Tales of Wonder

Tales of Wonder : Adventures Chasing the Divine, an Autobiography

3.98 (369 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"In this delightful autobiography, Smith tells us how he became the dean of world religion experts. Along the way we meet the people who shaped him and shared his journey-a Who's Who of 20th century spiritual America: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Merton and Pete Seeger.... A valuable master class on faith and life."
- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

As Stephen Hawking is to science; as Peter Drucker is to economics; and as Joseph Campbell is to mythology; so Huston Smith is to religion. Tales of Wonder is the personal story of the author of the classic The World's Religions, the man who taught a nation about the great faiths of the world, and his fascinating encounters with the people who helped shape the 20th century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 135 x 203 x 14mm | 245g
  • HarperOne
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 006115427X
  • 9780061154270
  • 445,547

Back cover copy

Huston Smith, the man who brought the world's religions to the West, was born almost a century ago to missionary parents in China during the perilous rise of the Communist Party. Smith's lifelong spiritual journey brought him face-to-face with many of the people who shaped the twentieth century. His extraordinary travels around the globe have taken him to the world's holiest places, where he has practiced religion with many of the great spiritual leaders of our time.

Smith's life is a story of uncanny synchronicity. He was there for pivotal moments in human history such as the founding of the United Nations and the student uprising at Tiananmen Square. As he traveled the world he encountered thinkers who shaped the twentieth century. He interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt on the radio; invited Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at an all-white university before the March on Washington; shared ideas with Thomas Merton on his last plane ride before Merton's death in Bangkok; and was rescued while lost in the Serengeti by Masai warriors who took him to the compound of world-renowned anthropologists Louis and Mary Leaky.

In search of intellectual and spiritual treasures, Smith traveled to India to meet with Mother Teresa and befriended the Dalai Lama; he studied Zen at the most challenging monastery in Japan; and he hitchhiked through the desert to meet Aldous Huxley, dropped acid with Timothy Leary, and took peyote with a Native American shaman. He climbed Mount Athos, traipsed through the Holy Land, and was the first to study multiphonic chanting by monks in Tibet, which he recorded with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. Most important, he shared the world's religions with the West--writing two bestselling books and serving as the focus of a five-part PBS television series by Bill Moyers.

Huston Smith is a national treasure. His life is an extraordinary adventure, and in his amazing Tales of Wonder, he invites you to come along to explore your own vistas of heart, mind, and soul.
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Review quote

Poignant and readable, Smith recounts professional adventures-meeting Martin Luther King Jr.,befriending Aldous Huxley and the Dalai Lama, dropping acid with Timothy Leary . . . this is what it feels like to have lived a long and interesting life. -- Newsweek In his lush new memoir, the religious scholar Smith dances among the whirling dervishes in Iran, camps with the Aborigines in Australia, shares a chuckle with a gaggle of Masai warriors on the darkening Serengeti plains. Each anecdote reveals Smith's sense of marvel at the strange bounty of the world -- Washington Post Book World In this delightful autobiography, Smith tells us how he became the dean of world religions. Intellectual playfulness is definitely the spirit with which this book was written. Right to his final act, Smith is proving to be the consummate professor, giving us a valuable master class on faith and life. -- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review Smith has long been our clearest and most radiant explorer of all the world's great religions. Thank heavens for such wisdom, delivered with light and fire! -- -Pico Iyer One of our foremost scholars and interpreters of the world's religions . . . What he has learned, he has applied to life. -- -Bill Moyers My admiration for Huston Smith's work is boundless. With each new book I have been astonished, edified, and greatly heartened by his brilliant mind and heart. He is the wisest, sanest religious scholar of them all, and so wonderfully readable. -- -Anne Lamott Smith is America's best-loved religion tutor. -- -Jack Miles Huston Smith is the world's ambassador to religions everywhere. -- -Thomas Moore "Smith parts the curtain on his past and says, "Look!" with the enthusiasm of a child--something he has not yet lost at age 90. The result is a joyous romp with a favorite uncle among holy places and mystics--the most interesting of them the author of the book." -- Publishers Weekly "Remarkably brief and humbly written for a man of Smith's fame and accomplishment, Tales deals simply with his life and his encounters with the great and the good (Eleanor Roosevelt, D.T. Suzuki, and Frithjof Schuon, to name a few). Highly recommended." -- Library Journal Smith . . . [has a gaze that] bespeaks mischief, curiosity, bluntness and wonder . . . In an age of generalized fear and "just say no," Smith, who taught for years at Berkeley, a venerated figure there, has said "yes" to life's possibilities. -- San Jose Mercury News "Tales of Wonder brims with fascinating insights and tidbits." -- Boston Globe "It is the pulse of Smith's humanity that breathes life into Tales of Wonder." -- CNN.com
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About Huston Smith

Huston Smith is internationally known and revered as the premier teacher of world religions. He is the focus of a five-part PBS television series with Bill Moyers and has taught at Washington University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, and the University of California at Berkeley. The recipient of twelve honorary degrees, Smith's fifteen books include his bestselling The World's Religions, Why Religion Matters, and his autobiography, Tales of Wonder.
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Rating details

369 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 35% (128)
4 37% (137)
3 22% (80)
2 5% (18)
1 2% (6)
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