I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
In the Tao of Pooh (1982) Benjamin Hoff entertainingly uses Taoist philosophy to explain Winnie the Pooh, and Winnie the Pooh to explain Taoist philosophy. He begins by distinguishing among Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism by describing a traditional Chinese allegorical scroll painting in which the three founders of each philosophy are standing around a jar of vinegar after tasting of it. Confucius has a sour expression on his face (because he finds life out of harmony with the past and with heaven and in need of traditional rules, rituals, and regulations to correct it), Buddha has a bitter expression (because he finds life in the world to be full of desires, traps, illusions, pain, and suffering and better off transcended to Nirvana), while Lao-tse is smiling (because he sees the natural balance and harmony and universal laws in all things in the world according to their own natures and knows that things are only sour if we meddle with them).
Hoff talks with Pooh, Piglet, and Rabbit as he is "writing" The Tao of Pooh, explains Taoism through simple expositions of the philosophy as exemplified by great scenes and characters from Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928), and encourages us to adopt the Lao-tse and Winnie-the-Pooh approach to life. For the bear of little brain is an ideal embodiment of the Taoist "Simplicity of the Uncarved Block"--he is his simple self just as he is, unpretentious and stress-free and happy just being, just enjoying the simple pleasures of life in the now, like eating honey and hanging out with Piglet and Christopher Robin. Modeling ourselves on Pooh, we would accept our weak points and utilize them as strong ones without trying unnaturally to improve (carve) ourselves or to learn many things for the sake of being clever (like Rabbit) or appearing wise (like Owl) or complaining (like Eeyore). For "The learned are not wise and the wise are not learned." Let's not, then, become "Confusionist, Dessicated Scholars" (Pooh's mangling of "Confuciunist, Dedicated Scholars"). Let's not meddle with the natural order and balance of things. Let's not rush madly about saving time and being busy for the sake of being busy. Instead, let's be simple, natural, empty, and intuitive. Because I love the Winnie-the-Pooh books, I really enjoyed gaining a basic idea of Taoism through them.
It was great fun listening to Simon Vance reading Milne's text as well as Hoff's pastiches of it. I confess, however, that after having listened to Judi Dench as the narrator and Jane Horrocks as Piglet and Stephen Fry as Pooh in the perfect dramatizations of the Pooh books (also available on Audible), I found Simon Vance's voice to be a little bit thin and lacking the depth and character to bring the animals to life pleasurably.
And it is true that The Tao of Pooh would be more easily understood as a physical book, because then you could easily stop and ponder the ideas and re-read and savor the prose and enjoy the original Shepherd illustrations, whereas with the audiobook you tend to feel compelled to go with the flow (I did re-listen to several chapters and found the ideas and examples sinking in more deeply the second time).
I recommend the Tao of Pooh not to little kids in general but to people who love the Pooh books and who are interested in Taoism or who like Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books and want to learn about a BIG source for her ideas on magic and balance and so on. Ogion and Lao-tse and Pooh would all get along famously!
As a Life Coach and Therapist I enjoy reading self-help literature, but audible allows me to run and listen and learn, a match made in Heaven!
I recommend this product to anyone who has already got a basic understanding of Taoism. It is a great summary of the major themes of Taoist philosophy but in a form that is rarely seen. Like other eastern literature just the hearing or reading this may reach part of the mind that is beyond a conscious level. The use of metaphor to elicit wisdom from Chinese traditional thinking is very clever. I think it goes a bit over the head of my two years old grandson but then so does the ohm meditation that I have him doing! However anyone over the age of ten regardless of their eastern philosophical knowledge can gain some pearls of wisdom to inform and guide their lives, definitely worth a listen!
Philosophy can take many interesting forms.
Say something about yourself!
I feel quite certain that A.A. Milne would be surprised to see Pooh as an inspiration for
Taoist teachings, but it was brilliant. Having grown up loving Pooh, and all things A.A. Milne, I had the prior knowledge and appreciation for Pooh and his view of the world. I knew/know very little about Taoism, but he was perfect for this introduction. I now see all these characters differently and they have allowed me to gain a basic initiation to Taoist fundamentals. I have listened to it twice already. I think I will need to buy the book.
Delightful, funny and one of the books on the Tao that gives the western mind a true taste! Pooh is perfect!
I have an old recording of this book read by the author. This version is a major disappointment!
I first heard of this book from my brother and was instantly intrigued years ago. When I saw it on audible I decided to try it.
I am very open to learning about different philosophies and religions and the tao of pooh was a very clever and interesting twist to doing so.
Since I didn't know anything about taosim prior to reading this I couldn't say if Hoff's explanations of taoist concepts were spot on, but from what it seems like, the Pooh stories were the perfect analogy for it.
I would recommend this to a friend.
I love yoga. I love cooking healthy, organic, natural, delicious food. I love reading, writing, traveling. But more than anything, I love laughing and cuddling with my Michael and our pup.
A quick read that breaks down the seemingly esoteric nature of Taoism in a light and easy to understand format. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely listen to my bookmarked passages again, from time to time.
Narration was done pretty well too.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
I had heard whispers that this book was nothing short of amazing. Turns out, the rumors are true! This book delivers profound Eastern thought in the form of Winnie the Pooh, as told in the style of Milne's classic tale and referencing it heavily. I was amused and sent gliding into sheer appreciation of this work that, quite frankly, words can't really do justice. This book has to be experienced.
As always, Simon Vance delivers a performance, and while I'm continually impressed by the dignity he brings to his narrations, I feel like he captured most of the voices dead-on perfectly right out of my childhood, and for those few he didn't, he came really close. His performance as Pooh is otherworldly good, and all of his characters help to drive the messages home in a way that is guaranteed to live in your heart for a long time to come.
I am a life long student. I love to study and learn and I enjoy factual books but also well research novels. At age 75 I have read lots.
Insightful, thought provoking
Too hard to choose
The influence your attitude has on shading your life
This is not a childrens book but used the story of Winnie the Pooh as a guide to demonstrate the influence of attitude and approach to life's happenings on your comfort with other people, the world around you and untimately with yourself.
Licensed Massage Therapist
Buy this book, you will realize that it is some of the best money and time spent ever!!!