Audie Award Winner, Personal Development, 2013
Author Benjamin Hoff shows that the philosophy of Winnie-the-Pooh is amazingly consistent with the principles of Taoism and demonstrates how you can use these principles in your daily life.
Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.
While Eeyore frets and Piglet hesitates and Rabbit calculates and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is. And that's the clue to the secret wisdom of the Taoists.
The Tao of Pooh is an international bestseller and the first Taoist-authored book in history to appear on bestseller lists, it remained on The New York Times’ bestseller list for 49 weeks.
©1982 Benjamin Hoff (P)2012 Tantor
Yes. It makes your realise that life is a lot less complicated then we are lead to think.
His understanding of the message the writer was putting across.
When I read this many years ago it changed something inside me. I have recommended it to many over the years. Re-visiting this book, while not with the original spark, was a wonderful and necessary part of my journey. Anyone who is drawn to self exploration and growth needs to read this.
It's so simple and easy to follow.
It's easy to relate to my own life and life experiences.
The owl not being able to solve a problem that Piglet was able to solve.
Great narrator - made the experience truly engaging.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
This is a wonderful little book. I have a hard copy but with Simon Vance doing the narrating and being on sale, I could not resist the audio version. This may not be a book for everyone. Taoism is probably a rather arcane subject for the uninitiated. For those who have delved its depths or even those who have not but have an interest in the subject, this is a great little primer. The book is simple and deep at the same time (yin and yang). It is both serious and humorous. The narration is impeccable.
If you are interested in further reading on the subject, for the original Tao Te Ching, I would highly recommend the translation by Stephen Mitchell who is also the narrator and available on Audible.
I loved how whimsical it was
I liked the part with Owl, and how academics insist on naming things that sometimes should be left alone
My 2-1/2 year old requested the Tao of Pooh when we got in the car the other day.
Relevance to my life.
The vinegar tasters is my favorite part of this book.
something derived from the 3rd vinegar taster
When is the Te of Piglet coming to audio? This is a standard book I keep on my phone. I plan to listen to it once a year.
It points the way to understanding Tao wisdom in simple understandable language. The audio book replaced the tattered paper back copy that I read years ago and have kept in my library. It is a delighful little story that opened my eyes to how much we are manipulated and misdirected by pretense and nonsense. Take the journey and become more enlightened. Read and re-read this little gem and other Taoist works until what is written is clearly understood. Pooh will thank you for it.
Simplicity and clarity
I did just that.
A great audio production!
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
In this short book, Pooh, The Uncarved Block, illustrates the wisdom of Taoist teachings. While other characters in the Hundred Acre Wood cling to faulty knowledge or pursue goals of little value, the simple, humble Pooh goes with the flow and finds contentment. Rather than pompously search his mind for answers, like Owl, or try to seize control of the situation, like Rabbit, or fail to account for his limitations, like Tigger, Pooh just exists in the moment he’s in and lets the answers come to him. Thus, he exemplifies the concept of pu, living life open to experience, while not being burdened by unnecessary abstractions or desires.
Benjamin Hoff writes in whimsical way, imagining himself having conversations with Pooh, Piglet, and others as he works on his manuscript, Pooh characteristically preferring to talk about things that are of direct interest to Pooh, such as honey. Hoff seems to assume that the reader remembers more of the plot points and humor of A.A. Milne’s classic children’s stories than I actually did, but I was able to get by well enough.
All in all, it’s a short but instructive introduction to Taoist thinking. Hoff quotes philosopher Laozi, who might sum it up best himself: “to attain knowledge, add something every day. To attain wisdom, subtract something every day.” Does all the clutter we fill our minds with help us? Or get in the way of experiencing what’s real? Always a worthwhile question.
Audiobook narrator Simon Vance does a decent job, but I wish he’d given a little more character to the voices.
The reader was very good with all of the voices of the characters
The book goes by quickly. I was done with it in about a week. Very insightful, but entertaining to listen to at the same time. The messages are conveyed well with little stories along the way using the characters from the Pooh books. I would absolutely reccomend it.
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.
"The Tao of Pooh"
A simple, but beautiful book, and beautifully narrated by Simon Vance. I enjoyed it as an adult, but this would also be suitable for children. This must become a timeless classic. It was a joy to listen to.
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