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The Second Book of the Tao [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Mitchell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
You Save: $5.16 (30%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

"A twenty-first-century form of ancient wisdom . . . Mitchell's flights, his paradoxes, his wonderful riffs are
brilliant and liberating." -Pico Iyer

The most widely translated book in world literature after the
Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living. Following
phenomenal success of his own version of the Tao Te Ching, renowned scholar and translator Stephen
has composed the innovative The Second Book of the Tao. Drawn from the work of Lao-tzu's disciple
Chuang- tzu and Confucius's grandson Tzu-ssu, The Second Book of the Tao collects the freshest, most
profound teachings from these two great students of the Tao to offer Western readers a path into reality that has
nothing to do with east or west, but everything to do with truth. With his own illuminating commentary alongside
adapta­tion, at once explicating and complementing the text, Mitchell makes the ancient teachings at once modern,
relevant, and timeless.

Listen to a special podcast with Stephen Mitchell:

Editorial Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 237 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594202036
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (February 19, 2009)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for Inspiration and Support April 18, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an incredible book. Stephen's book is really in sync with his wife, Byron Katie's, work. There are some very timeless qualities that he references with his poetry - such as impermanence, or that life is precious and doesn't go on forever. In his commentary, he links up these philosophical concepts with the modern world in very specific ways which I could relate to easily.
I found his book relaxing to read especially after a hectic day when I am too tired to concentrate on anything. I could savor each word and read slowly because he writes in such a succinct clear way.
If you like metaphysical books and you have challenges in your daily life that you want to look at from a more spiritual perspective, this book is an excellent choice for inspiration and support.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How now brown Tao? April 5, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Based on Chuang Tzu's (CT's) "Inner Chapters" & Confucius' grandson's "Chung Yung" (CY), this work consists of
a short introduction,
pp. 1-130 with even pages of highly "adapted" text & facing page commentary,
pp. 131-82--endnotes on both text & commentary,
pp. 183-200: endnotes on the adaptation (left out/added words).
It's an awkward structure IMHO--one must continually flip back & forth between these 3 parts. I particularly liked his introduction's summary of CT--p. xiii: "simply someone who doesn't linger in any mental construct about reality, someone who lives as effortless action & peace of heart, because he has freed himself from his own beliefs." The text/commentary section's pages are hardly full--padding the number of pages. Further, CT & CY are intermixed, unmarked as to source, out of order, & lack a discernible (to me) logical order.

Though I'd already read Lao Tze (e.g. Tao Te Ching), Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters, & Blofeld's Taoism: The Road to Immortality, I had few problems with the loose adaptation of the text except when a bit heavy-handed--e.g. important lines left out. I admired SM's 3rd section which explains the omissions/additions. While SM makes some valuable observations in his commentary (e.g. p. 61: "The Master lives a life of appropriate action because he doesn't believe his own thoughts, there is no barrier between his mind & reality" & p.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First off, a few matters need to be clarified, that are obscured from the product discription. Stephen Mitchell does NOT give us a TRANSLATION from the Chinese of quotes from these two classics of Toaism, but rather gives us ADAPTATIONS. Mitchell relied upon various English translations of these books, mostly Burton Watson's translation of the Chuang-Tzu selections, and various others for the Chung Yung. After picking thru the two classics, he edited, changed allusions, added sentences here and there, and transformed the original poems into prose. In fact, because he doesnt say next to his 64 selections, and rarely in his notes, which "poem" or poet he is working from, there's mostly no way of knowing WHICH ORIGINAL PIECE youre reading. Next to his selections, he devotes a page of personal insight and commentary. In one, he comments more on his own intellectual trip, by naming eight western geniuses, to make his point. Citing the ancient geniuses of one's culture, to prove one's assertation, is EXACTLY what Chang Tzu pokes fun at, in his "Free and Easy Wandering" Poem. Even if you have the most vague about the Toa, any two paragraph introduction tells you Toaism is centered around the paradoxes of the world, and that the true Toa is ineffable. Most toaist poems like to equivocate with language and terms, (written chinese characters by nature, often have many layers of meaning). So semantic twists, or parables, are used by the Toaist master, to shock our rational mind to see the world fresh and new. If we can see the world as a baby, whose thoughts are flexible, pliable and lack preconception, we see the toa like the wise old master. But Mitchell's commentary can at times delve into solipism, or merely expanding what the source text says. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get a real translation instead April 16, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I fail to see the point of this book. It fails as a translation since the author just selects whatever he wants from the sources, rather than being comprehensive. In the preface/introduction he states that he settled on 64 writings partially for numerological reasons. That not only got me off on the wrong foot: it makes me question how seriously I ought to take Mitchell altogether. As I read the selections, I was again mildly annoyed with his switching of gender for the "Master" (just as when I read his translation of the Tao Te Ching), but also found myself wondering what was left out - what's missing? Now, with all that said, these are selections from some of the great writings of Taoism, so even if it has been trimmed down, what is here is simply delightful. I would recommend other more thorough translations, though, in particular Merton or Watson, (and after you've already read one or the other of those, then Graham).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Better Way
A less serious look at what is. Lighthearted, fun and insightful.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended.
Stephen Mitchell's illustrated translation of the Tao de Ch'ing has become an American classic, and it would be tough indeed to top, yet he does so with The Second Book of Tao. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Hurtado
5.0 out of 5 stars Nirvana is now more and less achievable.
Any book on Taoist thought is worth owning. Especially considering what Mao did to China and its ancient philosophical thought provoking literature.
Published 1 month ago by sickcured
5.0 out of 5 stars The Second Book of the Tao
I found myself in the middle of the dream. Very insightful and full of mystery Thanks for the invitation Stephen.
Published 2 months ago by Edward Bean
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent companion to Mitchell's first book. The first book is the one to have if you can only have one.
Published 3 months ago by Travers Koerner
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as the Tao te Ching
I had read the Chuang-Tzu before in a different translation, and struggled through it. Unlike the Tao te Ching, the quality of thought was uneven. Read more
Published 10 months ago by paulsharp
4.0 out of 5 stars Gift
I sent this as a gift to my daughter. She was surprised with the condition and the short time of expected arrival. Thank you for keeping in good graces with her.
Published 11 months ago by Robert L.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom in modern dress
I bought this book a few years ago right after hearing an interview with Stephen Mitchell. I keep it on my bedstand. It is my constant inspiration. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gloria Arenson
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of all translations
Mitchell is more straightforward, more clear, more liquid in his phrasing and more clear in his attempts to define the indefinable than any other translation I have read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by alice p pyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Mitchell writes for everyone.
So very well written that when I finish I want to begin it again and share it with good friends.
Published 13 months ago by Vicky Ogle Reinhart
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More About the Author

Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn in 1943, educated at Amherst, the Sorbonne, and Yale, and de-educated through intensive Zen practice. His many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, Meetings with the Archangel, Gilgamesh, The Second Book of the Tao, and the Iliad. When he is not writing, he likes to (in no particular order) think about writing, think about not writing, not think about writing, and not think about not writing. He is married to Byron Katie and cowrote two of her bestselling books: Loving What Is and A Thousand Names for Joy. You can read extensive excerpts from all his books on his website,

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