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Tao Te Ching Hardcover – December 11, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This crystalline translation of the Tao Te Ching is accurate down to the nuance and is as concisely poetic as the original. Of the many translations I have read in English, this is unquestionably the best.”—Gary Snyder

“This is by far the best translation on the market today.”—Livia Kohn, Professor of Religion, Boston University

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1st Shambhala Ed edition (December 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590305469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590305461
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I know two things: 1) There is no such thing as a perfect translation of the Tao Te Ching. The Chinese language is so completely different from English, that any translation of the Tao is going to be somewhat flawed, no matter how skillful the translator. 2) All serious spiritual seekers must read the Tao Te Ching. If possible, they should own at least three translations.

This translation is excellent and is a personal favorite of mine. I give it "five stars" for integrity. Addiss and Lombardo explain, in their four page Introduction, the philosophy of how they translated the text and why it might be different from previous English translations. Indeed, they begin the Introduction as follows "There are already more than one hundred translations of the Tao Te Ching into English. Why should this text be translated again?" Then they proceed with a very persuasive case for this translation. For example, they have tried to "recreate much of the terse diction and staccato rhythm of the ancient Chinese" while other translations tend to be verbose. Also, they have specifically avoided any use of the gender specific pronouns, "he" and "she." Thus rendering the text neither politically correct nor politically incorrect.

Beyond the translation itself, this book is beautifully designed, with extensive use of Chinese calligraphy, art, and characters. This almost gives the impression of having an original copy of the Tao Te Ching in your hand.

If you want to read the Tao Te Ching, this is a great version. Three other good translations include those by Victor Mair, D.C. Lau, and John C. H. Wu. Personally I do not like the popular version by Stephen Mitchell, or the Gia-fu Feng & Jane English translation. They try too hard to be modern -- but who can fault them for trying?
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Format: Hardcover
You may not realize it, but most "translations" of the Tao Te Ching are not translations at all, but people's interpretations of what they think Lao Tze meant. As time goes on, the interpretations seem to get more and more involved; often replacing one, consise line from Lao Tze with a whole paragraph of their own ideas. If you want to know what Lao Tze actually said, and decide for yourself what he meant, this true translation is a must!
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Example: Chapter 10 excerpt

Give birth and cultivate.
Give birth and do not possess.
Act without dependence.
Excel but do not rule.
This is called dark Te.

The last line is for which the Chinese characters are provided in this chapter. "This is called dark Te." Te is virtue/integrity/energy/force/moral power, why is it describing these guidelines as dark?
The characters are "Shih wei hsüan te." Following the book's glossary you are provided with:
This/it
to stay/to call
mysterious/dark/profound/subtle
virtue/integrity/energy/force/moral power

Translating this line for myself filled me with doubt, what about the other lines that don't provide the characters for you to reference? I was a little upset by this, as it was my first copy of the Tao Te Ching that I had read. Despite this, I don't think it diminishes the work as a whole. It is very difficult to translate Chinese to English, as in.. it doesn't always fit. I would highly recommend this book to introduce yourself to the ideas presented within the Tao Te Ching. For deeper exploration I would recommend getting a version with all of the Chinese characters so you can construct your understanding for yourself.
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By Chinarain on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was given the name of this book by a friend to read when I was having problems. It is a simple yet effective. It actually made me rethink my life. I would recommend this book.
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I was introduced to this book after reading Wishes Fulfilled by Dr. Dyer. I would encourage everyone to read these inspiring messages that affect our everyday lives. A handbook on how we should treat others and understand the choices we make
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I owned a previous paperback version of the Tao Te Ching and rarely picked it up because it was poorly laid out and the font size was small. So I bought this copy and what a delightful difference. This hardcover version and this translation are so nicely laid out, set down in a way that allows you sit and ponder the wisdom on each page. This translation by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo is easy to grasp, which seems like the way the Tao was meant to be expressed, simply. Also the images laid out on some pages, with Chinese written characters or various images makes the book more reflective and artistic, which also makes it a little more contemplative to me. I love this version. If you are considering pondering the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching I would strongly recommend this version.
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By J. Fails on February 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish it were possible to give 10 stars!
The layout, the use of few words, the art....all work together perfectly!
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By Mike on December 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great. You don't have to be a book worm to enjoy or learn from this book. Great lessons in here. Not too hard to understand. In my opinion, it's not the type of book you should read through quickly, even though you could read it in a day if you wanted to. Each chapter is about 3-5 paragraphs but, for me, it was easier to understand if I read each paragraph maybe twice and think about it for a bit.
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