This book presents a breadth of detail that remains faithful to the ancient text, with the clarity and simplicity that only comes from a deep understanding.
The author expects this slim, practical book to be read interactively. It is presented as a Book of Change: to be read in the pursuit of the wisest, most effective way of living in the world. In my experience, allowing ourselves to change under its guidance does enable us to live more skilfully. Mrs Barrett offers realistic suggestions on how to "walk this path". There are sections on framing good questions, the mechanics of consulting the oracle, how to hear its response and on integrating what we learn into our lives. Each of the hexagrams includes a "Key Questions" section which help in this process.
I have many books on the Yijing and this treatment is among the clearest. Alongside the core Zhou text she includes a useful selection of the additional texts showing what the ancient Chinese felt it meant. I particularly liked the brief yet evocative trigram descriptions, giving these possibly obscure notions an intuitive shape and some relationship with each other.
Mrs Barrett's translation is in simple English, but not so simplified as to obscure the original imagery. For instance, we don't often come across carts whose axles have come untied, or foxes getting their tails wet crossing a river. But these word pictures are rarely so foreign as to be incomprehensible and she offers adequate explanation when they are. As a result the text is both accessible and evocative, with enough meat to keep the reader thinking, until how the underlying wisdom applies to the reader's question becomes clear.
This edition makes a good introduction to the I Ching. Yet there is also enough food for thought in this modern treatment to make it an excellent companion to more traditional translations.