Alan Watts

During his lifetime, Alan Watts wrote 25 books on the topics of philosophy, the psychology of religion, and mystical experience. He also wrote more than a dozen booklets, and contributed chapters to a plethora of books. Since his passing in 1973, nearly 40 additional books have been published to date, including writings from his early years and works derived from his numerous lectures. Watts also wrote many popular and academic articles, and much has been published about him. Below is a comprehensive account of his book-related works.


1932 — An Outline of Zen Buddhism [booklet]

1936 — Seven Symbols of Life: Being an Essay on Eternal Verities as Expressed in the Images of the Lotus, of Water, Wind, Fire, Man, Woman, and Child [booklet]

1936 — The Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East

1937 — The Legacy of Asia and Western Man: A Study of the Middle Way

1939 — The Psychology of Acceptance: The Reconciliation of the Opposites in Eastern Thought and in Analytical Psychology [booklet]

1940 — The Meaning of Happiness: The Quest for Freedom of the Spirit in Modern Psychology and the Wisdom of the East

1944 — Theologia Mystica: Being the Treatise of Saint Dionysius, Pseudo-Areopagite, on Mystical Theology, Together with the First and Fifth Epistles [booklet]

1946 — The Meaning of Priesthood [booklet]

1947 — Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion

1947 — Zen Buddhism: A New Outline and Introduction [booklet republished in 1948 as Zen]

1948 — Zen [enlarged republication of Zen Buddhism (1947)]

1950 — Easter: Its Story and Meaning

1950 — The Supreme Identity: An Essay on Oriental Metaphysic and the Christian Religion

1951 — The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

1953 — Myth and Ritual in Christianity

1955 — The Way of Liberation in Zen Buddhism [original booklet, published by the American Academy of Asian Studies]

1957 — The Way of Zen

1958 — Nature, Man, and Woman

1959 — Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen

1960 — This Is It: And Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience

1961 — Psychotherapy East and West

1962 — The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness

1963 — The Two Hands of God: The Myths of Polarity

1964 — Beyond Theology: The Art of Godmanship

1965 — The “Deep-in” View: A Conversation with Alan Watts [booklet]

1966 — The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

1967 — Nonsense

1968 — Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal

1970 — Does it Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality

1971 — Erotic Spirituality: The Vision of Konarak

1972 — In My Own Way: An Autobiography, 1915-1965

1971 — The Theologia Mystica of Saint Dionysius [New and revised booklet: Alan Watts Journal]

1972 — The Art of Contemplation: A Facsimile Manuscript with Doodles

1972 — The Way of Liberation in Zen Buddhism [second edition booklet: Alan Watts Journal]

1973 — Tao: The Watercourse Way [completed by Al Chung-liang Huang]

Posthumous Books

1974 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 1 — God

1974 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 2 — Meditation

1974 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 3 — Nothingness

1975 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 4 — Death

1975 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 5 —The Nature of Man

1975 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 6 — Time

1975 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 7 — Philosophical Fantasies

1975 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 8 — Ego

1975 — The Essence of Alan Watts: Vol. 9 — Cosmic Drama

1977 — The Essence of Alan Watts [the complete Essence series in one book]

1977 — Three [Three books in one: a) The Way of Zen; b) Nature, Man, and Woman; c) Psychotherapy East and West]

1978 — Uncarved Block, Unbleached Silk: The Mystery of Life

1980 — Om: Creative Meditations

1982 — Play to Live: Selected Seminars

1983 — The Way of Liberation: Essays and Lectures on the Transformation of the Self

1985 — The Essential Alan Watts

1985 — Out of the Trap: Selected Lectures of Alan W. Watts

1987 — Diamond Web: Selected Lectures of Alan W. Watts

1987 — The Early Writings of Alan Watts: The British Years (1931-1938): Writings in Buddhism in England

1990 — The Modern Mystic: A New Collection of Early Writings of Alan Watts

1994 — Talking Zen

1995 — Become What You Are

1995 — Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion — The Edited Transcripts

1995 — The Philosophies of Asia: The Edited Transcripts

1995 — The Tao of Philosophy: The Edited Transcripts

1996 — Myth and Religion: The Edited Transcripts

1997 — Seeds of Genius: The Early Writings of Alan Watts [U.S. version of The Modern Mystic]

1997 — Taoism: Way Beyond Seeking — The Edited Transcripts

1997 — Zen and the Beat Way

1998 — The Culture of Counter-Culture: The Edited Transcripts

2000 — Eastern Wisdom: Three Classics in One Volume — What is Zen? • What is Tao? • An Introduction to Meditation

2000 — Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation

2000 — What is Tao?

2000 — What is Zen?

2002 — Zen, The Supreme Experience: The Newly Discovered Scripts

2006 — Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life: Collected Talks, 1960-1969

2006 — The Essential Alan Watts: Seven Things We Thought We Knew About God and the Cosmos (But Didn’t)

2017 — Out of Your Mind: Tricksters, Interdependence, and the Cosmic Game of Hide-and-Seek

2017 — Alan Watts—In the Academy: Essays and Lectures, edited by Peter J. Columbus and Donadrian L. Rice

2017 — The Collected Letters of Alan Watts

Book Contributions (Chapters written by Watts)

1951 — “Introduction” in Spiritual Practices of India, by Frederic Spiegelberg

1963 — “Preface” in Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, by D. T. Suzuki

1967 — “Foreword” in The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects, by A. David-Neel and L. Yongden

1968 — “Foreword” in The Ecstatic Adventure, edited by Ralph Metzner

1968 — “The Point is that Life is a Gesture” in The Ecstatic Adventure, edited by Ralph Metzner

1968 — “The Spirit of Violence and the Matter of Peace” in Alternatives to Violence: A Stimulus to Dialogue, edited by Larry Ng

1969 — “The Individual as Man/World” in The Subversive Science: Essays Toward an Ecology of Man, edited by P. Shepard and D. McKinley

1970 — “The Future of Religion” in Toward Century 21: Technology, Society and Human Values, edited by C. S. Wallia

1970 — “Western Mythology: Its Dissolution and Transformation” in Myths, Dreams, and Religion, edited by Joseph Campbell

1973 — “Foreword” in Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The Essence of T`ai Chi, by Chungliang Al Huang

1973 — “Foreword” in The Religion of Logos and Sophia: From the Writings of Dimitrije Mitrinovic on Christianity, by H. C. Rutherford

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