44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living The Wisdom Of The Tao (Paperback)
Overall, I'm a bit disappointed with this book. I'd heard of Wayne Dyer and had reasonably high expectations for this book. The idea of presenting the Tao Te Ching in language intended to be more accessible to a Western reader sounded appealing.
The book is not awful, and it's not even bad... but for some reason, reading it makes me feel sort of down, rather than encouraged, uplifted, or enlightened. I think, for me, the book seems just a bit too American. ie, it's not really written so much for the Western reader, as for the American reader. I found it very difficult to relate to his presentation of some ideas, and I think the reason for this is two-fold:
1. it feels very much like a 'master speaks to student' sort of voice. Which, I've gathered from other interpretations I've read elsewhere, is contrary to the spirit of the text. I didn't get a feeling, as I was reading, that this was a fellow human who shared common human weaknesses, so much as a self-appointed sage who was trying to show the rest of us where we've got it wrong. Which I wouldn't actually mind, if his writing charmed me and I'd got enough of his personality to think 'This is one cool dude who I'd love to emulate' - but it was all sort of 'eh', so the outcome was a bit patronising (IMO) rather than beguiling.
2. A lot of his interpretations differ markedly from interpretations I've read elsewhere. Since I'm by no means an expert in the Tao, I don't want to go so far as to say, "He's wrong and everyone else I've ever read is right" - but his interpretation does feel rather more shallow to me than others I have read. As an example, he seems to translate 'ego' as being roughly equivalent to 'hubristic pride' and 'unexamined self interest'. Whereas most other books I've read seem to translate ego in this context as a belief in yourself as a separate entity.
I've given it three stars rather than two as it's still a lot better than a lot of the self-help dross out there, and it does have some very sensible advice, and perhaps a nugget of insight hidden in here and there.