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The Second Book of the Tao by Stephen Mitchell

The Second Book Of The Toa by Stephen Mitchell - 2009 - hardback - 207 pages - $34.98 from

The Second Book Of The Tao by Stephen Mitchell - 2009 - hardcover - 207 pages - $34.98 from

In a nutshell, Stephen Mitchell’s “Second Book Of The Tao” is a book about reading his first book  Tao Te Ching (literally: “The Book Of The Way”) to his wife & fellow author Byron Katie.

The outcome is what Stephen himself describes as “the most profound book on spirituality that exists” and “not only a commentary on the Tao Te Ching, but a portrait of the mind completely at ease with itself and the world.”

The mild-mannered Mr Mitchell is entitled to big-note himself: he is a poet, scholar, author and translator who has brought into English writings from as many as 12 diverse languages including Akkadian and ancient Babylonian – which of course I’ve been meaning to get round to myself, but, you know… :-)

To borrow if I may from the official blurb:

Mitchell has composed this innovative new book drawn from the work of Lao-tzu’s disciple Chuang-tzu and Confucius’s grandson Tzu-ssu.

He has selected the freshest, clearest teachings from these two great students of the Tao and adapted them into versions that reveal the poetry, depth, and humor of the original texts with a thrilling new power.

And on top of all that he’s also quite funny, in a subtle understated.

Each of the 64 short chapters offers an enlightened translation followed by an elucidation, a deeper examination or even in some cases, an explanation.

This is the talk he gave to The Tattered Cover book shop via the Authors On Tour Live podcast:

A talk on The Second Book Of The Tao by Stephen Mitchell - 35mins 55secs - 16.4MB
And here is a little video from Stephen Mitchell’s YouTube channel in which he discusses how he actually came to write “The Second Book Of The Tao” (4mins 15secs):

YouTube Preview Image

Lastly, for those who may be a little confused, here is an helpful online (and therefore not to be fully trusted) chat about the differences and correlations between Zen, Tao and Buddhism.

Other Books by Stephen Mitchell:

Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell - 2006


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