Recording (P)1990 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©1972 by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English
My review of this book is as much a review of the book itself as well as the Audible presentation.
Many years ago a Taoist here in San Francisco said, "Buy this book. It will change your life!"
I did so, and it did. I think if you buy the book, and listen to this book, your view of life will indeed change, and for the better.
Some of the Tao "dicta" require analysis over a long period of time but I was amazed at how much the Tao applies to the modern way of American government. If we had followed its easy to understand advice, we would have saved literally a trillion dollars. This is a lot to get from one short little book.
This book is for the most intelligent and highly trained among us as well as gives counsel to those not quite there, yet.
The Tao gives advice that can be followed at the highest level of governance, and the advantage is that anyone at this level will appreciate the advice yet never ever have to admit to being a "Taoist."
The Tao Te Ching is of course as always great, this version is also complemented by excellent thought provoking commentary at the end. But I think what sets this version apart is the narration. With the Tao Te Ching, it far to tempting to put into any reading of it an unneeded emphasis on certain words that implies a narrative that I don't think is necessarily intended by the author. For instance in some readings the narrator may simply emphasize certain words that make it sound like "ohhh this is really wise stuff here" or they may make it sound like the Tao Te Ching was written in the Matrix.. The narrator must put in some effort to separate his beliefs or feelings about the tao te ching or a particular topic with his reading of the Tao Te Ching. On the other hand, a computeristic reading can also be unpleasant and hard to listen to. I think Mr. Needleman gets the reading right with a nice flow, but nothing unneeded.
A wonderful translation with an equally wonderful analysis and guide by the translator at the end. As he says, the Tao Te Ching speaks to the readers ability to understand, and as understanding deepens so does the Tao Te Ching.
One of the great wisdom works. The Nag Hammadi Library, The Bhagavad Gita, The Tao Te Ching, The Upanishads, The Kabbalah.
This is the second audiobook version of the TTC I have (the first being S. Mitchell's), and although I first hesitated to get a second version of something I already had, I am glad I did.
The translation is quite interesting and although similar to Mitchell's, it is different enough to be fresh and provoke new thoughts.
The reading style is a bit more stoic and scholarly, and again I think this provides a nice contrast to the Mitchell version. I thought the reader did a wonderful job, and had no problems listening on earbuds or speakers. It is a bit more "brisk" than the Mitchell version.
There is also an interesting commentary at the end, well-worth a listen in its own right.
I've mentioned this on some other reviews, but I wish the audiobook chapters matched up with the book chapters. I guess that's not a concern or something, but it bothers me just a bit. It makes jumping to desired parts of the book almost impossible. I suppose the extra effort of manually "chaptering" a reading is not seen as being an important goal?
Overall: a great translation and recording!
From 1980 to 1994, I was a local columnist for The Outlook, the daily newspaper in Santa Monica.
Jacob Needleman gives a very listenable reading of the classic Tao. However, I was less impressed with the second part where he lectures on the text. He gets carried away refuting the "go with the flow" cliche, which seemed like overkill.
Many years ago, I walked into a store here in San Francisco that sold trinkets, but had this book up on a shelf.
I asked the woman about it and she said get it, read it, and it will change your life. Even if I just read it once.
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