I feel that this is the most important book I have ever read in my life. This is only the second Alan Watts book I've read so far, so I'm new to his philosophies. I have to go buy more of his books now. If you only read one book this year, make it this one.
On the one hand, there was very little in this book that I haven't found in other books by Watts, so that was a little disappointing. If you have read many of his works, you might consider skipping this one. On the other hand, I enjoy his writing so much, even though I really don't share his worldview, that I don't mind a re-run. On the third hand, the new material I did find, was very enlightening.
One of the things that I came across here, that I hadn't seen elsewhere, was a discussion on art and music. He had some great quotes: in trying to figure out what some modernist abstraction means, he says, "It always takes the artist to show us the vision, but of course, in the meantime, it is difficult to interpret these things." (pg. 28). He ties that whole discussion into one of my favorite topics, which is pattern, or "li." There was another quote I particularly liked, this time distinguishing between "good" and "bad" music: "Bad music always expresses something other than itself, like the 1812 Overture or the Sunken Cathedral. But good music never refers to anything other than the music. If you ask Bach, "What is your meaning?" he would say, "Listen! That is the meaning." This whole book was filled with essays on meaning and pattern, and I found it a joy to read. Overall, I have really enjoyed all the books I've read in his "The Love of Wisdom Library."