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The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart Hardcover – May 9, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159240197X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592401970
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his third book, American icon Nelson mingles stories, jokes and adages with a collection of "lessons" he has learned "in this life." Loosely basing his book on the philosophical text of the Tao Te Ching, Nelson advocates incorporating into one's life many of the teachings of that ancient work, such as meditation and the belief that all things are interconnected. But while the Tao may inspire this book, Nelson's charming, often humorous tales of his Texas childhood, cowboy lifestyle, and famous and interesting friends make the "mysteries of life" not all that mysterious. Indeed, with chapter titles like "The Golden Rule" and "Don't Think No Negative Thoughts," the book is rooted as much in down-home common sense as it is in mystical philosophy. Nelson also shares his liberal views on subjects like marijuana ("I'll support a war on drugs, but not a war on flowers or herbs"), the environment ("Biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions up to eighty percent") and war ("I believe in peace"). Whatever his message, the "Red-Headed Stranger" conveys his thoughts in the same friendly, endearing manner that has made his songs part of the fabric of American life. (On sale May 9)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Novelist, golf writer, and longtime Nelson compadre Pipkin mounts this collection of the grizzled singer's bromides, aphorisms, and observations in an upbeat, warm-and-fuzzy manner designed to comfort as much as to guide readers through life's prickly situations. Recurring snippets of "The Willie Way" alternate with Nelson's views on "The Golden Rule," "The Time of the Preacher," and similar timeless topics. No doubt these are heartfelt expressions of Nelson's worldview, but as advice, they are less provocative than those delivered in, say, Hell's Angel Sonny Barger's similar set of musings, Freedom (2005). Likely to comfort those already in Willie's thrall, and likely useless to others, the little collection still has high circulation potential, given Nelson's standing with the boomer music-lover demographic. Such maxims as "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results" can do no harm, and god knows Willie, avuncular and far removed from his "outlaw" days, can't, either. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

At that time it was still a question in my mind so I answered him in this way.
H. B. Funk
In this little gem of a book, the wisdom of age shines through, as does a warm sense of humor and a great outlook on life.
Linda Painchaud-Steinman
'To me, it seems like the only way we can achieve the perfection that Jesus wanted for us is to keep at it'.
Beth DeRoos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 112 people found the following review helpful By L. Power TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was acting like any good Amazon customer, and browsing this in the bookstore, and then hotfooted here to buy it.

This book could have many titles, the wisdom of Willie for example, but it was the Tao that caught my attention.

If you are like me, you might agree that the Tao Te Ching which is 2,500 years old is one of the best books of wisdom ever written. You might also tend to think Willie would not be one of its exponents.

I am not particularly a Willie Nelson fan, though I do respect his output as a singer and songwriter, with songs such as Patsy Cline's classic Crazy.

Yet, I find myself laughing innapropriately out loud in the bookstore, as he relates various adventures, jokes and anecdotes with tieins to the Tao.

Willie is an excellent raconteur and joke teller, an interesting character, and, naturally, a consummate entertainer.

I highly recommend this as an entertaining read. As far as the Tao is concerned, you will need to read that separately, and I think Willie will pique your interest, with his many references, and applications of its principles. If you were to buy the Tao Te Ching,I recommend the Stephen Mitchell version.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By T. Pipkin on May 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Turk Pipkin here, Willie's co-author on The Tao of Willie, so it's no surprise that I'm giving the book 5 stars. I noticed Willie was being criticized for being honest on the Daily Show and saying the book was my idea. He could easily say otherwise, but that wouldn't be Wiliie and it wouldn't be Tao. For almost 30 years I've been proud to call Willie my friend, and to have had frequent oportunities to write about him. But this was my first chance to sit down with Wilie and sift through his amazing life for the stories and his approach to life that have brought so much happines to his fans, his family, to me, and to Willie himself. Coming up with an idea for a book is not the same as writing it, and I think most readers will agree, The Tao of Willie is 100% Willie Nelson.

"I don't know if the things I write here will change your life," Willie says in the book, "But they sure changed mine."

I've published ten books of fiction and nonfiction, most of them personal in nature, but the Tao of Willie stands out as one of those rare books that turned out so much better than we ever dreamed. The book starts with Willie saying it took him a long time to learn the value of the things he was taught as a boy back in Abbott, Texas - a firm handshake, look people in the eye, speak truthfully, and respect your elders - and it ends with Willie saysing, I do not fear death, because there is no death." That's quite an arc of learning.

Throw in a few of Willie's favorite jokes, a little bit of politicking about bio-diesel and America the Beautiful, the simple philosophies that keep him healthy and living in the present moment, lessons learned in a lifetime of making great music, a few million friends and a loving family, and you get a pretty good measure of the man.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Beth DeRoos HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A few weeks ago I heard Willie Nelson on NPR's Fresh Air show where the book was mentioned. The interview affected me so much I ordered the book from Amazon.com the same day and got it two days later.

Ok, I admit that I wondered as I placed my Amazon.com order whether this book by Willie Nelson would be yet another book by a celebrity with little substance and a goal to simply make the celebrity author more money. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise. So much so that I am buying extra copies for my local library and a couple friends.

Don't overlook the Introduction written by Turk Pipkin, because he shares a lot of insight into this special man named Willie Nelson.

On page 5 the author gives a riddle. What Is It? What is gooder than God? More evil that the devil? The rich need it The poor have it And if you eat it you will die? (The answer is at the end of this review. He then gives an understandable definition of what 'The Tao' is.

So appealing is how he speaks of his sister Bobbie, his eccentric parents Ira and Myrtle, and his beloved grandparents Mama and Daddy Nelson who raised the two kids in Abbott, Texas where the author notes he still owns a home. The one the doctor who delivered him lived in.

And the jokes that the author includes in most chapters are side busting funny and I share one with someone at least daily. The author is so correct when he speaks of the value of humor in the Tao of life. Even his nick name from when he was a kid 'Booger Red' makes me laugh.

On page 11 he writes 'Using your religion and faith as a guide to your actions will do more for other people than if you just talk about it'.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By HagFan on July 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I feel that I am probably as close to being the perfect person to review this book as you're going to find. I'm not bragging. I'm just telling it the way it is. In 1997 I suffered a nervous breakdown, and was diagnosed as clinically depressed. I was off work for a year, went back to attempt to save my job, then had a second breakdown, and went into depression again. My circumstances were caused mainly due to the stress of my job.

With that said, I will tell you that I have been seeing psychiatrists and therapists for 9 years now. I'm attempting to live my life the best I know how, and have taken in alot of wise things said to me by my doctors and therapists.

I have been a fan of Willie nelson's for nearly 35 years now, and I've heard every criticism about his long hair and people who don't really care for his music. That's their loss. I've had the honor of meeting the great man on 5 different occasions. He's one of the kindest, most gentle people you'd ever want to meet. But, that's not why I'm writing this review. If you are having any emotional problems at all concerning your life in genearal, or if you have, or are, going through some of what I have gone through, I highly recommend this book to you. You will learn so much about ways at looking at your everyday life and your future on this earth that we all share than you will learn from a hundred so-called professionals in the field of psychology. The great thing too about this book, is that Willie breaks up each and every chapter with some of the funniest jokes you've ever heard. So, what he does is, he tells you how he looks at things that we all go through, and makes you laugh at the same time. So, if you are paying a Doctor maybe 85 or 90 dollars an hour to listen to what your problems are(and, don't get me wrong, they do serve you well), buy this book for $20.00, or check it out at your local library. It will be the best medicine that you've recieved yet. Thanks for listening.
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