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Publisher's Summary

The original mindfulness book, in a landmark new translation by the award-winning translator of the I Ching and The Art of War

The most translated book in the world after the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, or “Book of the Tao,” is a guide to cultivating a life of peace, serenity, and compassion. Through aphorisms and parable, it leads readers toward the Tao, or the “Way”: harmony with the life force of the universe. Traditionally attributed to Lao-tzu, a Chinese philosopher thought to have been a contemporary of Confucius, it is the essential text of Taoism, one of the three major religions of ancient China. As one of the world’s great works of wisdom literature, it still has much to teach us today, offering a practical model based on modesty and self-restraint for living a balanced existence and for opening your mind, freeing your thoughts, and attaining greater self-awareness. With its emphasis on calm, simplicity, purity, and non-action, it provides a time-tested refuge from the busyness of modern life.

This new translation seeks to understand the Tao Te Ching as a guide to everyday living and encourages a slow, meditative reading experience. The Tao Te Ching’s eighty-one brief chapters are accompanied by illuminating commentary, interpretation, poems, and testimonials by the likes of Margaret Mead, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

©2018 John Minford (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“The power of the ­Lao-­tzu’s imagery and, ultimately, the simplicity of its message seem to be able to overcome the problems of language and of distance in time and place, so that at the end of the twentieth century, this has become one of the most influential of texts, cherished by people in all walks of life throughout the world.” (From the introduction by Sarah Allan)

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What listeners say about Tao Te Ching

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  • Todd S Cutler
  • 01-04-19

Part history, part geneology.

After looking and feeling dissatisfied with the other books and translations I got exactly what I wanted with this text. This book provides context from the translator while being completely self-aware of the pitfalls this task. The translator takes a "this is what you are getting yourself into approach" which is surprisingly liberating when it gets to the text. Can't recommend this enough.

19 people found this helpful

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  • leonardo
  • 19-11-19

Great book

Tao te ching is a short book, this version have several adicional pieces of text that complement the original one very well , i found this book realy well made and the best on Audible to know more about lao tzu and his life changing teachings 10/10

16 people found this helpful

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  • Dimitri
  • 21-02-20

Insightful, but oh... the pronunciation

This is a wonderful translation of the Tao Te Ching. The narrator does a wonderful job but I wish more attention was paid to the pronunciation of the Chinese words and names.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Phillip J. Fitzsimmons
  • 16-01-20

I liked it a lot

At some point I got a used print copy to look at occasionally. There is so much in this book that it is too much to only listen to without getting lost. BTW, I'm not saying everyone would need to get a print copy to keep from getting lost. I'm saying I needed to do that. The comment was not meant as a criticism.

However, I greatly enjoyed the book. I recommend it. I think I will be listening to and reading this translation multiple times in the future. The voice presentation is very good.

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  • Tim B.
  • 03-12-19

The way that can be spoken of is not the eternal w

6 ish hours explaining the inexplicable, trying to expound upon a master's teaching. probably a great study guide for a college student content with staring at the fingers to pass a class, not for someone who wants to see the moon. tried skipping the "explanations" but it got tiring.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Byron ****s
  • 27-03-21

...And then he mentioned the Beatles. One star off

This is a fine work on Taoism whose impact is reduced by embarrassing hero worship of the 1960s controlled-opposition media creations who are no longer distracting or hypnotizing the masses with propaganda-product bubblegum LSD jingles. Young people are rediscovering, and creating, great and complex music today, baffled by yesterday's gullible imitators of corporate-backed multi-millionaire 'rebels' who in many cases came from privileged backgrounds (like the Laurel Canyon 'legends' with their links to the military they 'criticized'). The Beatles no more belong in a work about the most organic concept in human history, than greedy televangelists should be named and legitimated in an introduction to the Holy Bible.

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  • Cade
  • 07-03-21

It is Great without being Great!

I enjoyed listening to the book.
I don't know what else to say.
Fifteen words.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gary alpis
  • 30-01-19

Tao te ching

Peaceful awareness, connections to Tao, being in the Void of TAO, silent and still, in this present moment of the Now.

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  • Karl
  • 05-09-21

Great

This is a book of riddles that you will have to read many times so don't be discouraged if you don't understand the first time around.

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  • Arnaldo Cruz
  • 11-02-21

Truly mind opening

I’ve recently started the journey of learning more about myself and how to live life the way we are supposed to. This is my second book in search for truths and it has been eye opening. I was able to find similarities in Lao Tzu’s teachings that go hand in hand with other ideologies and religions. I found the book very easy to follow, and the addition of other people’s perspectives of the teachings really adds to the different ways you can process the book. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Victor
  • 30-11-19

Extremely Confusing, Here's Why:

I am familiarised with many great works from many different disciplines and areas. The Tao Te Ching itself is confusing, indeed how can it not be when the concept of the Taoist Tao is completely inarticulable. This version does, however, add to this confusion. The demarcations between various commentators and indeed Laozi's original text are, while present, not often defined clearly enough atleast in this audio format.

As such one may find oneself listening only to wonder if the had been listening to Minford, Laozi, The Rivermaster or other.

I would recommend also reading an alternate version without commentary first in order to better differentiate between commentary and core text.

Apart from this, highly informative and enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-07-20

Discarded

disjointed too much irrelevant information for a book allegedly relating spiritual teachings. Misses the point of the teachings completely

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amer B.
  • 09-03-20

audio skipping

there is a problem with audio skipping all the way through, seems like a good book part from that but can't listen to it like this

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-07-20

guidance to live by

calming and insightful. has given me a fresh look on life and helped me put certain behaviours to bed.
enjoyed the voice of the narrator

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew Kidd
  • 20-05-22

Too much commentary

It was hard tell what text was in the original and what was written by contemporary commentators.

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  • amanda c white
  • 01-04-22

Expansion on the Tao Te Ching.

It was enlightening to listen to others understanding and interpretation of the translation, from what I would call the ultimate spiritual teaching purely based on its simplicity.

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  • Selby
  • 25-12-21

The way of the world

A beautiful description of the way of the world - of nature, the universe and the constant flow of things all within and outside of our control - wrapped in the wisdom of a thousand years (or more) by whomever may have written it, be it Lao Tzu or you!

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  • paul ashton
  • 17-10-21

when meaning is known words can be discarded...

this gem from a book which is simply delightful to listen to.

worth listening closely to the notes on, who is commenting where,once this is accepted and understood,the book then becomes like a discussion around meaning and context of the writing.

Each commentator then becomes the version of themselves that one may consider to have a certain set of positions.so this then helps the listeners to apply another sort of verification to understand.

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  • Adrian J. Smith
  • 17-04-21

An interesting expansion

The actual Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing) is only 5,000 words, the length of a University essay. However, the meaning is abstract and if not difficult to decipher, at the very least difficult to absorb.
Therefore, Daoism, as the major indigenous religion of China is widely known, but comparatively less understood. The basic notions within Daoism is a philosophy of Harmony with nature, Harmony with others and this is to be achieved by subtlety and the concept of non-action.
Daoism in itself is not completed with the Tao Te Ching, the other texts are the book of Zhuang Zi and the book of Lie Zi, which receive mention within this text.
Daoism is not easy to understand, and simply reading the Tao Te Ching is far from enough, however the expansion and commentary take the reader further toward understanding Daoism than a simple reading if the text would.
The audio is very calm and nicely read, although is a little slow at times and can make it difficult to maintain interest at times.
Overall an interesting read or listen, and helps someway toward understanding Daoism, no easy task in itself.

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  • Karolina Hauerova
  • 05-03-21

Well narrated, peaceful read.

I love this book. So well narrated, every commentary is nicely divided, nice slow pace. It is making me calm, settled in the life. I am listening it for second time already and every time I find that something else resonate with me.

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  • Hong
  • 29-07-21

Excellent Translation

great English translation of a classic Chinese text that is at the root of a lot of Eastern philosophy.

The narration is calming and gentle, like the Dao. If they had a narrator who could speak perfect mandarin and therefore properly pronounce the many Chinese words referred to in the audio, then it would be perfect.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-21

love the Tao Te ching.

this version wasn't quite the version I was looking for, but it comes with extra content, interpretation and insight. so im definitely not complaining at all. very happy with this book

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  • Chris. 10 years of mountain bike maintenance.
  • 24-09-20

Well put together but much is over my head

I like the way the Tao text is split up with musings from other scholars. A really good effort at bringing such an esoteric text to a wider audience.

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  • Joseph Azize
  • 31-08-20

fractured

the idea of breaking up the reading of the Tao te Ching with commentaries doesn't work. You lose a sense of the flow

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  • TeeGee
  • 18-07-20

Frustrating

Frustrating to listen to, this was my first try at Tao de Ching. The book repeats itself over and over for each verse, with a number of interpretations saying the same thing. I’m feeling like it’s wasting my time and I’m going to be more careful choosing another version. It might have been better in print.