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The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu Paperback – November 15, 1996

64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Browne Walker has been a student of Chinese and Taoist philosophy for many years now. He has translated the Hua Hu Ching and the I Ching and has written The Crazy Dog Guide to Lifetime Happiness and The Crazy Dog Guide to Happier Work. He lives with his daughter in Boulder, Colorado.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (November 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312147449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312147440
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Browne Walker is the author of eight books published in over a dozen languages around the world, including translations of the I Ching, Tao te Ching, Hua hu Ching, and Art of War, as well as the original teachings of the Wei wu Wei Ching. His website and blog are at www.brianbrownewalker.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J O Holloway (joholloway@datacruz.com) on February 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Walker's version of the Tao Te Ching is by far the most beautiful and has (at least, for me) the clearest and deepest meaning. This is the the book that has taught me the most about the tao; this is the translation from which I read to my son. I hope you read it.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Albion Guppy on July 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This may sound like a silly or a comical name for a review of a book that I consider to be the best translation of the TTC to read while going through the dark times in one's life.

But I found Brian Browne Walker's translation of the Tao te Ching while going through a really bad divorce, multiple surgeries, and an all around crappy time in my life.

And it spoke to me, as if ole Laozi was there beside me, reading it to me himself.

While I study Red Pine's translation of the TTC much of the time now, I have a really special place in my heart for Mr. Walker's translation.

It's written by a man who KNOWS disaster, and devastation, and a man who has also walked through it all to the other side, and out of the shadows, and into the light of a life, well lived.

Walker translates the Tao te Ching with PASSION, and as other reviewers also mention, with clarity.

If you are going through a hard time in your own life, I encourage you to buy a copy of Brian Browne Walker's translation of the TTC, and let it speak to YOU, just as it did, and STILL DOES, to ME.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1996
Format: Hardcover
I have read many different translations of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. Mr. Walker's translation opens up to the reader a whole new realm of Tao philosophy with beautiful, insiteful words which more perfectly capture the essence of Lao Tzu's thoughts and philosophy. Lao Tzu was one of the greatest philosophers and sages of our planet, and Mr. Brian Walker is the individual alive today who is most in tune with the ancient bodisatva's thoughts. This book is well worth the money as it comforts an individual in any possible situation. The wisdom of the Tao is eternal, and this translation of the Tao Te Ching captures its essence better than any other translation I have come across
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Marco V. Parayno on February 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
i had read many translations of the tao te ching and i'm happy to say that mr. walker's version is readable, smooth and filled clarity. it is a good translation because he explained the tao te ching without sounding so cryptic. instead, he explained with great clarity that even a five year old kid will appreciate. again, i recommend this translation and thanks, mr. walker.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ben Abraham on November 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of the approximately one-dozen translations of the Tao Te Ching that I have read, this is my least favorite. The translation sometimes strays into surprisingly shallow waters.

Mr Walker, in an apparent attempt to "modernize" the Tao Te Ching, has simply diluted its strength.

Mr. Walker's pronoun usage further weakens the timelessness of this classic text. The Tao Te Ching, in its original, uses gender neutral language. The best translations retain this neutrality. Mr. Walker, unfortunatley, uses gender specific pronouns -- sometimes masculine and sometime feminine. This "modernization" distracts from the power and universality of the Tao Te Ching's ideas.

The book is very handsome, though.

If you're looking for a modern yet more faithful and powerful translation -- one with depth and bite -- I recommend two: one by Ellen Chen, and one by Derek Lin.
Both are excellent, and both include excellent commentary, too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Markham on October 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
So far this is the best translation of the Tao Te Ching I have come across. I have tried the often recommended version by Stephen Mitchell, (which Brian Walker also recommends), but I just did not connect with it. It surprised me that I preferred Walker's version because it is the more literal translation, so I expected it to be less poetic and moving than Mitchell's version. On the contrary though, I found Walker's version to be much more poetic and moving.

Another reviewer has commented that Walker states this is not a strict translation. For me, I am not much concerned whether a version is a literal translation, or more of a "rendition". What matters to me is whether I connect with the words. I'm not qualified to say how literal Walker's translation is, but to put the other reviewers comment into perspective, let me quote from Walker's forward:

"I have endeavored in my own to stay as close as possible to the direct literal translation of the Chinese characters; in a very few places, it proved impossible to do that and get the proper idea across, and in those instances I have used the minimal amount of poetic license necessary to effectively communicate the teaching."

In any case, you can compare the first several poems from both versions here on Amazon. I suggest you compare each side by side and then get the version you connect with most.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I was very pleased at the translation given to this book. I was rather pleased with this book by Walker, although the same feeling was not shared with his interpretation of the Unknown writings of Lao Tzu. I would adise, though that one should read MANY interpretations of the Tao Te Ching, and interpret each one unto himself
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Earthian on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My reading of Walker's translation takes meaning from its poetic power to shine a light inward. This is the scope and praxis of the Tao to move one toward heroic self reliance. Moreover, this translation is the most assessable one I've read. Each chapter, each verse, provides a moment of contemplation to look not only at one's inner landscape, but to measure the contemporary moment we find ourselves and reflecting back the places where we are unbalanced.

This book is a living meditation which illuminates the Tao in every step, every significant moment we take forward. I've given this book to friends for gifts. I've used it is a primer for guidance. But most importantly, I've used it to transform my own life.

Other translations of the Tao Te Ching are overly academic missing the simplistic unfolding of the moment we live in. One won't find that type of corruption in Walker's translation.

I read passages from this book everyday, and what I find is that its wisdom has seeped into the core of my being, and softened the contours of my thinking mind, and wild heart. I believe this is what Lao Tzu had in mind in writing this masterpiece of human wisdom.

Further, my guess is that Lao Tzu himself would be able to take refuge in the pages of this book with both a smile on his or her face, and provide a knowing nod that Walker captures the heart and essence of the Tao.
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