How M. Scott Peck Guided Millions but Lost Himself on the Road Less Traveled
By Arthur Jones
Free study guide for book clubs and workshops available here (pdf, 339KB)
In the 1980s and ’90s, thousands of women wrote to psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, MD, to thank him for pulling them through the difficult times in their lives with his ground-breaking and best-selling self-help book, The Road Less Traveled (1978). Yet Peck’s own life was in turmoil.
His readers, and those who attended his spiritual workshops and talks, told him how his words had helped them make decisions about their marriages and careers, and ease their insecurities and self-doubts. But in 1992 one woman told Life magazine that after a spiritual group session Peck had seduced her.
Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled began with the words, “Life is difficult.” And he made it difficult for his family, so difficult that only two of his three children attended his funeral.
Arthur Jones’s Boomer Guru explores that dichotomy in a deeply researched biography based primarily on hours of recorded interviews with the frank but conflicted guru. This first-ever biography of “the nation’s shrink” is that rare account: a psychiatrist on the couch.
Peck’s The Road Less Traveled had more than 10 million “boomer” readers. The book spent more than a decade on the New York Times Best Seller List, longer than any other book by a living author in that category. On the 10th anniversary of Peck’s death, this candid biography of the boomer guru is an intriguing recap both of the times and the man.
Read the introduction
About the author
British-born journalist Arthur Jones is a former Forbes New York editor and European bureau chief, an ex-Financial Times correspondent, and former National Catholic Reporter editor. This is his third biography. See more books at www.arthurjonesbooks.com.
Of Boomer Guru (First North American edition, 2015)
“Provides readers with an engaging look into 20th century U.S. history.” — Kirkus Reviews
“I would recommend the book if you are fascinated by Peck and want to learn much in the way of background information about this fascinating 20th century figure.” — Robert L. Clasenon, Amazon.com
Of The Road He Travelled (UK edition, hardback, Random House/Rider, 2007)
“The book was eye-opening and an interesting read for ‘Peck groupies’ like me. I’d heard he did not practice what he preached, but I had no idea to what extent, or how much of his life was filled with demons.” — Vickie Marton, GoodReads.com
“When ‘The Road He Traveled’ exposed Peck as a manipulating fraud who was apparently little more than a very sophisticated L. Ron Hubbard, the loss was shattering. I thank Arthur Jones for truth.” — Brent Buckley, comment, CouchTrip.blogspot.com
“Peck cooperated with this book. He kept pushing for collaboration, but Arthur Jones — who has a fine portfolio as a writer, journalist and biographer — firmly refused. Peck cooperated anyway, perhaps realizing that this was his best opportunity to explain himself. Indeed, Jones quotes liberally from the lengthy interviews he conducted with Peck. Peck is allowed to tell his story, but not to manipulate the evidence into hagiography because Jones stayed true to the evidence of Peck’s life.” — Patricia Tryon, Amazon.com
“A realistic reporting of the life of M. Scott Peck … reveals not a saintly ‘self actualized’ icon but a struggling human being for whom life was difficult much as it was for people like Jacob from the Bible. This is a good piece of work for those who are interested in the life of this writer and visionary.” — Jack Zaffos, Amazon.com
“This book describes Peck as ‘a wounded healer with a dark side,’ and this seems an apt description. Persons wanting an unflinching portrayal of Peck — ‘warts and all’ — will be very interested in this book.” — Steven H. Propp, Amazon.com
Publisher: Capparoe Books
Publication date/edition: First North American edition published in softcover in October 2015 and published on Kindle in February 2016
210 pages, size: 6×9 inches
ISBN 10: 0-9768751-1-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-9768751-1-6