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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2016
Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo have achieved here an excellent, readily assimilated translation of the Tao Te Ching into English, which is rewardingly enhanced by Burton Watson's very helpful introduction, in which he clearly explains in succinct fashion all the salient points necessary for the best appreciation of the text. A helpful translators' preface and pronunciation guide are also included along with a glossary of Chinese words appearing at the end of the work, in which the western style alphabetical spelling of a variety of Chinese picture writing characters is given. Attractive calligraphic illustrations are dispersed throughout the work.

Not very much is known about Lao Tzu to whom authorship of the Tao Te Ching is attributed. Tradition has it that he was a contemporary of Confucius (551-479 BCE) and that the two of them met on at least one occasion, but we cannot be sure about this. Whereas Confucianism is very much a male orientated, good governance teaching from the top down aspect, Taoism confronts the vagaries of daily existence as experienced by every day folk. More is known about a later Tao teacher called Cuang Tzu whose teachings are found in The Book of Chuang Tzu, which is also available in English translations.

Some may find it beneficial to read a page of this work on a daily basis, returning to the beginning after the final saying has been read. Among other helpful attributes of the work is its function as an antidote to the humbug encountered in daily life, especially that of both political and religious kinds. Those with experience of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism cannot fail to notice how it has been beneficially influenced by Taoism. Indeed, there may well have been a mutual influence. At the beginning of the work we are told that 'naming is the mother of ten thousand things.' and that names can name no lasting things. In a way, this sets the stage for the difference between Taoist and Confucianist priorities: mother orientated for the one and father orientated for the other, except that Taoism isn't really orientated at all. It's simply knowing what it is to truly BE, which is, of course, unbeable.
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on 14 May 2016
Recommended by a friend but I'm not too
impressed with the translations. As a native Chinese, I can and have read a few books on Dao De Jing in Chinese. The translation hasn't bought out the essence of Lao Tzu and there is no explanation or elaboration of the true philosophy.
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on 28 April 2015
Pocket edition. It said pocket in big enough letters in the description but I still missed it. This is actually a very cute size, and if it had been a miniature of the full size edition I would have given it 5 stars and bought some new reading glasses. This has sadly only the translated verses, and not the Chinese on the facing pages that the larger version has. Its not my favourite translation for which I recommend the Richard Wilhelm edition (which is only slightly larger in the Arkana version that I have).
Nice white paper, glossy cover, easily accessible translation, fit in a child's pocket, looks cute.
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on 12 May 2014
All too often, translations of works of philosophy are dominated by notes, introductions, footnotes, interpretation and explanation. This can make it difficult to take a view other than that of the editor or interpreter, and can really obstruct any attempts to create your own interpretation: which is just as legitimate as that of the editor.

This book doesn't do that. It's the text, with a small intro, no footnotes and a translation of some important words at the back. The translation itself is unobtrusive and clear, and the Tao Te Ching is a short work, so I've already read it about five times. Interpret away!
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on 8 February 2014
This is my second favourite book ever written. The wisdom within it concerns life and the best way to live it. It can bring about a calm, contented and insightful way of living, one beyond the trappings of materialistic society. If you want to live in tune with your true wider self, then this book is a great companion for you, and the simplistic beauty of the illustrations compliments the words perfectly. True wisdom beyond the bounds of religious dogma, the Tao Te Ching is a must read for anyone who looks for understanding and inner peace.
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on 17 February 2016
Probably the best and most informative English translation ever, in my humble opinion. Clear and concise and retaining all the beauty and subtly of the original Chinese text. There is a good, informative introduction, written by someone who really knows his subject. A volume to treasure and to guide.
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on 8 July 2017
I discovered the Tao in the '60's, I first found this translation in the '70's and even tho I have bought many other translations for me this is still the best. Having now had a couple of extended business trips to China, learned a bit of the language and studied the culture I appreciate it even more. I purchased this copy for a valued friend.
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on 26 December 2014
Engaging and sensitive translation, presented in a superbly produced edition which, in itself, is a pleasure to hold.

There is no 'best' translation of this classic; but of those available, this is certainly among those to be recommended.
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on 22 June 2014
I read a lot and this book always pops up so I decided to get a nice neat pocket size version. I can't speak highly of it enough. Its said to be one of the wises books ever written and I don't disagree.

I read a single parable everyday for a week then I move onto the next one (11 weeks down 70 more to go lol).

I wouldn't considered it to be a religion but more of a philosophy on Nature.

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on 6 April 2013
An excellent translation, with interesting Chinese calligraphy paintings throughout. Highly recommended.

It is, I think, the closest translation to the original text, but at times it can be heartless in its literalism.

It makes clear the different possibilities of meanings/interpretations of the original Chinese words, and provides unique insight into the difficulty of 'accurately' translating a text such as this.

Given this however, it does translate it excellently, most excellently, but I do not recommend it if this will be your first reading of the Tao Te Ching -- if it is the first time you will read the Tao Te Ching I recommend Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English's translation as it is a better introductory translation, in my opinion.

Still, this book is great, and I highly recommend it.
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