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I Ching: The Book of Change Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

The I Ching (Book of Change) is considered the oldest of the Chinese classics, and has throughout Chinese history commanded unsurpassed prestige and popularity. Containing several layers of text and given numerous levels of interpretation, the I Ching has been venerated for more than three thousand years as an oracle of fortune, a guide to success, and a source of wisdom. The underlying theme of the text is change, and how this fundamental force influences all aspects of life?from business and politics to personal relationships.
In this translation, previously published as The Tao of Organization, the root text is supported by commentary by Cheng Yi. A distinguished scholar and teacher of the eleventh century, Cheng Yi is regarded as one of the greatest sociological thinkers of Song dynasty China. He conveys a fundamentally forward-thinking attitude in his treatment of the text, based on the belief that since change is an inexorable law of the universe encompassing everything in the world, great and small, it is better to overtake change than be overtaken by it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590304039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304037
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By kelsie VINE VOICE on August 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
A previous reviewer mentioned the fact that Cleary's translation seems to "miss the point." While I don't know what "point" it missed, I do agree that this really isn't the book for a first time approach to the I Ching. Western readers unfamiliar with the tenets of Eastern philosophy or the use of hexagrams will find this edition of the Book of Change particularly unhelpful.

For a seasoned user of the I Ching this is likely an excellent way to keep the book on one's person at all times--if that's you, this book cannot come more highly recommended. However, for the first time user, the book is vague and almost impenetrable. The instructions for consulting the Book of Change Cleary includes are interesting, but again, of little import to a person unfamiliar with the whole concept the book is founded upon.

Overall, however, Cleary seems to demonstrate his prowess at translating Eastern works (if not necessarily explaining them fully), and this work is akin to his groundbreaking translation of the Koran (Qur'an): clear and concise in language.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gnostix1 on August 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As others here note, this is a handy reference for the experienced user. Beginners would do better with Hilary Barrett, or perhaps R. L Wing or Carol Anthony (among others).

Shambhala shows a publication date of 1992; I suspect this is a much earlier work by Cleary, who's reputation rests on clear and accurate translation rather than poetic indulgence. The text here -- the source of which is never stated -- is rather clunky and obtuse, recounting the Confucian epigrammatic description, judgment, and image for each of the 64 hexagrams along with commentaries on the changing lines. Those generally familiar with the I Ching will soon be at home with this bare-bones political manual stripped of Victorian-era sentimentality (via to Legge and Wilhelm) and pop-psychological/new age fluffiness (thanks to latter-day Jungians), and might gain some useful insights. New users will be less than edified by commentaries such as "If you fasten something with the hide of a yellow ox, nothing can unloosen it."

The introductory text, though insightful, seems to be written for academics; the book ends with a "List of Hexagrams with their Primal Correlates and Structural Complements." What this means and why the reader should care is not explained.

In sum: It is indeed a handy pocket guide for those who (like me) cogitate on hexagrams and do an occasional cast throughout the day, and like to have a concise source-book on hand. Beginners would do well to build their libraries on more accessible texts before acquiring this one.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric John on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably my least favorite translation of the I Ching (I have about three others). It is such a dry and literal translation it is almost unusable.

Example:"Predominance of the great is when the great or almighty predominate.The ridgepole bending symbolizes weakness at the basis and in outgrowths."

The only reason I keep it is because it is, indeed portable. However, I find myself using it more as a guide for the hexagram numbers, (which I have come to know fairly well) NOT the readings themselves.

For what its worth, I have personally found Brian Walker Browne's translation/interpretation to be by far the wisest and most readable version of the I Ching. I never leave home without it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hamza Philip on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the Hardcover edition of this edition of the I-Ching by Thomas Cleary, and for my purposes the edition works well, so I just purchased the Pocket Edition a few days ago. I also have Cleary's "The Taoist I-Ching" and "The I-Ching Mandalas", as well as the classic Wilhelm/Baynes/Jung edition.

This edition works well for me because 1) It includes a commentary by Confucius, and 2) I don't use the I-Ching for divination, but instead prefer to read the commentary for the hexagrams and work with the tri-grams. The Hardcover edition is fairly handy, while the pocket edition is good for keeping with oneself and when traveling.

I wouldn't recommend this edition to those who desire to learn to use the I-Ching for divination, but if one is already acquainted with the I-Ching, the pocket edition is quite handy. I wish Amazon and/or Shambhala would have done a better job of advertizing this edition of the I-Ching so that it would be purchased by the proper audience. Many who purchased this edition have written somewhat negative reviews because they were expecting something different. This is disappointing, because this book is better than the overall rating given by those who purchased this edition.

Although I wish Thomas Cleary would do a better job with providing references in his translations, I find the actual translations to be easy to understand. Therefore, even if I believe there is a better translation of a particular work, many times I will also purchase the Cleary translation.

Also, besides the editions of the I-Ching I mentioned above, I also recommend The Complete I-Ching by Taoist Master Alfred Huang, and for beginners, John Blofeld's book on the I-Ching.
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By Sam Hill on September 14, 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book a few times, I'm uncertain as to how to use the table to predict change and make the best choices for each.
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