Michael Murphy is co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Esalen Institute. Murphy was born in Salinas, California, graduated from Stanford University, and lived for a year at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India. In 1980, he helped initiate Esalen's Soviet-American Exchange Program, which was a premiere diplomacy vehicle for citizen-to-citizen relations, and which played a significant role in breaking down the barriers between the Russian and American peoples. In 1990, Boris Yeltsin's first visit to the U.S. was initiated by the Institute.
Esalen, the world's most famous growth center, is also a ground-breaking research site. Preparatory work for Murphy's groundbreaking book The Future of the Body began in 1977 with the building of an archive of more than 10,000 studies of exceptional human functioning. The archive has been donated to the Stanford University Medical School.
Michael Murphy is the author of four novels: Golf in the Kingdom, The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, Jacob Atabet, and An End to Ordinary History. His non-fiction works, in addition to The Life We Are Given, include In the Zone, an anthology of extraordinary sports experiences, co-authored with Rhea White, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, co-authored with Steve Donovan, and The Future of the Body: Explorations Into the Further Evolution of Human Nature. Golf in the Kingdom is still a bestseller thirty-two years after it was published. It has spawned the Shivas Irons Society, a non-profit organization with members in the 50 states and 20 countries.
During his forty-two year involvement in the human potential movement, Murphy and his work have been profiled in the New Yorker and featured in many magazines and journals worldwide.