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The Tao of Pooh

The Tao of Pooh

Written by Benjamin Hoff

Narrated by Simon Vance


The Tao of Pooh

Written by Benjamin Hoff

Narrated by Simon Vance

ratings:
4.5/5 (334 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 23, 2012
ISBN:
9781452676173
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Winnie-the-Pooh has a certain Way about him, a way of doing things that has made him the world's most beloved bear. In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff shows that Pooh's Way is amazingly consistent with the principles of living envisioned by the Chinese founders of Taoism. The author's explanation of Taoism through Pooh, and Pooh through Taoism, shows that this is not simply an ancient and remote philosophy but something you can use, here and now.

And what is Taoism? It's really very simple. It calls for living without preconceived ideas about how life should be lived-but it's not a preconception of how life-it's.... Well, you'd do better to listen to this book, and listen to Pooh, if you really want to find out.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 23, 2012
ISBN:
9781452676173
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about The Tao of Pooh

4.5
334 ratings / 52 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    It’s a fun and deep book. Although I’m familiar with the ‘Wu Wei’ theory, the book resonate with me a lot with the simple straightforward examples of people who follow this and those who don’t. I guess or will have to find out how to achieve ‘Wu Wei’ from somewhere else.
  • (5/5)
    I read the book a few years ago and enjoyed it. The narrator does a wonderful job of bringing life to the book! Really enjoyed this audio book.
  • (5/5)
    A fun narration on a lightly written topic that has profound implications for how we go about living. It could have gone a little deeper into Taoism but then it would not be as accessable to everyone. Well done.
  • (5/5)
    Fantastic book! I highly recommend this book. I found myself laughing out loud at certain points. Very clever book indeed.
  • (5/5)
    By using characters of ‘Winne the Pooh’ the author describes how different personalities would react to situations and why being a pooh bear is the way to be. I’m a busy ‘backsoon’ and I really want to become the pooh bear someday!
  • (5/5)
    Good explanation of Taoism and well read. I quite enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book! It really broke down these principles in a way I could understand.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best books I've read lately. If you like this checkout Biocentrism and Beyond Bio Centrism.
  • (5/5)
    It’s a modern classic. A succinct, simple and at ease.
  • (5/5)
    Provides prospective in a simple way to help change one's life.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I've always been terribly fond of Pooh Bear since adolescence but hadn't ever stopped to pin down what it was or why it was. Connections are made throughout this book between the "snuggley wuggley ol' bear" and a new topic to me--making the new topic likewise snuggley wuggley. It deters the defenses we like to set up and I can imagine bringing this book up and its many great teachings the next time Whinnie the Pooh is referenced. Being that the new Christopher Robin movie well on its way to our theaters in August, I will surely recommend the read. I laughed as the explanation of Taoism was described as river water that goes on as it is taken without much planning because that is exactly how I came upon the book! I found countless similarities between my faith and Taoism from start to finish and enjoyed every bit of it! Loved the short stories, both the Pooh Bear ones and the Tao ones. A wonderful faith, writer, and book indeed.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Great job! The author did a fabulous job interpreting the difficult concept of how our perceptions are clouded by conditioning.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    One of my Favorite Books. Read it once and my second time around in Audio format. Simon Vance did a great job narroting it as well.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    A good introduction to the Tao in a way in which many would be able to understand, utilizing a childhood classic. Much easier to understand than that of the original text if you’re not a philosophy student.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    It's a very fun and practical way to understand and apply Taoism.
    I recommend this for anyone dealing with anxiety.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    A thin, little book with a great amount of meaning.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I’m already familiar with East Asian philosophy but this was a cute way to Westernize it for digestion for newcomers.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Lovely book. Gave me plenty to reflect on and think about.... Or should I say, NOT think about!

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    I think this is a good primer for Taoist philosophy. It's probably a bit difficult to really absorb in audiobook format. This seems like the kind of book you'd highlight a line in and come back to later, maybe many times.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    It was thought provoking, but a quick and easy read. I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
  • (5/5)
    A great introduction to Taoism and explanations of why it is relevant today.
  • (4/5)
    The author used a conversational style with Pooh and the gang to share the philosophies of Taoism, providing Tao examples via translated Chinese text, and passages of Pooh stores to explain the philosophies. I’m not too familiar with all the Pooh stories, nor the philosophies. I found the parallels to be fun to read, even if a touch stretched at times. (And I should admit I’m not a huge Winnie the Pooh fan other than having a great appreciation for his kindness and gentleness.)Taoism is an appreciation of ‘it simply is’, the natural state of things, the “uncarved block”, the giant tree for the shade it provides, and that ‘Nothing is Something, and Something – at least the sort of thing that many consider to be important – is really nothing at all.’ The last really made me think of the materialistic obsessions of life. In the Foreword of the book, the author writes the Tao of Pooh is about “how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances”. After reading this book, I can’t say I feel particularly happier or calmer. But I do feel that I am reminded of the simpler things in life. I am a bit more educated about Taoism, but now I think I should read Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu to see if I agree with his comparisons. The correlations between Taoism and Pooh stories were amusing, although admittedly, I enjoyed the ancient stories and writings of Chuang-tse, etc. that the author included even more. In the end, I should simply say that this is a good intro to Taoism, which is just as much a purpose of this book. In his advocacy for wisdom and simplicity over knowledge and cleverness, the author mocked scholars (who use big words) and scientists – studying things that really don’t matter. I feel a sense of injustice in this regard. Perhaps I believe the world seeks balance, that there’s a place and time for everything. Heck, this whole ‘LibraryThing’ should be shut down if such learnedness is a blasphemy. I’m guessing that’s not what he’s trying to say. Some quotes:I like this simple summary and am asking myself if I’m paying attention to this…..“According to Lao-tse, the more man interfere with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more trouble.”On life, and I wish my cynicism would back off enough and allow me to appreciate this:“When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun.”The frog in the well, as I know it, is used to describe someone who thinks he is the king of his tiny, little world. This gave a different twist:“The Taoist writer Chung-tse worded it this way: A well frog cannot imagine the ocean, nor can a summer insect conceive of ice. How then can a scholar understand the Tao? He is restricted by his own learning.”I think the hardest step one in life is understanding oneself. How do I know my own nature when I’m so confused?“Everything has its own place and function. That applies to people, although many don’t seem to realize it, stuck as they are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage, or the wrong house. When you know your belong. You also know where you don’t belong.”On Wu Wei, the principle of getting things done naturally and/or effortlessly:“Wu Wei means ‘without doing, causing, or making.’ But practically speaking, it means without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort.”“The efficiency of Wu Wei is like that of water flowing over and around the rocks in its path – not the mechanical, straight-line approach that usually ends up short-circuiting natural laws, but one that evolves from an inner sensitivity to the natural rhythm of things.” “The Wu Wei principle underlying T’ai Chi Ch’uan can be understood by striking at a piece of cork floating in water. The harder you hit it, the more it yields; the more it yields, the harder it bounces back. Without expending energy, the cork can easily wear you out. So, Wu Wei overcomes force by neutralizing its power, rather than by adding to the conflict. With other approaches, you may fight fire with fire, but with Wu Wei, you fight fire with water.” “In the words of Chuang-Tse, the mind of Wu Wei ‘flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo.’”From the poet Lu Yu, to “enjoy our surroundings and appreciate being alive”:“The clouds above us join and separate,The breeze in the courtyard leaves and returns.Life is like that, so why not relax?Who can stop us from celebrating?”Caring and Compassion leads to Courage and Wisdom:“The two Fearless Rescues just mentioned bring us to one of the most important terms of Taoism: Tz’u, which can be translated as ‘caring’ or ‘compassion’ and which is based upon the character for heart. In the sixty-seventh chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-Tse named it as his ‘first treasure,’ and then wrote, ‘From caring comes courage.’ We might add that from it also comes wisdom. It’s rather significant, we think, that those who have no compassion have no wisdom. Knowledge, yes; cleverness, maybe; wisdom, no. A clever mind is not a heart. Knowledge doesn’t really care. Wisdom does.”Appreciating “Less is More”:“In the forty-eighth chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-Tse wrote, ‘To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.’”In Summary:“Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of child’s mind.”
  • (4/5)
    The Tao of Pooh is a very accurate way to describe Taoism. It is simple and lighthearted, and Pooh is the perfect character to pull off how a pleasant life can be found in the smallest of things and the broadest of environments. In fact, this small book is perfect for anyone interested in the religion; without the detail and deep analysis of an academic, this book flourishes in its relation to an everyday Taoist. It is elegant in its relation to childhood and the wisdom that comes with reverting back to childlike happiness.
  • (5/5)
    "Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully. "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever." "And he has Brain." "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain." There was a long silence. "I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything."---------------------------------------In this classic, Benjamin Hoff explains the principles of Taoism using the most familiar Western symbol of all, Winnie-the-Pooh. Any beginner to the philosophy of Taoism will learn some history of the movement and several basic principles: P'u (Uncarved Block), Wu Wei Wu (Doing without doing), and even the Cottleston Pie Principle. My favorite lesson is about the dreaded Bisy Backson. Hoff describes them thusly: "The Bisy Backson is always going somewhere, somewhere he hasn't been. Anywhere but where he is."The book is fun and very readable. Hoff intersperses conversations with Pooh, Piglet and the gang with quotes from actual Taoist masters. He also throws in lots of passages from A. A. Milne's classics. This is my third reading of the book. I come back to it every few years for a pick-me-up. It's very much a "feel good" book.
  • (5/5)
    I was going to review this book, but find that everybody seems to have got as much out of it as I did. As an introduction to Taoism, it was wonderful. I just need to note that I didn't know the Pooh stories before I read it and have gotten into reading them from this book also.
  • (4/5)
    A great introduction to Taoism...layed out in a very user friendly way. If you are going to read "TaoTe Ching", read this first, it helps.
  • (4/5)
    A fun way of explaining Taoist ideas through the character of Winnie the Pooh.
  • (1/5)
    Well, I enjoyed the Pooh anecdotes and the little quips from familiar characters... and I liked the readable style of the text... but that was where my enjoyment ended.Perhaps it's the philosophy itself that I didn't like most (I didn't), or perhaps it was Hoff's somewhat hypocritical approach to deriding Western culture while showing off his knowledge (and at the same time telling us that knowledge from learning is a waste of time)... but certainly, both contributed to my frustrations with it.Rather than spend all my time pointing out inconsistencies and the points on which I think Hoff's attitude needs adjusting, I'll provide one example in particular, the one that bothered me the most:From page 146:"While the Clear mind listens to a bird singing, the Stuffed-Full-of-Cleverness-and-Knowledge mind wonders what kind of bird is singing."So... asking questions, learning, and gaining a greater understanding of our universe and the world around us is a bad thing? Doesn't understanding which bird is singing lead to a greater appreciation for that bird's song?!?As someone who constantly seeks knowledge for the pure joy of learning, I'm afraid Taoist philosophy as presented by Hoff sounds incredibly ignorant.As my husband said when I read him that passage: "Wow, sounds like Taoism is a great way to control a population..."Agreed. And that's what frustrates me the most: encouraging willful ignorance.
  • (3/5)
    Good at showing how the Tao applies to Pooh, not quite as good in showing how Pooh applies to Tao. A pleasant book that uses the novelty of using Winnie the Pooh to explain the Chinese philosophy of Taoism.
  • (3/5)
    The timing of this read was intentional. Mired in the chaos of NaNoWriMo, I knew I would need something that was not only calming, but nonfiction. There are those who prefer to read fiction to inspire or comfort them while in the midst of a major writing project, but I knew that it would be distracting - I'd either get caught up in the storyline (and forget where I was going with mine) or the writing style would serve as a constant reminder of what tripe I was producing. A gentle philosophy book starring a Bear of Little Brain seemed to be just what I was looking for.And in that respect, it was. However, I was not so impressed with the ideas presented in this book. It seemed to spend too much time explaining why Confucianism (which it consistently referred to as "Confusion"), Knowledge, and Cleverness were not the correct paths in life. I disagree; I believe that everything has its proper place. Perhaps we put too much emphasis on the latter two, but shunning them completely is not the answer. Things do not magically fall into place by doing Nothing all the time. Trust me, I've tried it. It's relaxing, to be sure, until things start falling apart and suddenly you have to become a "Busy Backson" to catch up.This was not a bad book, to be sure, and I am open to the possibility that I missed the point entirely. It was light and fun and in fact quite Clever. Its biggest benefit, however, was to instill in me a desire to read the A. A. Milne tales that inspired Hoff to write this book in the first place.