The best books for seekers, poets, and philosophers on this journey we call life

Who am I?

Tommy Chong is a Canadian-American actor, writer, director, musician, cannabis rights activist, and comedian. He is known for the Cheech and Chong comedy albums and movies along with many other roles. He is a poet and a philosopher and these are his picks for the books that mark his spiritual journey through life.


I wrote...

The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint

By Tommy Chong,

Book cover of The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint

What is my book about?

Beginning with Tommy's experiences growing up in Canada in the forties and fifties as a mixed-race kid and going on to become a comedy legend, The I Chong is at once a memoir, a spiritual exploration of his time in prison, and a political indictment of the eroding civil liberties in post-9/11 American society. He tells the unbelievable story of his trip down the rabbit hole of America's war on drugs and of his experiences in the federal prison system, and he offers up timely observations on combating the conservative political forces at work in this country. Introspective, inspiring, and incendiary, The I Chong is a unique chronicle of one man's life and how his humorous and spiritual point of view saved him during his wrongful incarceration at the hands of an administration without boundaries.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of I Ching

Tommy Chong Why did I love this book?

I first did the I Ching when I was in my 20s. The first reading I had was by a guitar player in Vancouver, and it came out like perfection. This was before my success, before Cheech, and it just lit up my path forward in life. It wasn’t until I was headed to jail that I picked it up again. My brother-in-law sent me a copy, and it was the first thing I did when I got inside. The first line I got back was “you are in jail for a reason”. It was astounding. The word penitentiary comes from the word penance, I took that to heart and that is what I did. I view my time in jail as a religious retreat.

By Alfred Huang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Ching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Translated by the eminent Taoist Master Alfred Huang, The Complete I Chinghas been praised by scholars and new students of the I Ching since its first edition. A native Chinese speaker, Master Huang first translated the original ideograms of the I Ching into contemporary Chinese and then into English, bringing forth the intuitive meanings embodied in the images of the I Ching and imbuing his translation with an accuracy and authenticity not possible in other English translations. However, what makes his translation truly definitive is his return to prominence of the Ten Wings, the commentaries by Confucius that are essential…


Book cover of The Third Eye

Tommy Chong Why did I love this book?

A long time ago, I used to own part of a Jazz club. There was a jazz guitar player named Sunny Greenwich and he turned me onto this book. It is a compelling story of an English man who was a reincarnated Tibetan lama. This book changed my life and it gave me a vision of who we really are, why we are, and how we are. And, how we are all connected to our spiritual selves. When our bodies die they go back to their spiritual selves, and we are just out here to gain experience. This book sent me to some good places and helped open my eyes so I could see the next book on my path.

By T. Lobsang Rampa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Third Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

T. Lobsang Rampa was preordained to be a Tibetan priest, a sign from the stars that could not be ignored. When he left his wealthy home to enter the monastery, his heart was filled with trepidation, with only a slight knowledge of the rigorous spiritual training and physical ordeal that awaited him.


Book cover of The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity

Tommy Chong Why did I love this book?

I read this book when I first moved out to California from Canada. I was living on the beach and having a great time. Catherine Ponder has this energy that is like Tim Robbins and her message is that you can have anything you want if you put your mind to it. It helped me chart my way forward in the entertainment industry and helped me find my path.

By Catherine Ponder,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the result of several recent recessions and many years of lean living. Nobody likes recessions and nobody likes lean living - and indeed nobody should like them. For fifteen years I tried to find such a book as this one. During those years of searching the bookshelves, I found that there are many books which give various ideas, but in none of them did I find a set of compact, simple laws for assuring success. I began searching for a book such as this after having been widowed and left with a small son to rear and…


Book cover of The Infinite Way

Tommy Chong Why did I love this book?

The Catherine Ponder book really helped me and I had done what she said. Now I needed more and I put that out in the cosmos - and boy did it deliver. I was walking to the gym after a movie shoot in New York and I felt my entire body turn. The next thing I knew I was in front of a Harper Collins bookstore. Something took me into that store and I just followed it, something took my hand and put it around a biography of Joel Goldsmith. It was freaky and it still gives me chills to think about it. This book has so much and it gave me a deep love for what a miracle life is. When you are ready to read this book, you won’t be disappointed.

By Joel S. Goldsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Infinite Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Devorss edition is the original 1947 text.

Since the beginning of time, human nature has driven people to explore beyond their surroundings. The results have shaped the world not just in terms of geographic boundaries, but also in the context of spiritual values. Seeking direction, generations have looked to others for spiritual guidance hoping to find timeless wisdom that will withstand any turmoil or hardship. Over time, one message has provided comfort and continues to ring true today seek the answer from within, and you will find the Truth.

Now considered a spiritual classic, THE INFINITE WAY and this…


Book cover of The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life

Tommy Chong Why did I love this book?

This book gives you some major knowledge, about God, about yourself, and about the time you have on this planet. I can’t tell you how many times I just sit and soak in this knowledge. It is a beautiful place to rest your mind within. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how precious our time is. We are so busy in the moment and sometimes we forget to use that precious time. My daughters read some of this book to me while I was recovering from cancer and I really think it changed their perception and lives as much as it has for me.

By Emmet Fox,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sermon on the Mount as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



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Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

By Michael Ruse,

Book cover of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

Michael Ruse Author Of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Teacher (professor) Author Darwin specialist Charles Dickens fanatic

Michael's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Why We Hate asks why a social animal like Homo sapiens shows such hostility to fellow species members. The invasion of the Ukraine by Russia? The antisemitism found on US campuses in the last year? The answer and solution lies in the Darwinian theory of evolution through natural selection.

Being social is biology’s way of ensuring survival and reproduction. With the coming of agriculture 10,000 years ago, new conditions – primarily much-increased population numbers – meant that sociality broke down as we battled for our share of much-reduced resources. But, as cultural change brought about our troubles, so culture offers prospects of a future where our social natures can emerge and thrive again.

Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

By Michael Ruse,

What is this book about?

An insightful and probing exploration of the contradiction between humans' enormous capacity for hatred and their evolutionary development as a social species

Why We Hate tackles a pressing issue of both longstanding interest and fresh relevance: why a social species like Homo sapiens should nevertheless be so hateful to itself. We go to war and are prejudiced against our fellow human beings. We discriminate on the basis of nationality, class, race, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. Why are humans at once so social and so hateful to each other? In this book, prominent philosopher Michael Ruse looks at scientific
understandings…


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