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Tao Te Ching Paperback – January 1, 1994
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About the Author
Stephen Mitchell's many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, Gilgamesh, and The Second Book of the Tao, as well as The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, and Meetings with the Archangel.
- Lexile Measure : 910L
- Item Weight : 1.92 ounces
- Paperback : 144 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060812451
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060812454
- Product Dimensions : 5 x 3.5 x 0.6 inches
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Compact Edition (January 1, 1994)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #23,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Finally, I want to comment on this particular publication of the Tao Te Ching. This hard bound, illustrated volume was published in 1999 by France's Lincoln Ltd. The most complementary thing I can say is that the publisher produced a book that is worthy of the text. The illustrations, compiled by Stephen Little, beautifully compliment the text and provide an ambiance for contemplation. I almost never purchase a physical book and rely on my tablet for virtually all of my reading. But not this time. This is a book to hold in your hands and savor.
This version by Stephen Mitchell is my favorite. He didn't try to translate the words but instead the wisdom. English and Chinese just aren't very compatible. I will trade accuracy for readability any day, especially when I am giving this book away to people all the time. The hardcover and the presentation are beautiful making it an excellent gift. People give me a lot of feedback when I give this to them, they aren't just putting in on the shelf. When they quote it I know it is making a difference in their lives. Having access to Lou Tzu's wisdom is kind of like being in a club that is special because you become immune to the endless attempts by the mind to deceive you.
Top reviews from other countries
I was confused at first to go to the Stephen Mitchell translation and see reviewers state it was too academic or had words in parentheses. What has happened is that Amazon, once again, has mashed multiple translations, some are over 100 years old and not very good.
If you want my advice and you are just starting out get the Stephen Mitchell translation and read the introduction. The Tao Te Ching doesn't just contain one or two nuggets of wisdom, it is an entire system of thought. How to centre your life in the Dao and what that looks like. To me Mitchell himself is master of this way. I'm not saying he has it all figured out or he understands Loa Tsu perfectly, but he puts things so simply that it's hard not to understand the spirit behind the teachings.
Mitchell also authored The Second Book of the Dao, which is a selection from the writings of Zhuangzi. It will help further illuminate the Tao Te Ching and shows just how surprisingly joyful and funny the ancient Daoists were.
Perhaps after that you could go in for one of the more modern academic translation like Derek Lin's work, which translates the text literally but poetically and has copious notes throughout. Lin also has a YT channel where he teaches on the Tao Te Ching in depth (two-hour talks on a portion of one chapter!)
Please don't give up on the Tao Te Ching because of a poor translation or because it seems difficult to understand. It is by digging that you find the gold. :)