The Second Book of the Tao

  • by Stephen Mitchell
  • Narrated by Stephen Mitchell
  • 2 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The most widely translated book in world literature after the Bible, Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living. Following the phenomenal success of his own version of the Tao Te Ching, renowned scholar and translator Stephen Mitchell has composed the innovative The Second Book of the Tao. Drawn from the work of Lao-tzu's disciple Chuang-tzu and Confucius's grandson Tzussu, The Second Book of the Tao offers Western readers a path into reality that has nothing to do with Taoism or Buddhism or old or new alone, but everything to do with truth. Mitchell 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. Alongside each adaptation, Mitchell includes his own commentary, at once explicating and complementing the text. This book is a 21st-century form of ancient wisdom, bringing a new, homemade sequel to the Tao Te Ching into the modern world. Mitchell's renditions are radiantly lucid; they dig out the vision that's hiding beneath the words; they grab the text by the scruff of the neck - by its heart, really - and let its essential meanings fall out. The book introduces us to a cast of vivid characters, most of them humble artisans or servants, who show us what it means to be in harmony with the way things are. Its wisdom provides a psychological and moral acuity as deep as the Tao Te Ching itself. The Second Book of the Tao is a gift to contemporary readers, granting us access to our own fundamental wisdom. Mitchell's meditations and risky reimagining of the original texts are brilliant and liberating, not least because they keep catching us off-guard, opening up the heavens where before we saw a roof. He makes the ancient teachings at once modern, relevant, and timeless.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

it will take you there

For those who have listened to or studied 'The Tao', this will bring smiles. Irreverant, yet relevant. From me, there is no greater compliment. I was not sure I wanted to continue my Audiobook subscription. Just to be able to re-listen to this title is worth more than I can say.
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- Emily J Blair

Sequel to the Tao Te Ching

Of course there was never a Second Book of the Tao... not until now. I was introduced to his fiction writing with Meetings With the Archangel, but Stephen Mitchell is more widely known for his translations and adaptations of ancient classics such as The Tao Te Ching. He is the translator of Rainer Maria Rilke and the book of Job as well as Gilgamesh and the Bhagavad Gita. One would think it difficult to pen one preeminent translation of a text thousands of years old. But Stephen Mitchell has done just that; over and over again.

The Second Book of the Tao consists of adaptations from the work of two ancient Chinese scholars: a Laotzu disciple, Chuang-tzu, and Tzu-ssu, the grandson of Confucius. While I have read several translations of the Tao Te Ching, there is none to compare with that of Stephen Mitchell. There is no other anthology for the “second book” and so Mitchell’s rendition must remain the best also. This book would be an impossible act to follow were it not written by Stephen Mitchell. As one reviewer put it: “It takes you there.”
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- Robert "Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-19-2009
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio