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Powell's Q&A

Huston Smith

Describe your latest project.
Having just completed my autobiography, Tales of Wonder, I am now returning to work on my next book-in-progress, The Way of Wisdom: Philosophy as a Healing Art.

What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Alyosha, because he loved humanity.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
The final words of Saint John Chrysostom: "Thanks, thanks for everything; praise, praise for it all."

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Yes. To meet Gerald Heard, author of Pain, Sex and Time.

What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, to what sign would you change and why?
Gemini. I am happy with it.

Why do you write?
Because I'm good at it.

Name the best television series of all time.
All in the Family, because it is so fast-paced and its stereotypical characters are so convincingly drawn.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Plato's Republic

Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer J. Adler

Healing the Mind: The Philosophy of Spinoza Adapted for a New Age by Neal Grossman

Therapeia: Plato's Conception of Philosophy by Robert E. Cushman

The Unwritten Philosophy by F. M. Cornford (This book deals with ineffability — what can be intuited but not verbally formulated.)

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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 15 books include his bestselling The World's Religions, Why Religion Matters, and his autobiography, Tales of Wonder.

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