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Publisher's Summary

In 81 brief chapters, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, as well as a serene and generous spirit. It teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao: the basic principle of the universe.

Stephen Mitchell's best-selling version has been widely acclaimed as a gift to contemporary culture.

©1988 Stephen Mitchell (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Stephen Mitchell's rendition of the Tao Te Ching comes as close to being definitive for our time as any I can imagine. It embodies the virtues its translator credits to the Chinese original: a gemlike lucidity that is radiant with humor, grace, large-heartedness, and deep wisdom." (Huston Smith, author of The Religions of Man)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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Please remove the ridiculous ad at the end

There is some great stuff to contemplate in this It's very relaxing to listen to. However, as others have said the ad at the end is absurd and totally takes you out of what should be a serene experience.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason
  • FPO, AP, United States
  • 08-12-13

Wonderful translation and reading, but...

Unfortunately, this recording is seriously marred by a loud and obnoxious Audible advertisement that starts IMMEDIATELY after the book is done. It is startling and incredibly out of place, especially considering the nature of this audiobook.

Audible absolutely needs to release an updated version, changing nothing save removing this offensive advertisement, and this would be a fantastic recording!

55 of 57 people found this review helpful

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Peace is ruined at the end

How disruptive to have Cheri Jones' loud voice at the end!! It startles you and ruins the peace you were feeling after listening to this special book !

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Infuriating "punch line"

I loved every aspect of this book. The translation, granted I know no other, was in clear and modern English that allowed me to fully appreciate the content in all its subtleties. Stephen Michell's soft tone of voice and the slow pace of his reading gently lead me through the meanders of Lao Tzu's thoughts.
As I heard the gentle voice say "by not dominating, the master leads", I was sinking deeper into a comfortable meditative mode. When suddenly, that Jack sprung out of her box: "Hello, this is Cherry Jones... bla bla bla". What possessed the producers of that book to kill it with that obnoxious ad at the end, which jumps into the listener's ears without a iota of a pause or a transition to isolate it from the reading of the Tao? That is how I learned that the reading of the Tao was over. With Ms Jones yelling in my ears.
That explains my one star for "Overall." There should be a grading for production quality.

55 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Translation; Weak Production

A beautiful translation of the Tao read perfectly by the author/translator is marred by the production value. When listening with an iPod or Nano, I can actually hear the recording turning on and off. When using the recording for meditative purposes the noise becomes distracting.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Relaxing Listen

Listening to Tao wisdom any faster, would lose the point of what is being spoken. This audio book was the right speed and authors voice is easy on the ears. Many of the translations are easy to understand and give you plenty to contemplate.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • b schmidt
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 03-12-12

Excellent Translation of a Classic Text

What made the experience of listening to Tao Te Ching the most enjoyable?

Stephen Mitchell uses his 14 years of Zen training in this well-regarded translation to capture the spirit of Laotse's seminal book on the Art of Living

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The Way

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • ALPENA, MICHIGAN, United States
  • 11-18-12

Not Tao te ching

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Written with the formal Zen practitioner mind, but if you wish to read the tao te ching, you must find a different version. Jane English's, is the only other one I have read and would recommend it highly. As it is accurate

What was most disappointing about Lao Tzu and Stephen Mitchell ’s story?

The author "Zen"ed up the story. To much of the translator not enough Tao

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The author did depart from all other translators and use she, rather then he. I found this change to be wonderful and useful.

Any additional comments?

The book ends very VERY poorly. With some woman yelling at you about audio books and children. like being thrown in ice cold water. It hurts

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lawrence
  • Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 05-11-09

Another phenomenal translation by Mitchell

if you've ever read his translations of Rumi, the Book of Job, etc., you know what i mean!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • bob
  • LAWRENCEBURG, IN, United States
  • 09-08-10

The Tao as Lao Tse would write it today.

Stephen Mitchell has proved himself a master of translating in the most fundamental meaning of that term. He carries across not only the denotation of the words but the cultural contexts that are its connotation and which make the words live in our own culture as they did in their own. Mitchell has rescued Rilke from the gravel of Deutsch-speak and has presented the Tao as a Master himself--he not only presents the words to the reader but he subjects the reader to the words. Thus he accomplished what Lao Tse himself attempted--to make that which cannot be contained in word become alive within the words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful