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on 1 July 2012
What can I say that's not already been said about this timeless classic. Its philosophy of God (Tao), attunement and character building (humility, dignity, leadership etc.) holds such depth and covers such scope. I've personally witness its success not only in my own life but also of other accomplished people in all spheres of life including the cut and thrust of the corporate world.

So why only four stars?

Because unfortunately I'm not enamoured with this particular translation by Dwight Goddard. Please realise this a personal choice so by all means don't let me put you off (check out the preview). I feel it tries too hard for clarification whilst paradoxically it achieves only confusion and in some chapters almost unintelligible. It tries to be poetic but comes across as prosaic.

It really is a shame as it's quite a handsome edition (handy sized black hardback) and includes a wonderful sixteen page introduction by Tom Butler-Bowdon which adds enormous value to the text.

In summary if this specific rendering of the Tao Te Ching touches you I can whole-heartedly recommend this edition. It's great value for money and you'll be wiser for the experience; indeed you'll be also richer for its assiduity.
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There is no shortage of outstanding translations of Lao Tzu's ancient classic and an even greater number of commentaries on what he characterizes as "the timeless, changeless spirit that runs through all life and matter...Being that is all inclusive and that existed before Heaven and Earth."

Those who have read one or more of the volumes that comprise Tom Butler-Bowdon's "50 Classics" series already know that he possesses superior reasoning and writing skills as well as a relentless curiosity when conducting research on history's greatest thinkers and their major works. For these and other reasons, I cannot think of another person better qualified to provide the introductions to the volumes that comprise a new series, "Capstone Classics."

Unlike so many others, he provides more, much more than a flimsy "briefing" to the given work. In his 32-page Introduction to this edition of Tao Te Ching, Butler-Bowdon discusses subjects and issues such as these in order to create a context, a frame-of-reference, for Lao Tzu's insights:

o What is - and isn't - "Tao"
o Recognizing and then being in harmony with its power
o The value and limits of worldly power, fame, and riches
o The need for self-restraint
o Why we should treasure simplicity, purity, compassion, economy (i.e. frugality), and humility
o The importance of "not doing" (i.e. wu wei)
o The limits and perils of "striving"
o Tao Te Ching and Tolstoy's theory of history
o The unique value of timelessness
o Tao Te Ching and Plato's concept of "Forms"
o Lao Tzu and Confucius

When concluding his brilliant Introduction, Butler-Bowdon acknowledges attempts by major scholars to understand - and then explain - classic works such as Tao Te Ching:

"Yet as Lao Tzu himself implies in the text (`The learned men are often not the wise men, nor the wise men, the learned.'), scholars are usually not good at grasping spiritual concepts, and moreover the Chinese language with its five thousand characters is ill-equipped for expressing the abstract idea of Tao. [Dwight] Goddard was therefore not interested in providing the most pedantically correct translation, but rather to capture the essence of a work he loved."

This Capstone edition uses the classic rendering of the Tao Teh Ching in Dwight Goddard & Henri Borel's Laotzu's Tao and Wu Wei, New York: Brentano's, 1919. According to Tom Butler-Bowdon, Goddard's approach is the one to take. That's good enough for me.
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on 5 August 2012
For readers who want to get the essence of this Chinese classic without having to access the olden text or go through dubious translations, this is the book to get.

Chinese classics are usually perceived as being hard to comprehend and cryptic as they were written in an olden style, and I believe that is one of the main reasons for declining interest in ancient classic texts.

However, this book proved otherwise- this difficult topic is now easy to read and understand. The ideas were presented in an audience-centric manner and well introduced by Tom Butler-Bowden to people new to classics like myself. He did a good job in deciphering and distilling the essence of this 'mystical' subject that has withstood the test of many centuries.

The ideas were captured well in short paragraphs and the huge concept headings helped in capturing the essence of each subject, making the book enjoyable and understandable.

A must-read for those who want to get a quick introduction and insight into this ancient Chinese classic.

(An icing to the cake would be to have some Chinese characters for the main topics or the original text to assist bilingual readers to better appreciate the Tao Te Ching; but it has already done its job well)
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on 5 March 2013
The wisdom contained within the Tao is timeless and indeed references many of indigenous wisdom found across the world, particularly in African proverbs.

This is a fascinating book that prompts one to reflect on and assess their very lives, as well as the nature of their social and other relationships...to reflect on their own selves and motivations for self-directed actions.

Definitely worth a read!
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on 15 July 2012
Being a fan of the works of Deepak Chopra I knew that I would like this classic of eastern philosophy and spirituality. I was not disappointed. The book is greatly enhanced by the scholarly introduction by Tom Butler-Bowdon (TB-B), which adds context and insight into the timeless wisdom of this work. I followed TB-Bs recommendation to dip into this book, as it is a series of meditations contained in short chapters. If you are one who likes to reflect on daily life this is a great book to stimulate your thinking. This Capstone book is excellent value, and it has whetted my appetite to read the rest of this series of classic books.
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on 2 February 2015
I was put off by the apparent lack of proof reading in this edition - doesn't seem like much care was taken over it. Stray punctuation marks, the word 'in' mistakenly replaced with the letter 'm'. Not the kind of thing I expect to find in a published book!
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on 24 November 2015
Brilliant. Really can't recommend this book enough (and I have). I found a lot of comfort in this book. Hopefully you do too.
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on 3 September 2014
Excellent! If you like to contemplate this book will keep you picking it up to just be in the moment.
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on 7 February 2015
I got it for my husband and it is one of the best books he keeps on telling me
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on 11 April 2015
Excellent read, would recommend this to anyone interested in Philosophy
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