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The Second Book of the Tao Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 19, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 19, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn, New York, 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, and Gilgamesh. Mitchell is married to Byron Katie and cowrote two of her bestselling books: Loving What Is and A Thousand Names for Joy.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (February 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594202036
  • ASIN: B002BWQ590
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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, www.stephenmitchellbooks.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾ Somewhat recommended, with reservations and only lukewarm fuzzies.

First, a comment of what I mean by my title's reference to "cream cheese wontons". In the past, when people visiting from out-of-town ask me for advice on good Chinese restaurants in the area, my reply is always, "Do you want to eat at authentic Chinese restaurants or Americanized Chinese restaurants?" Sometimes, their reply will be, "What is the difference?" And I always tell them that many Americanized Chinese restaurants have cream cheese wontons, crab rangoon, and chop suey on the menu, along with wayyyyyy too much sugar added to their sauces, while most authentic Chinese restaurants do not have these on the menu. And while there is nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of these along with always ordering sesame chicken, I tell them that they should be aware that is not really true Chinese cooking.

And thus it is this similar non-authentic feeling that I am left with after reading Stephen Mitchell's adaptation of the Chuang Tzu and the Chung Yung. If you enter either of these terms in the Amazon Web site's 'Search' field, you will get far more true-to-form translations of these classics instead of one person's adapted and subjectively modified versions. Stephen's commentaries pull in a who's who of Western references (Einstein, Shakespeare, Yeats, and William Blake get mentioned along with various others), and the commentaries are almost poetic at times because of that. This is a good read, but please do yourself a favor and first read a more authentic translation of these classics. Otherwise, it would be like going to hear your local symphony play "The Music of Led Zeppelin" or "The Music of The Eagles" without having ever heard their original recordings.
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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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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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