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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unpretentious, simple, beautiful, and thought-provoking.
I've bought several versions of the Tao Te Ching over the years, my favorite being that by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. Le Guin's "rendition" startled me with its everyday language and showed the Tao in a new light.
Translations of this work vary considerably, so I was particularly impressed with Le Guin's inclusion of material explaining what led...
Published on 13 Aug 1998

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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sinologists will not be leaping from bridges in despair
Le Guin notes, "This [book] is a rendition, not a translation. I do do not know any Chinese." Her interpretation joins the growing pseudo-genre of New Age personal takes on ancient wisdom, and as such, is interesting. However, packaged with the odor of scholarship on the title page, nowhere allowing the scholar mentioned to comment on the effect of his...
Published on 21 Sep 1997


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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unpretentious, simple, beautiful, and thought-provoking., 13 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Tao Te Ching (Hardcover)
I've bought several versions of the Tao Te Ching over the years, my favorite being that by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. Le Guin's "rendition" startled me with its everyday language and showed the Tao in a new light.
Translations of this work vary considerably, so I was particularly impressed with Le Guin's inclusion of material explaining what led her to this undertaking and why she cast Lao Tzu's ideas the way she did. This honesty and the bare, simple beauty of her language seem to me very much an expression of the Tao.
In a world where everything seems so strident and competetive, this simple account of what one person found in this very old and much-loved book is more valuable to me than shelves full of scholarly, definitive, acclaimed, or approved translations.
This book not only talks about the Tao, it exemplifies the Tao.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensible and Beautiful, 30 Oct 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Tao Te Ching (Hardcover)
After looking at dozens of translations, this is the one I kept. It hasn't lost all poetry, and seems true to the spirit of the Tao as I understand it. Still, it's readable by anyone who sits down with it and contemplates.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drink daily..., 4 Oct 2010
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It's like a clear, cool spring, that bubbles at my bedside; I drink daily. Le Guin applies intelligence and art to rendering this famous text and makes it fresh for today. I can't compare it to the original as I have no ancient Chinese (funnily enough!). I can only hear it in the context of now and it chimes a true note.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a hotchpotch, but potched by a writer of genius, 27 Jun 2014
This review is from: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching (Paperback)
I have loved Ursula Le Guin since reading "A Wizard of Earthsea"" (because one of our children had ordered it from a school book club and then set it aside.) This doesn't pretend to be a translation. A writer with a lovely feel for language had researched the Dao and read practically every English version of Lao Tzu's book that she could get her hands on. Normally a person would be embarrassed to recommend something that's 'only' a paraphrase of other peoples' work, but this is the most satisfying "Tao te Ching" I ever opened. It doesn't sacrifice beautiful language for the sake of some spurious "clarity". Other versions that force some personal interpretation on the reader of WHAT IT MEANS are nothing to do with the Dao. At the same time, versions by "purists" who don't care if the words appear in any order that is sensible to a Western reader don't help either. I was always a little bit disappointed in Le Guin's own poetry - (her prose seemed much more naturally lyrical to me). In this case she captures the poetic spirit of a unique philosopher, and in doing so, as far as I am concerned, builds a bridge across huge gaps in time and culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars zen tao etc etc some real beauts in here throws your head into its space, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way (Kindle Edition)
what to say thats not already been said not much i guess tao zen bhuddisim same old place the nature of mind considering its own condition the nature of the universe bieng the nature of your mind etc etc quite like some of ms le guins commentary good journey recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great new presentation, 24 Oct 2013
I enyoy listening to her reading this lovely translation its great to have the dao in this form a form of nourishment
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic translation, 17 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way (Kindle Edition)
Beautiful translation with a lovely commentary, well worth the read. This book will keep you company through all the good and bad life can throw
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended bedside / coffee table book for everybody!, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching (Paperback)
Fantastic book, beautiful interpretation of the Tao, in modern, easily approachable but still poetic and lyrical language.
Numinous and enlightening!
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5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite edition, 7 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way (Kindle Edition)
the book is not the thing, unless your table wobbles. its the insights of the translation made accessible with only the necessary footnotes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughful translation and work from a great writer, 16 Nov 2009
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J. Baron - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching (Paperback)
I am a great admirer of Ursula Le Guin's work and recently took up Tai Chi
I haven't read lots of different translations of this work and can't
read Chinese so to read something created by a writer I respect
and love is always an interesting prospect. This translation is imbued with
the qualities that make U K Le Guin so special. If you like her writing
and would like to know more of the philosophical and moral underpinnings
then this is one source. I think it must be a daunting task to
undertake to translate from a language that you can't read, and no doubt
people who can read Chinese will question the translation but I enjoyed
it and gained from it.
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