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Tao Te Ching

A New English Version
Written by: Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell
Narrated by: Stephen Mitchell
Length: 1 hr and 41 mins
5 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)

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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

What the critics say

"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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  • MW
  • 2019-03-28

Solid

Very simple, solid and straightforward reading of the Tao Te Ching. Very short, but easy to get through.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding

I would recommend reading first Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of now and A new World for a deeper understanding of the message in this book

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful And Accessible

This entire book is just line after line of beautiful poetry. Must be as close as you can get to the original text for english, the translation is clear and accessible despite the sometimes challenging and provocative concepts.

One of my new favourite books, no doubt.

1 person found this helpful

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Best English writing ever

The voice and the translation are absolute pleasure to the heart and mind. Stephen Mitchell perfectly expresses the beauty of the Tao Te Ching.

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One of this world's greatest treasures.

The knowledge in this book will last a lifetime. I've lost count of how many copies I've purchased over the decades, just to re-read and then give them all away.

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Why write a review ...

Why write a review ... for something that speaks for itself?

Just listen.
And listen again.

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Timeless Wisdom

Contemplate the eternal truths. Revelations to raise your spirit and change your relationship to your life. I can't compare all translations and interpretations but this one left me feeling uplifted and expanded.

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Beautiful translation of the great work.

Stephen Mitchell really captures the spirit of Lao Tzu in this richly poetic translation. Would recommend this translation above its popular contemporaries.

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  • Linda Cotton
  • 2017-03-21

Please warn before ad!

I have to add to what others have said. I listen to this book over and over and every time - the ad at the end shocks me. Audible.com, please, put something before the ad to signal the end of the book - like "audible hopes you enjoyed this book" - or put some music or something. At the very least- put a few seconds of silence or lower the sound level of the ad to match the book. With a name like "audible.com" you would think you would pay attention to consistent sound levels.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2015-02-20

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.

65 people found this helpful

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  • StarKing
  • 2018-08-06

They Got Rid of the Ad at the End - Phenominal

As the title of this review states, they currently seemed to have gotten rid of the ad at the end that other people have mentioned.

This book is filled with profound messages that will take multiple listens to digest and absorb.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Durand
  • 2015-03-04

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 !

46 people found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 2013-08-12

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!

90 people found this helpful

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  • Meg
  • 2011-08-30

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • A reader
  • 2011-11-21

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.

76 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 2010-06-17

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.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Molly
  • 2018-03-22

Commercial at the end

Tao Te Ching is always inspiring but in this version they chose to place a loud woman promoting something at the end of the audio book. I like to listen at night so is very disruptive and jarring and will prevent me from listening to the book through the end again.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 2012-11-18

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

36 people found this helpful