Richard Grossman

The Tao of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Richard Grossman is a Commonweal friend of 25 years. As a respected medical educator in “the other medicines,” (the title of another of his books), Grossman participated as a guest staff member in one of the early Commonweal Cancer Help Programs in the 1980s. He then started his own Cancer Help Program at Wainwright House in Rye, New York. He now teaches in the Smith Farm Cancer Help Program outside Washington, D.C. Grossman is a preternaturally youthful 88-year-old, married to the novelist Ann Arenberg. They live in Salisbury, Connecticut.

Join Michael Lerner in this conversation about Richard’s studies and thoughts about Ralph Waldo Emerson—philosopher, essayist, poet, lecturer, and journal-keeper.


Richard Grossman

Richard is an essayist, psychotherapist, medical educator, and former book publisher. The six books he has written include The Tao of Emerson and A Year with Emerson, which won the Umhoefer Prize for achievement in the humanities, awarded by the Arts and Humanities Foundation. He has read Emerson daily for over 50 years. Richard’s website has Emerson’s complete journals and the bulk of his other writings on-line.

Grossman considers Emerson a precursor of contemporary humanistic and transpersonal psychology. In 1970 Michael Murphy of Esalen Institute told Grossman about Roberto Assagioli, the Italian psychologist and founder of the transpersonal psychology called Psychosynthesis. Grossman published Assagioli’s books Psychosynthesis and The Act of Will in AmericaGrossman also discovered fundamental resonances between Emerson and Lao Tse, the mysterious Chinese Taoist and author of the Tao Te Ching.