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The Tao of Pooh Paperback – July 28, 1983
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Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.
About the Author
Benjamin Hoff grew up in a rural area a few miles from Portland, Oregon. As a child, he preferred to spend his time outdoors, observing animals, insects, and plants. And from an early age he loved to write. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling The Te of Piglet and The Diary of Opal Whiteley.
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Among other things, Hoff is an exceptionally talented author. I am amazed that he was able to explain the basics of Taoism via A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh characters. I have read hundreds of self-help books and numerous books on Taoism, but none explain the basic tenets as much as this one does and besides, Pooh makes me laugh out loud!
Benjamin uses Eeyour, Piglet, Rabbit, the Owl, Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Roo and Christopher Robin brilliantly in the nine chapters of this 157-page explanation of the concepts of Taoism as a "particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life." It is a lesson in awareness as in taking the time to really see, listen, smell, taste, touch and feel nature just as it is.
He translates, simplifies and explains ancient Taoism and stories in terms we can understand how this way of life can be used in everyday life though Milne's humorous characters.
This book has been translated in many languages--Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, German, Spanish and more--and is also sold in a set with The Te of Piglet.
I thoroughly appreciate this short wisdom book and bet you will too!
The story of how I came across this book alone is worthy of mention. Years ago, I had printed out online articles about bodybuilding, had read them and had stored them away. After graduating from college last month, I felt the need of going through my old stuff back home to clean the place out when I came upon the articles. One of the articles, called “The Recovery Battlefield” made mention of stress and life views and referenced this book, The Tao of Pooh, as something to read on the subject of life management. Though I used to read a few pages of the Tao te Ching daily when younger, I decided to give this book a whirl thanks to the suggestion of a bodybuilding article! I thoroughly enjoyed it and many of the messages still struck me as timelessly true: the busy bee, inner nature, seeing and accepting things as they are, and so forth. The author writes about these concepts in a way that is understandable and, at the same time, very thoughtful.
As a kid watching Winnie the Pooh and reading the books, I really had no idea that the show and books touched on such deep life lessons. Though I feel the actual connection with Taoism is open to interpretation, the main concepts relating to Taoism and to Pooh touch on many of the same chords.
The only issue I had with the book is its negative portrayal of other thought systems. Though one of Taoism’s main points (according to the author, even) is to accept things for how they are, Benjamin Hoff is very critical of such bodies of thought as “the thinker” and “the calculator.” There are faults to every type of person… that is what makes us human. Being a little more open-minded and accepting would have made the author and this book a 5-star read.
That being said, it's a very quick read, and may be a good primer for mindfulness, or someone working to calm an anxious mind.
Most recent customer reviews
Live like the Pooh.
Ancient wisdom as translated thru a bear.