From Chet's list on upsetting your orientation.
There’s a class of books sometimes called “ancient texts” or “accumulated wisdom.” The idea is that they represent distilled knowledge that was passed down orally for hundreds or thousands of years before the invention of writing froze them in their present forms. To represent this collection, I’ve chosen the Tao Te Ching. It’s short — 81 brief chapters — and talks about things that concern us today, like how to handle anxiety and how to lead groups of people. But a word of caution: These texts will repay serious study and contemplation, but don’t take them too seriously. For one thing, compare two translations and you’ll wonder if they’re working from the same ancient manuscript. And for another, embrace the notion that once you think “this is it,” then it isn’t it (another ancient idea to ponder).
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
For nearly two generations, this bestselling translation of the Tao Te Ching has been the standard for those seeking access to the wisdom of Taoist thought. Now Jane English and her long-time editor, Toinette Lippe, have refreshed and revised the translation, so that it more faithfully reflects the Classical Chinese in which it was first written, while taking into account changes in our own language and eliminating any lingering infelicities. This beautiful oversized edition features over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao. Also included is an introduction by the well-known…