Golas was born June 15, 1924 in Paterson, New Jersey. He was the youngest of five children. Both his parents were of Polish descent and met in the United States. His father died when Golas was four, and his mother later remarried when he was ten, with his stepfather later dying of tuberculosis. He attended high school with Allen Ginsberg.
Thaddeus volunteered for military service in late 1942 and was made Corporal of the 604th Engineer Camouflage Battalion billeted at Camp Campbell in Kentucky. He shipped off to Cardiff, Wales, was stationed in England until August 1944, then in France and Belgium, where he served until December 1944, briefly saw hostilities in the days preceding the Battle of the Bulge. He returned to the United States after being discharged honorably because of health concerns, and attended New York's Columbia University where he studied under Jacques Barzun, and earned a B.A. Degree in 1948. He first worked as a proofreader for Betty Ballantine, and later became an editor for Redbook Magazine and later worked at Harper & Row as a book representative. He held several publishing related jobs in the Midwest, and finally moved to San Francisco, took LSD, and self-published his book, The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment.
He was friends with film maker Maya Deren. He was thought of highly by Timothy Leary and Alan Watts. He married 3 times, and lived in Paterson, New Jersey, New York City, San Francisco, Hollywood, Redway, California, and lastly Sarasota, Florida.
The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment is Golas' most widely known and first book. it was first self-published and handed out as a pamphlet edition, and was then published by San Francisco-based Joe E. Casey, then was picked up by the Seed Center, a back room of Palo Alto's Plowshare Bookstore, and eventually wound up at Bantam Books in 1979, where it remained in publication until 1993.
Golas is also the author of the posthumously published books Love and Pain, The Cosmic Airdrome, and his autobiography The Lazy Man's Life. They are published by "Seed Center Books, Even Lazier Publishing" an independent publishing company established by the film designer Sylvain Despretz in Encino, California.
Golas wrote The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment in relatively accessible language, with the simplicity of the book part of its success. The Guide's main thesis was, "Enlightenment doesn’t care how you get there".
While his work was popular with New Age seekers, Golas was not himself fond of the New Age movement.
The contents of Golas' later book "Love and Pain" lay the foundation for a huge step forward in all branches of science and philosophy; especially in metaphysics.