every living being thinks it's human:worms,virus,etc. All living beings look at themseles as the center of the universe. (3) How do stars begin? In the third fantasy, Watts unites all of the book. A planet is one star's "way" of becoming another star. A star will in turn explode to form another planet like/earth. All life forms up to the present day on earth, came as a result of the previous star exploding. And where are we today? We are a reproduction of what Watts defined in the chapter of the EGO. Watts says,"if you understand that you are always in the same place, just as every creature thinks it's a human being, and just as every being turns out to be a reproduction, whether it's electronic or biological, then you understand the "nature" of LIFE." And just as planets may be stars' ways of becoming other stars, you're always in the same place. And where is that place? You can ask, if that is so, if the place in which you are now is the place where everything and everybody else really is? However, we pretend there is an arrangement to be somewhere else, so the place where you are is the place where you are always pretending you ought to be somewhere else. WE think we should be somewhere else, but that is a "trick" we are playing on ourselves. Watts says, "when you discover you are playing a "trick" on yourself, and see through it, you become calm, serene and enjoy the game of life for what is-----FUN. P.S. I am finished. I have written a complete detailed version of this book; if you would want me to send you a copy for whatever reason, i would be glad to do so. You can do what you want with my long version. Keep it for legal publication,etc. PLEASE, let me KNOW? THANKS, a philosopher, and WATTS "follower for many years," John B. Larson Florence , Arizona

The Method of Zen
Published in Paperback by Random House Trade Paperbacks (1974)
Authors: Eugen Herrigel, R. F. Hull, and Alan W. Watts
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Clear and Concise
Of the many books I have read concerning the subject of Zen Buddhism, none can be considered more lucid, succint, and enthralling than this book. Herrigel's knack for brevity will be more than welcome to the Occidental who has searched for such a book. Authors such as Alan Watts, and especially D.T. Suzuki have no qualms about making the claim that Zen eschews verbosity and does not espouse any sort of philosophy, and that it lacks the abstraction of Westerners. However, after reading these works, my head reeled with the constant paradoxes set forth by Suzuki who consistently and simultaneously reminded me that I wouldn't understand such subjects until enlightened. This led me to wonder...then why have you written you a 300 page book describing such an experience? No matter though; what THIS book is is a wonderful account of the changes and insights that happen to a person willing to give himself to the path that Zen offers.

Companion Book to "Zen in the Art of Archery"
Eugen Herrigel wrote 2 very important books on Zen that are mandatory reading for everyone. "The Method of Zen" illuminates us even further than his first book. Another book that is mandatory reading on Zen is- "Zen Action/Zen Person" by Kasulis.

an engaging, artless and uplifting book
For anyone who's ever been attracted by the tranquility and equanimity of Zen, yet put off by the massive tomes written on it, this book, in its lyrical simplicity, will allow you to feel zen.

Play to Live
Published in Paperback by And Books (1982)
Authors: Alan W. Watts and Mark Watts
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This work bristles with the energy of Alan Watts because it truly is the "voice" of Alan Watts, culled from his actual talks and put together with the respectful eye of his son, Mark.

Alan Watts is a joy to read. Like a natural anti-depressant, these illuminating, entertaining words are capsules of ancient teachings framed in language that is readily understood and instantly enjoyed.

Alan Watts was adventurous and peaceful, wise but personable. That essential essence really comes through nicely in this work.

finding stillness in now
This book is small, and I read it in about two days while visiting my boyfriend in some hot springs. I had been stressed out about my future and past, and this book was exactly what i needed. In this, Mark Watts shows you the importance of living in the now, and gives you ways to do it. In one way it is impractical, because in todays world it is all but impossible to not atleast think of the future, but, it does make you more aware of the fear you constantly have inside you, and worry, all based on what may or did happen. Well written and informational, I would reccommend this book to anyone who is the least bit stressed out about anything.

Typical Watts Playing to Live
Play To Live is a book published by Mark Watts, the living son of Alan Watts. Play to Live is a collection of various speechs given by Alan Watts in his living years. Mark is quick to point out in the proloque his fathers philosophy that the spoken word is "entirely different" from the written word. Never having the opportunity to hear Watts live (being too young), and tapes have the same problems of writing, I thoroughly enjoy all of the works I can get my hands on. Play To Live brings forth many of the points found in other watts writings with the special spontinaity of a transcript. Watts discuuses his views of the traps of western society, marriage, the problem of seperate ego, doing good for others, and demonstartes just how fun topics can be. I would recomend this book to anyone who is familiar with Watts work. It is a great opportunity to see Watts attack the same problems from slightly different perspectives. My only regret is I did not get to hear the speeches live. Hope you enjoy as much as is did!

phil p

Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques: Theory and Practice
Published in Hardcover by Addison-Wesley Pub Co (31 October, 1992)
Authors: Alan H. Watt and Mark Watt
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Excellent survey on graphics but has a lot of errors
AART is all in all a good book. It covers many graphics related topics and is very interesting reading although some of the topics are not all that relevant for modern 3D hardware accelerated computers.

The book is divided into 3 parts:

The first part is an ultra compact summary of the computer graphics needed to understand the rest of the book. This part is virtually impossible to understand for people new to graphics - so I recommend reading Foley, et al: Computer Graphics - Principles and Practice first.

The second part covers rendering and is an introduction to shadows, mapping, ray tracing and radiosity.

The third part covers animation techniques such as bones and blending.

The book tries to cover as many things as possible and the consequence is, at times, that it does not use enough space on some things to make them comprehendable. I guess, this is probably only intended as a survey of alternative techniques and references to the original articles are given for interested readers.

Finally, the book contains a fair number of errors (one every couple of pages) many of which is in vital equations. There has been no corrections done to the book since its original release in 1992 and the official errata isn't good either.

For the sake of other readers I have therefore compiled an unofficial errata list for the book and I recommend that all readers take a look at it. Find it by searching for "watt errata" on Google.

Repeated material
A good book but a lot of it was repeated material from Watt's other books.

Defintely have to own it
Its a wonderful book which covers various topics and enhances your knowledge. I have used it during my masters program, for the games/ game engine i develop and defintely in the future.

Cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown : a mountain journal
Published in Unknown Binding by Cape ()
Author: Alan Watts
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Nunc Dimittis
This was the 13th of his books I've read this year, and I think it will be the final one. After a while, all his books begin to sound the same. I thought he was way off base in the chapter titled, "Was Jesus a Freak?" He may have taught seminary and served as an Anglican priest, but he sure didn't know much about Christianity. It is typical of his books that he makes false or misleading statements about Christian ideas, and then proceeds to show why Christianity itself is in error. What stupidity from a brilliant mind. The chapter titled "What Shall We Do with the Church?" was unrealistic. Many churches have indeed implemented the changes he recommended in this book, but the result has been declining membership for the past three decades. The only churches or denominations which seem to thrive are those which emphasize formality and tradition. The rest of the book was mostly a re-hash of his other books. Well-written as always, but nothing really new in terms of topics. This has been one of the more interesting reading projects I have engaged in. Well worth my time and effort, but, after thirteen of his books, it's time to move on.

rebel with a cause
Timeless wisdom wrapped in beautiful language that soothes the soul. Alan Watts was a brilliant storyteller who managed to stir things up a bit before leaving on an optimistic note.

This work is edgier than his others and will satisfy the more rebellious new agers.

just marvelous
This is perhaps the best of the half dozen or so Watts books I've read. Watts is a brilliant philosopher of the "Big Picture", and it is all wonderfully laid out here: Cosmic consciousness, Tantric Buddhism, the Hippies, Tao... he nails them all in splendid fashion. Highly recommendable.

The Supreme Identity: An Essay on Oriental Metaphysics and the Christian Religion
Published in Paperback by Random House Trade Paperbacks (1972)
Author: Alan Wilson Watts
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Dense and Potent
_The Supreme Identity_ is one of the more important among the earlier works by Alan Watts. It engages the reader with a rigorous theological discussion which is thought provoking yet mentally taxing. At times he lapses into hair-splitting minutae in examining theological issues, and the result is what the author himself admitted was a "sometimes tortuous argument". However, I would still recommend this one to anyone who wants to go right after the meat of Alan Watts' theology, or for those who wish read stuff from his earlier Christian stage as opposed to his later works, when he dealt almost exclusively with Eastern religion. Before you read this one, I would strongly suggest you read _Behold the Spirit_, which is more readable but just as profound as _The Supreme Identity_.

Good book; very informative
Watts is doing here what many people have done in the past: write about the "common core" in all religions. Specifically, he is writing about our "true self," the eternal self in all of us
that is identical with the Eternal Self "out there." He covers
Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Vedanta. Even though Watts was trained as a Christian minister, this book is not traditionally Christian, although he defends many Christian beliefs. Excellent book, and very thought-provoking.

a mind's eye opener
when i first encountered this book in the mid-eighties i was a pastor of a small church in pennsylvania. i am now a dance musician at slippery rock university and must say that The Supreme Identity is probably watt's most enlightening work. it will be outright rejected and considered dangerous by probably most religious minded folks but that will only serve to make it more interesting to anyone who is ready for it's message. if you feel that religion in its current form is simply too small minded and practically irrelevant but don't know exactly why, then read this book. watts is not anti-religion by any means.
but he courageously and clearly sets forth the truth of the human/divine continuum by elucidating the essence of vedantist realization. he uses clear and plain language with that wry humor
that endeared him to so many. this book changed my life nearly twenty years ago. i'm glad i read it and hope many find it in their hands in years to come..

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