The Book

On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
Length: 4 hrs and 51 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (810 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Modern Western culture and technology is inextricably tied to the belief in the existence of a self as a separate ego, separated from and in conflict with the rest of the world. In this classic book, Watts provides a lucid and simple presentation of an alternative view based on Hindu and Vedantic philosophy.

©1966 Alan Watts (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Book

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Invaluable Insight

Just to get it out of the way, I gave the 'performance' 3 stars because the narrator has a bit of a lisp, but I got used to it. Anyway, the actual review:

I've long been a fan of Alan Watts. He communicates concepts from the East with much respect to the fundamental differences we in the West have in in terms of our understanding of reality and the thought process behind our actions. Most importantly, he does so with a sense of humor. I laughed out loud innumerable times throughout 'The Book', whether because of his taut mastery of dry humor or how it's used to illuminate something complicated in a refreshingly simple manner.

I've digested a lot of literature on Buddhism and meditation, and have been practicing every day for about a year now, and what's discussed in this book brought satisfaction to a number of puzzles and frustrations I've acquired on my journey, some that I didn't even realize I had until he laid them out for me. Not only did it teach me where I am on the path to understanding, but it instilled confidence in myself for the way forward.

I'd recommend this book to anyone, not until you've found some modicum of consistent success (good practice) with meditation, otherwise some of the musings may seem too ethereal to be of any value. Trust me, they aren't.

16 people found this helpful

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Alan Watts is THE MAN! The HUMAN!

Alan Watts gives me so many light bulb moments when he talks that I feel all warm and bright and hopeful. He is the antidote to all the stupidity we are exposed to everyday.

That's all.

18 people found this helpful

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Master Alan Watts

Thank you. Thank you for reading me the book i once read. Thank you for reading me something i enjoy. Thank you for enjoying something I enjoy. Thank you.

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Greatly enjoyed listening to narrator.

The only thing that could have made listening to this book more perfect is if Alan Watts had narrated it himself.

7 people found this helpful

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Worst Alan Watts book I've ever listened to.

Wow- he was so rambling. It was really really hard to follow. I normally love Alan Watts

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Profound

Maybe If I read 20 more times I'll come to understand everything this book says

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Superb! Enlightening!

Eloquence of what is and its finest. If you’re looking for peace in a world that has given you the option of ignorant religion or bleak death, this book untangles our deep connection to everything and offers a third, much needed perspective.

3 people found this helpful

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Mindblowing, eye opening, and beautifully written

Mindblowing, eye opening, and beautifully written... A must for everyone who is in the searching of oneself

3 people found this helpful

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This may be THE Book.

Buckle your seatbelt. Alan Watts is about to take you for a ride that might change your life. A brief, but comprehensive exploration of metaphysics, philosophy and the meaning of life.
It may take one 100's of books and 1000's of hours to compile the knowledge and understanding presented in this book.

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Life Changing

An excellent, and elegant explanation of the individuals place in the cosmos joining eastern philosophies with western explanation and belief. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-19

worth it.

The narrator has a bit of a tedious voice but overall it was worth listening to.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kim H.
  • 01-07-19

Philosophy genius

Alan Watts' spills his wisdom and beautiful soul within this book letting you see life in a different perspective - one that should really be taught to us. Read well by Sean Runnette.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Thurloxton Adam
  • 08-31-19

Read it

Release yourself to this with an open heart and your mind will follow. This is the best book you will ever find.

1 person found this helpful

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  • vita losiute
  • 05-24-19

life changing

this book is perfect for those who are consciously awoke or spiritually awakening!!! love it

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  • Myles
  • 02-01-19

Very inspiring way to change my world view

very holistic way to see the world. I like the way he combines that integrates things together. Lateral, holistic and integrative thinking is how humans will evolve on to something better. the olden days of thinking tribal and narrow or no longer advantageous. we have become so global and so connected due to technology that we have to increase ability to connect collaborate co-create and empathize. the consequences of not thinking integrative is dangerous to our health and happiness. we are seeing with the revolution of gender roles for example that we have to think broader and more nuanced. oversimplified black and white thinking is not helping us anymore we need to be nuanced. gender war race war these are created out of lack of integrative and diverse thinking.

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  • George Boylan
  • 12-06-18

Brilliant!

Great book from start to finish! The narrator is very easy to Listen to. This book makes things a lot clearer

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert Lumley
  • 09-29-15

Life changing

This IS the book we have been looking for, undeniable truth and thrilling in its premise. Incredible

6 people found this helpful

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  • billco
  • 11-17-16

Vedanta for 20th century.

Needs more than one reading, that's for sure. It's hard to remain separate from the universal atom after this.

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  • shane
  • 10-19-16

Amazing

Articulate and enchanting view of life and the world. Alan Watts was and still is one of the best thinkers in philosophy.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-17-20

Watts Opus - Lovely, bravo & funny too. Gift idea!

Dear, dear Allan, wherever you are. In this Book, your Opus shines bright, as was your life, was, your Opus. i remember you. :-) In this short listen - you'll find a myriad of contemplations that our ego and you, the 'I', may witness with no more concern than a cloud passing, as it does, in it's own unique way, once, and only once, and you by happenstance, are there to witness. Fear not, that 'I' may one day diminsh, to instead rejoice, every moment, that we are the 'I's', for now. May you all find inner peace and be truly happy.

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  • Marlene Visser
  • 07-03-18

This is quite literally "The Book"...

You have to let go of what you know and then read this book. For anyone who has not heard of Alan Watts before, I recommend listening to some of his lectures on YouTube. It takes time to embrace some of rhe the concepts he speaks of, but they are well worth the mental battle.

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  • Vasemaca
  • 08-31-17

Simply stylish .

In typical Watt's style .He explains metaphysics and does it so well.I have listened to it 10 times.