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The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living Paperback – November 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Not since Alan Watts has there been a lay expert with the erudition and insight to so expertly pack a difficult package of unfamiliar notions into a book of immediate relevance. What is consumerism to me? and sex? and money? How do they relate to my goals and aspirations? Laurence Boldt, a career counselor and author of the bestselling Zen and the Art of Making a Living, presents a sophisticated alternative to life as we know it. Fully equipped with opinion polls, sociological studies, intellectual histories, and classic economics texts, Boldt dismantles the foundations of our consumer society brick by brick and, more importantly, our unquestioning acceptance of it. The alternative is a path of awareness, of flowing, and of sufficiency that together result in the joyful abundance of a productive, natural life. The shift in world view that Boldt seeks to effect in the reader has such profound practical implications that this book could very well change your life--which is exactly the author's intention. Boldt can be excused for slipping into fuzzy notions like the so-called perennial philosophy, for his recasting of modern life in Taoist terms of ready abundance is so convincing that it makes you wonder how we got stuck in our lifestyles of lack in the first place. --Brian Bruya

From Publishers Weekly

"The art of abundance is not the art of making money, but the art of knowing how to live." Drawing heavily on Taoist concepts of work, creativity and love, Boldt (Zen and the Art of Making a Living, etc.) offers a systematic program for achieving well-being. Asserting that the Western emphasis on subduing nature and our relentless consumer culture offset the perception of "abundance," he suggests that feelings of prosperity and contentment can flourish independently of actual material wealth. He offers the Taoist pursuit of harmony, leisure and beauty in simple things as a means to help readers appreciate the world's inherent pleasures and to create a sense of fulfillment. According to Boldt, everyone can live abundantly by identifying their true sources of happiness, by following the path of least resistance and by redirecting energy that is unnecessarily tied up in the daily struggle to survive in our culture. Each chapter contains short sections focusing on specific Taoist concepts and showing how readers can apply them to their lives, as well as inspiring quotes from Eastern and Western thinkers. Boldt also provides a workbook section to help readers examine their ideas about money, careers, relationships, time and more. Those looking for a way to sidestep the endless cycle of getting and spending will welcome Boldt's practical, humanist approach to change. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (November 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843530007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140196061
  • ASIN: 0140196064
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 7, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have a large home library (mostly non-fiction) and many of the books are on eastern thought. This book is one I savor. I am reading it now and reading it is akin to savoring a long wonderful meal where each bite of food bathes the senses with wonder and pleasure.
Now I admit that Tao is a school I have always been interested in, but never fully, for whatever reason grasped. Until that is, I bought this book. And I guess the phrase "go with the flow" is what comes to mind a great deal when reading the book, because I am really learning the value of becoming more intuitive and comfortable with my own skin. The book does teach or encourage thankfully the whole march to your own healthy drummer. Live simple but content and don't feel that because "society" pushes and idea that it is a healthy idea.
I appreciate the chapters that deal with money issues and how money can be good or bad, depending on how it comes into our lives. Does it come from production or investment in a good ethical product from a fair market price, or does it come from unethical practices that make a few rich and most (the workers) poor or sick?
I look at the key word in each chapter like The Nature, Ease, Flow, Power, Harmony, Leisure, Beauty of Abundance and can see the consistent flow. Not a negative term is used. And I love how the author has chosen wonderful quotes from well known, past and present, sages. Like at the beginning of the chapter on The Beauty of Abundance where "A thing of beauty is a joy forever; Its loveliness increases; It will never Pass into nothingness... John Keats". Each quote is perfect for each chapter and hopefully will also encourage the reader to read works of those who have written the quote in question.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By S. Grubb on April 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
I actually listened to the audio version of this book, I don't know why I feel the need to admit that, but anyway I got it from the library a little over a year ago because I thought it would be about making money, which at the time was something I was very interested in, but instead it was about creating a life that you really love, so that you experience the abundance that is already there, that we mostly take for granted. This was not a new concept to me, but somehow it took that belief to a whole new level through tons of practical examples of how it can be used in ones daily life. Since "reading" this book I have given up all animal products from my diet, gotten rid of Cable and no longer watch TV, started walking most mornings in the park before work, and cleared my brain of enough clutter to find my calling in life, being a doula (and possibly even a midwife), which was something that had NEVER entered my brain before now. So that was a lot about me and not a lot about what the book is about, but when I think of why I would want to read a book, it is always with the hope I will learn something from it that will positively impact my life, and never before has one book has such a significant impact on my whole life.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on April 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
For some time, I had glanced at this book in stores and written it off as some attempt to cheapen Taoism by using it as a tool to promote get-rich-quick schemes and the like. Not a very enlightened way for me to look at the book, but the title and the back cover details did little to convince me it was otherwise. Finally, out of sheer curiosity, I grabbed a copy of /The Tao of Abundance/ and took a closer look. I am very pleased to say that my initial (mis)judgement was rather off base.
Despite the unfortunate title, /The Tao of Abundance/ has a lot more to offer than one might think. The entire book is devoted to one seemingly simple idea: no matter how wealthy you may or may not be in material terms, if you don't have the spiritual foundation to support it, you cannot find true happiness. As many people can attest, this is a view that's easy to agree with, but difficult to apply to everyday life.
In this book, Laurence G. Boldt offers a framework for understanding what he calls the "chains of psychological poverty and lack." As he says, our ego and conception of self vs. other keeps us from feeling spiritual abundance. Chapter by chapter, he guides the reader through the concepts, illuminating the various ways we can bring unhappiness upon ourselves. There are exercises to help see how these concepts apply to our own lives, and what we can do to improve the situations we find ourselves in.
/The Tao of Abundance/ is not about getting rich quick, but at the same time it is not a book of renunciation. This book is about learning to be happy, so that you can enjoy whatever level of material abundance you may have - or not. While a bit dry at times, it is nevertheless a good read with some intriguing insights.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Silvia L Ceravolo on February 15, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I too have been looking for a book that combines Eastern philosophy with the practicalities of the Western economic system. The first part, which describes the concept of tao, was slow going. But once I got to the second chapter, I was hooked. The arguments are well-supported and logical, and help you break your personal paradigms about abundance and work. I am recommending this book to all my friends who are also going through that midlife questioning ("Is this all there is to life?").
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