Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching Summary

The bestselling, widely acclaimed translation from Stephen Mitchell

In eighty-one brief chapters, Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit, and teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao—the basic principle of the universe.

Book Reviews


A fortune cookie that overstays it’s welcome.2 star

The translation was fine. The parables were fine. The message and lessons work. I suppose I was hoping for more than a series of statements that you’d find embroidered on a pillow. Not to denigrate the Taoist belief, which I whole-heartedly embrace, but I was hoping for a bit more in the way of some practical application of the text.25


It is beautiful but flawed4 star

I enjoyed the audio version very much. Due to the interpreter’s knowledge of Chinese language and culture, or the lack of them, some chapters are so beautifully translated that they not only sound like music but also deepen my understanding of this great book (e.g. Chapter 11), some, though quite diverted from the original meaning (e.g. Chapter 25 and Chapter 36), are still wise in themselves, and the others, (e.g. Chapter 50), are completely misunderstood and therefore the opposite to what Laotzu tries to teach... The translator is great and sincere in sharing his feelings and experience of reading this script, but, alas, his experience is biased and incomplete in many aspects...45


Mitchell’s Qualifications5 star

I have read no other translation but Mitchell’s and I believe this one to be divinely inspired. Like all spiritual texts, it must be treated as a living document - entrusted with all the wisdom of the sages previous and future, for it is also timeless, and only a teacher who has devoted years to a contemplative way of living will have the intelligence and heart necessary to broaden its appeal and clarify it’s call for individuals to honor that “indivisibility” and look inside themselves to “change the[ir] world”.55


lots of unneded blank pages2 star

I have the physical version of this book; I bought the e-copy as well. I was dissaporinted because it is a very literal transfer of the book -- there is at least one, and often two unnneded blank pages between every verse. That becomes tedious on a small screen very fast...25


Life altering5 star

This very short, very old book, has changed many lives. All those 'self help' books in one way or another borrow from the Tao. Read the source.55

JW LeGrand

The best interpretation of the Tao Te Ching5 star

Stephen Mitchell has, in my opinion, the most eloquent, reliable, and consistent interpretation of the Tao Te Ching! I've been reading and studying this great text since 1996, and have read over 30 interpretations. I continue to return to the Mitchell translation. However, reading any translation of this great body of work will improve your life substantially. Therefore, this is the best translation of one of the best books ever written.55

Other Books by Stephen Mitchell & Lao Tzu

Loving What Is


Loving What Is
4     160
Bhagavad Gita


Bhagavad Gita
4     35


4.5     29

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