Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet Boxed Set

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Product Description

Who would have though that Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet, A.A. Milne's beloved storybook characters, would cause such a stir demonstrating the fundamentals of Taoist philosophy? Now, in time for the holiday season, these two phenomenal paperback bestsellers are available for the first time in an elegantly packaged boxed set. Illustrated throughout.

Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.

Customer Reviews:

  • A particular way of living
    This book is based around the idea that A. A. Milne's stories of Winnie-The-Pooh can be used to illustrate the basic notions of Taoism. Hoff is not by any means arguing that Milne was a Taoist. He is merely saying that Milne's inner attitude to life, as revealed by the stories, intuitively follow along the same path as Taoism. Owl is wise, Rabbit is cleaver and Eeore is smugly superior but the real hero of the books is Pooh, the apparently stupid yet strangely successful and able bear.

    The book covers the Taoist principles of:

    Tao, or the indescribable Way of the universe,
    P'u, or natural simplicity, the Uncarved Block,
    Inner Nature, being those things that make us exactly who we are,
    Wu Wei, or proceeding without doing, causing, or making,
    Tzu Jan, or 'self so', meaning that things happen by themselves, spontaneously,
    Tz'u, or caring and compassion, and,
    T'ai Hsu, or the Great Nothing.

    Along the way we learn the pitfalls of being too busy and the benefits of doing nothing (for example meditation and contemplation). Having read this I now try to arrange my day so that I can spend half an hour a day in my garden with my cat just doing nothing but observing nature and thinking the thoughts that come to mind. I recommend it to everyone.
    ...more info
  • Just a total classic
    This is just one of those books you have to read - I first read it as a long-haired, guitar strumming art student, in between fixes of Don Quixote and Luis Bunuel. I recall there were things like 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' floating around at the time. While that text features the famous disclaimer, that it offers little insight to traditional Zen practice, it will no more help you grasp the mechanics of Motorbikes. Similar points have been made by my spiritual advisors over here in Japan about this book, but what the hey?

    This is one of those rare books that make you see the world in a different way (and how many of those have you read since you were nine?), if it inspires people to gain a little more insight into the Dao, the Way, then so much the better. But at the very least, it will make you treat people in a different, more thoughtful way. Should be required reading for all aspiring politicians, poets and princes....more info
  • Don't bother
    I actually thought this was going to be a good book, but came away feeling depressed at how pitiful an attempt this was to describe an eastern philosophy. No doubt, the book has sold purely on its hook of having the famous little bear, Pooh, on it's cover. Nevertheless, the only handful of passages that made the whole endeavor worthwhile in this little waste of time came from other passages taken out of REAL books such as Tae Te Ching. Otherwise, the author here is one of those hippie types who, by his own admission, likes to lay about on the floor. Must be nice while the rest of us go to work to earn money to buy cute little books with Winnie the Pooh on the cover.

    Whatever....more info
  • My Thoughts on The Tao of Pooh
    The Tao of Pooh is a book comparing the ways of Pooh and his friends to Taoism. The author, Benjamin Hoff, tells this story with three differnent views. It holds stories of Taoism ways, excerpts from Pooh stories by A.A. Milne and him sitting and talking to Pooh himself.
    My favorite parts of this book were any that included the original Pooh stories. I felt I was able to get closer to the characters. I also liked when I was able to piece together how the ways of Tao and Pooh fit. One more thing I liked was the fact that this book made me think about things in a differnt perspective.
    Unless you'd like to get a headache I wouldn't recommened this book to you. The game of toss between the stories will boggle your brain. It goes from classic A.A. Milne stories to Taoist lengends to the author talking with Pooh himself. If you want to learn a thing about Taoism compared to the lovable Winnie the Pooh you should read it. Overall though I would stay away from this book if possible, you might regret it....more info
  • Why This Is Not Common Sense, I Have No Idea
    When I first heard about this book, I thought the guy who told me about it was being funny. He said that a book on Taoism, explained via Winnie the Pooh had changed his life. I laughed, but decided to get it anyways.

    This book turned out to be way better than I had imagined. In a way it seems contrary to common sense, but in all the best ways. It challenged me to re-think how I thought of myself and life.

    The more I read about Taoism, the more impressed I get with anyone who is able to explain it in an intelligible form. Benjamin Hoff did an amazing job, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone. So much so that I have already bought 3 books for family and friends already.

    The best description I have seen of Taosim so far, and all with a cuddly little teddy bear... Um... A manly cuddly little teddy bear *caugh*...more info
  • Is this really Taoism? Say it is not.
    I picked up this book because it seemed so charming. The author took the stories and characters of A.A. Milne and juxtaposed them with the Taoist teachings of people such as Lao Tzu.

    Pooh as western Taoist starts off interestingly enough but halfway through it I came to the realization that it was making me want to just read the actual Milne, who was frankly probably a genius writer. Those were great books with great characters, each with their own type of intelligence.

    Then about two thirds through the book, it just becomes insulting. The author is against pretty much anything useful. Rather than believing in the give and take of Ying and Yang (or any other name it may go under) he's against intellectuals who are secretly foolish for trying to figure anything about the world, against people who work hard and care about their jobs or contributions (again that's just foolish), people who enjoy sports or exercise...heck he's against leaving your house or caring about the rest of the world. I understand the idea behind the Busy Backson rant, but is there no middle ground at all?
    The idea of the Indian American culture being superior to that of the almighty Puritans is used as an example, which could be built upon in several interesting ways, but instead the author chooses to illustrate how everything that came after was just silliness without supplying a single idea about how it could be done better...yet useful.

    At one point he actually uses the example of (paraphrasing here) turning on the T.V. news to hear "`Thirty thousand people were killed today when five jumbo airliners collided over downtown Lose Angeles" *click* Stop worrying about everything and go about life. Listen to the birds chirp, they will tell you more about the world." ---wait, we shouldn't care about thirty thousand humans being killed in a horrific accident?

    I am in no way an expert on Taoism, but unless everyone who IS finds that idea posing as a representation of their philosophy to be offensive, I want nothing to do with it. It isn't enlightened to go around hating everything while doing nothing. And I'm sure the author realizes this since he spends so much time writing best=selling books.
    ...more info
  • Cottelston, Cottelston, Cottelston Pie
    "What did you think of the book?" "What book?" asked Pooh. "The Tao of Pooh," replied William. "The who of me." "Yeah, that was a chapter. Did you like it?" "How could you not like a book about a bear?" Pooh said proudly. "That was how I felt," William confirmed.

    A wonderful little book that not only introduces one to the thoughts of Taoism but also shows you how a clear mind without worry can make your life better. Don't be a Bisy Backson. Pick up this book and sit down and enjoy it. That's the whole point, right? ...more info
  • Very clever
    Benjamin Hoff's job comparing the lovable characters of the One Hundred Acre Woods to Taoism may be a stretch to some, but I found it delightful and very helpful. First of all, I taught Ancient History including the great world religions to sixth graders (roughly 11-12 year olds). I took some examples from the book and its theme and integrated them into my teaching on China and Taoism. The concepts in many of the great eastern religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, etc. can be hard for many in the West to grasp, not to mention adolescents just being introduced to them. The comparisons in this book really allowed my students to absorb the overall theme of Taoism.

    The two comparisons I love that Hoff gives:

    1) How the Taoist tastes vinegar and unlike the rest, enjoys it because he realizes that everything in life is not sweet (Balance).
    2) I also taught a character education class and this theme was particularly helpful: you should seek to live everyday of your life like you are about to open a present. That anticipation and excitement should be driving forces in your life. No matter how bad your day/ week/ month is there should always be a "present" to look forward to on your calendar. And when that event is over, there should be something else to keep in your mind; a new, exciting anticipation. It is a never ending cycle.

    You don't have to be a Taoist to appreciate this book....more info
  • Excellent Yet Quite Flawed
    Seems like a contradiction right? So are some parts of Hoff's book. I must note that other reviewers have pointed this out. Hoff explains, quite clearly (thankfully) that one of the tenets of Taoism is to accept things precisely as they are...and then, as another reviewer says, he doesn't accept the other Pooh characters for what they are, instead disparaging them for not having the simplicity of Pooh.

    Ultimately, as one who is uninitiated into Taoist philosophy, I would suggest this book if for no other reason than to acquaint oneself with its basic philosophies, which Hoff does explain clearly. One warning is that, sometimes his forays into conversation w/Pooh, and his story anecdotes are less than clear, and he assumes the reader immediately understood. Sometimes I felt going off into the world of Pooh was unneeded at a certain point, though at other points it was valid and well-constructed. Additionally, I would read this book as though walking onto a floor w/a "Careful" sign on it...this book is unnecessarily judgmental of others, and I feel that by feeling that way about others, one avoids the nothingness and simplicity Hoff says the Taoist seeks. Judging others adds confusion to life, the very same confusion Hoff wants us to avoid by being as simple as Pooh. So I say: read this book, and use it as a spur to further readings in Taoism if it interests you, but don't take it as a textbook of Taoist thought. Many of Hoff's explanations are good, and the quotes from actual Taoists and other Chinese thinkers are excellent, but do not take the judgmental road implied by this book.

    I think it's worth noting that on the back of the book, where the genre is usually listed in small print near the ISBN, The Tao of Pooh is listed as a humor book. So read this book w/that in mind. It is a good intro to Taoism, but ultimately, it is not a book of Taoist philosophy, and is more like a book of metaphysics that utilizes Taoism. It is worth mentioning that several Taoist ideas (about the harmony of the heavens and earth) are not strictly Taoist, which to me says, not that the Taoists were not unique, but that they have hit on some sort of truth. Hoff's book can help the average person in their daily life, through the basics of Tao. Hoff's book will not make one a true follower of Taoism, in my opinion. However, for most, the former is enough, and the latter is unimportant, and that is fine. This book operates both as a good pique of the imagination leading to further studies into Taoism, or as simply a book which reminds us of the beauty in the simplicity of life...all in the unassuming world of Winnie-the Pooh. So for that, the book has merit, even if its unnecessary judgmental nature is obnoxious.

    3.75 stars...more info
  • What a great book
    If you only read two books this year, this and "The Te of Piglet" should be those....more info
  • Philosophy's Favorite Bear
    Recommended for everyone, a lighthearted look at the Tao and a simpler way of living through the eyes of my favorite bear. My husband lives the Tao of Pooh. If you're having trouble understanding the Tao, or having a hard time relating to that duck that seems to let the world roll off his back, this book puts everything into perspective. There's no denying the fun in this book; the beautiful, flowing, clear writing style is classic A.A. Milne Pooh, and demonstrates what a perfect example this bear is for the concepts of the Tao....more info
  • a charming stroll with Pooh, the unintentional Taoist master
    In "The Tao of Pooh", Benjamin Hoff uses the personalities of the characters in A. A. Milne's tales to illustrate Taoism alongside some competing worldviews.

    The characters can divided into 3 categories of personality and philosophy: Rabbit/Owl, Eeyore, and Pooh.

    Rabbit quickly develops and executes clever action plans that don't capture the essence of a given situation and usually go awry. Similar to Rabbit in terms of being too clever by half, Owl pontificates and analyzes and never actually does anything. Eeyore is also clever in his own way, but interprets everything negatively and is bitter and ineffectual. Whereas Pooh ambles along without the brains of the others, but with a stout heart, and muddles through to contentment.

    Rabbit/Owl together embody logical analysis, clever planning, and ceaseless but largely misdirected hard work. The aim of all their analysis and effort is to exert maximum control over outcomes by actively 'understanding' and intervening in every situation. In the Eastern tradition, this approach corresponds to Confucianism, a very rigid and circumscribed approach to achieving harmony. In the Western tradition, the Rabbit/Owl approach seems very familiar, as the general attempt to organize and control our physical and social environments with logical tools and techniques is integral to the Western experience. The Rabbit/Owl approach regrets the past and worries about the future.

    Eeyore represents knowing resignation. The aim of this hopelessness, and the ensuing lack of commitment and activity, is to shield oneself emotionally from the risk and reality of failure. In the Eastern tradition, this approach corresponds to Buddhism, which counsels that our world is illusion and suffering, and the best response is to actively disengage from it all. In the Western tradition, the Eeyore approach can be construed as loosely analogous to the easy cynicism and disengagement of the many people who are alienated by the overbearing and omnipresent Rabbit/Owl aspects of society. The Eeyore approach sees endless failure in the past and inevitable failure in the future.

    Pooh, on the other hand, embodies warm-hearted, inclusive, and spirited enjoyment of what's happening in the moment. He unconsciously embodies the fact that we cannot control the infinitely complex interplay of forces and events out there, so the healthiest response to this overwhelming reality is to be true to our inner nature and in so doing, accept being part of the great flow of things. In the Eastern tradition, Pooh's approach is Taoist. He does not worry about the past. He does not worry about the future. He simply is himself, now, enthusiastically. He is simply honest and true to his friends and to his own nature. To Pooh, 'things are as they are', and do not need constant worry, analysis, self-doubt, and striving, unlike the flustered Confucian-Rabbits. But at the same time, he is quite engaged in the world, unlike the fatalistic Buddhist-Eeyores. When he wants hunny, he goes about getting it, quite tenaciously at times. When he wants to help a drowning Roo or Eeyore, he rushes to save them with whatever's handy. And so on.

    "The Tao of Pooh" is overall a charming read. Hoff does a good job of maintaining the whimsical tone of the original Pooh tales, painlessly conveying some fairly abstruse concepts about the nature of reality and perception.

    To be fair, it should be noted that there's a bit of apocalyptic sermonizing at the very end, to the effect that the Owls and Rabbits of the world will destroy everything if we don't learn a better way to be. Also some readers will construe Hoff's periodic mild teasing of the Rabbit/Owl way as irritating intolerance, hypocritically un-Taoist. Personally, I do not take his teasing that way at all; Taoist hermits probably did not show much deference to the great Confucian bureaucrats of their day! To me, these are minor and forgivable blemishes in a book that otherwise has a deft, light touch, though not as light as the childlike wisdom of the Way that it hopes to explain....more info
  • Good But Faulty
    I don't know, nor do I pretend to know, the intricate workings of Taoism. But then, I didn't set out to write a book. I'm merely writing a book review.

    Benjamin Hoff, regardless of his knowing the intricate workings of Taoism, comes off as pretending. At the very least, he talks the talk but fails to walk the walk. How can I say that, given my self-announced lack of knowledge? Hoff explains, quite clearly, one of the tenets of Taoism is to accept things precisely as they are. He then goes on to reject the other Pooh characters as they are. Instead, he proceeds to disparage them for not having the simplicity of Pooh. Likewise, he starts his book by doing the same of other religions.

    The book reads like it was originally written to be a Taoism for Dummies book. By adding Pooh, the book becomes much more than that for Hoff. The book is annoying at times, having parables that sometimes work, other times not; occasionally coming from random space and not speaking to the point at hand. The author assumes we just GET it. But isn't the point of the book to explain, to make clear what might not be obvious to those not immersed in the subject matter already? It's hard to believe this is anything but a book for beginners. As such, he should treat the reader as such. Other times the points are illustrated well with the Pooh stories.

    The book is too judgmental and critical of those not accepting The Way, which is in direct conflict with another of the tenets of the book - Cottleston Pie, for those who have read it. This lack of acceptance is bothersome. Overall, I guess things are NOT what they are, in the mind of Benjamin Hoff. Additionally, Pooh is often times omniscient and judgmental, qualities I would never imagine to label the cute little guy.

    Many of the ideas expressed in this book embody things I currently believe. The text often reinforces those beliefs, other times expands upon them. However, as mentioned above, it makes me wonder at the style of the message delivered. On one hand, it's probably a good intro to the subject matter, regardless of your religious & philosophical beliefs. On the other hand, the book can't be taken too seriously due to the blatant hacking at the philosophies and beliefs of others. Still, the core of the book does entail a much ideology that helps get a person through everyday life. So it's probably well worth the read if you take the good and ignore the bad....more info
  • Good intro to inner peace
    I first read this book when I was 19 years old - you always think you know who you are at that age, but you still have so much to learn.

    using characters that I have always been familiar with, this book really shows you how to let go of stress and aspire to be, well, Pooh.

    Depression, anxiety, stress, insecurity? Don't go to the doctor, take hold of your life and find your inner peace. This book is perfect for indroducing someone to the way....more info
  • Original and enjoying read
    "The Tao of Pooh" is a good book as an introduction to Taoism. The book does not only present Taoism in a very simple way; the involvement of Pooh makes the book very enjoying.

    I was afraid that this book will assume some knowledge about Pooh, which I have only watched a handful of time - a couple of years ago. Thankfully the book only uses characters of Pooh to present the ideas, rather than make this another Pooh story. ...more info
  • Great introduction to Tao or refresher for the Taoist
    I respectfully disagree with Penny - this is the greatest explanation of the unexplainable that I have ever seen. Get it if you're a Taoist, interested in Tao, or just going through a rough patch. With humor and taste the author brings a basic understanding of the belief system and brightens the darkest day. Wonderful read!...more info
  • wonderful, insightful book...
    I found this to be a simply delightful read. It was easy to comprehend and get through. Whoever thought that Pooh might one day come back and enlighten me as much as he entertained me as a kid growing up. ...more info
  • Keep it stupid, simpleton
    To see the behavior and mindset of Winnie the Pooh as representative of the Great Way is one thing; "just as he is," as one might say, even though as a fictional character Pooh is a secondary representation of sentient being-in-reality. That is to say, he exists only in our imagination as a construction of language but does not exist in the real world. He is an illusion; yet he can serve as an imagined role model of sentience, perhaps even of enlightenment if we choose to dream him as such.

    But one should not confuse unenlightened ignorance with the sentience of non-duality no matter how childlike Pooh appears in his textual innocence. In fact, the very comparison jumps the track from The Tao into the trap of duality just as we all do here. I suppose we can excuse Benjamin Hoff as being "a finger pointing at the moon" despite that this allegorical attempt never gets the honey jar off its nose.

    In the initial chapters, Hoff's treatment of science lacks a clear understanding of how capable many scientists are of simply observing natural phenomena, sometimes even in a Taoist or Zen Buddhist way. Einstein even described Buddhism, related to Taoism, as the perfect way of the scientist. Hoff was in his early 30s when he wrote this book and I wonder what he would say about science now that he is in his 50s with more maturity and skilled practice in the true art of living simply and "polishing the mirror" of his mind. In fact, any cognitive therapist or self-explored practitioner of meditation, whether Taoist or otherwise, can easily recognize the fallacies of "gross generalization" and "minimization" that he dualistically applies while erroneously committing science to the pejorative categories he falsely constructs somewhere in his own fogged mirror. As a practitioner of Zen, I found this ironic -- that he criticized science and scientists alike -- in fact he seemed to criticize all scholars and/or "thinkers" -- for being uselessly enthralled to their own narrowly labeled "categories" when in fact he was committing the very same egregiously unenlightened thinking errors with his own projected, biased, dualistic and overly simplistic categories.

    This is not to say that the scientist never misses the forest for the trees -- which seemed to be his point. But in making it, he appeared in denial of the trees while condescendingly instructing the learned on the forest -- a mistake made by many a novice in the art of becoming effectively and truely aware.

    At first I suspected he, like so many others, was unwittingly revealing himself a phony -- a tree trimmer by trade who seemed unconsciously jealous of scientists for their degrees, "knowledge" and learning. Certainly Emanuel Kant would be laughing his ass off. Of Kant's five recognized epistemological methods for knowing truth -- Tenacity, Authority, Experience, Reason and Science -- the young Benjamin Hoff seems to have fallen into the traps of the lower levels of "knowing" -- Tenacity, Authority and (unfortunately, unenlightened) Experience -- without recognizing that each of the five should be integrated, each supporting the others, and used as *tools* in coming to "Right Thinking" in the Great Universal "Way."

    Poor Pooh! He is mistaken for one of the Holy Ones, a person of compassion and wisdom, a sentient being given to countless ways of loving kindness, a Bodhisattva, when in fact, if Pooh were real, he is being exploited and abused in the allegory crammed cerebral cortex of Been-Jamin' Hoff in Taoist drag.

    This book is for beginners written by a beginner. Watch out for traps! Old Lao-tzu should have slapped this student with his staff right into the river alongside Eyore....."just as he is."...more info
  • Spiritual Enlightenment through Piglet and Pooh
    These books were refreshing and simplistic views of spiritualism that provids the reader and new opportinity to reexamine and reaffirm their spirituality...more info
  • Highly Recommended
    I loved this little book. It is very educational and the author explains Taoism in such a way everyone can understand and relate to. Sprinkled with recants from the Winnie the Pooh story. How could you not like it? ...more info
  • Pooh for Grown-Ups
    Everyone I know loved pooh as a kid. He was ever-happy, ever-satisfied, and ever-peaceful. With the exception of the occasional honey-related fiasco, he seemed to know a thing or two about living. However, as we get older, watching and reading about Pooh and his friends becomes frustrating. Why is your life so simple, Pooh? This world we live in is so hectic, and if we don't periodically step back and breathe, we begin to think that this is how life is supposed to be. When people tell me to relax, or not worry, or spout off clich¨¦s like "whatever happens will happen", I can tend to get really mad. How dare you say that?!? Do you know everything I have to get done today? What I usually don't realize, and what they may not realize, is that they are really preaching some of the ancient and wise tenets of Taoism. What I'm really looking for, I suppose, is the formula for a good life. Like most people, I spend a lot of my time trying to find it in work, possessions, getting into college, what have you... But as Pooh teaches through The Tao of Pooh, happiness and contentment lie right in front of me.

    The Tao of Pooh approaches the wisdom and (sometimes) backwards philosophy involved in Taoism using understandable scenarios involving Pooh and his pals in the hundred acre wood. For example, Pooh and his friends wander around the forest looking for his home but keep arriving at the same sinkhole, and not his house. He then decides that if they look for the sinkhole, they will surely arrive at his house. This story was meant to show the futility of seeking something out, because what is meant to come to you will.

    Each character in The Tao of Pooh represents a frame of mind addressed in Taoism. Eeyore is supposed to characterize giving up, and giving in to suffering and misfortune. From what I've read about the book, this is a poke at Buddhism's "life is suffering." The rabbit and the owl represent the over-intellectuals. Owl seeks out knowledge for the sake of knowledge, of being able to look wise. While they seek to analyze and comprehend everything they do and see, they show the supposed flaws of the rigid analysis and thought process preached in Confucianism. I think the point of their characters is that we're not supposed to understand everything, so we shouldn't try. Although wise, his wisdom extends only to his mind and not to his heart where it counts. In contrast to these characters, Pooh has a rich heart and a life of happiness, because he takes the good with the bad, doesn't struggle to grasp every confusing aspect of life, and knows that above all "life is good".

    There is nothing in this book that we've never heard before. However, they're all things that, as people tied to a clock and a palm pilot, we quickly brush off if they're not well stated. The thing that makes this book rather incredible is the way it drives the ideas home using a character we are all comfortable with. The anecdotes in this book are captivating and very effective at showing us the things that make life worth living. This world would be a much better place to live in if everyone followed Pooh's lead - just slowed down and realized how great life truly is. ...more info
  • It's not being an Eeyore, it's being myopic.
    Our "poised" and "civilized" friend Rob from the west proves a good point: give anyone an inch, and they'll walk all over you. In this case, the inch represents the Internet and Rob's review is the heal in your face. His tactless and myopic tirade would make anyone of sound mind want to vomit shards of glass (especially his little jewel about kung-pao chicken, which by the way ISN'T Chinese). Way to go triumphant, two-dimensional Western ideology! When it comes to stereotyping, it definitely takes the cake.

    This book, by no means, tries to bash or villanize Wester culture. Hoff just calls it as he sees it, which doesn't make it romanticized rants. What this book tries to accomplish is to get the reader to acknowledge the importance of simplicity, an idea lost and distorted in our ever-growing megalomanic society. As Mies van der Rohe put it: Less is more! Hoff doesn't try to widen the schism between science and spirituality, but instead finds the middle ground in which both are dependent upon each other and ultimately complement one another. Regardless of what is and what isn't on your reading list, find some room and make time for this book. It's no Dostoevski, but I'm sure you'll find something in it that'll catch your fancy, so long as you read it with an open mind set....more info
  • A differing outlook on life!
    I don't normally feel the urge to write reviews but this book has made me rethink my attitude towards life. I admit I am no Taoist expert and in fact knew nothing about it before reading this book. However, no matter how accurate this book is on Taoism, it has given me much food for thought on many life matters and I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind, or who is just looking for a different view on life in general....more info
  • a great introduction to the Way
    I bought this book in '95, and re read it about once a year. If you want a simple, wonderful introduction to how life can be, you might want to read this book.

    I do not agree with the other reviewers in this thread, who say this book is against the western lifestyle. The author does have criticism about the western civilisation, and if you think about it, it all does make sense.

    Thanks to this book I have found my path, and inner peace that goes with it. It has so many treasures inside, that I cannot even begin to mention them all......more info

  • A creative introduction to the teachings of Lao Tzu
    Most books with the word "Tao" in their title have nothing to do with the Tao. THE TAO OF POOH actually explores the Tao and its finer points in a simple and delightful way. Hoff shows a deep understanding of ancient Taoist principles and presents them in the nurturing environment of A.A.Milne's classic WINNIE-THE-POOH. Very creative, and a fine introduction to the teachings of Lao Tzu. Of benefit to readers of all ages.
    ...more info
  • Pooh is smarter than we thought.
    This book explains the Taoist philosophy in a simple, easy to understand manner using a much loved character as a reference point. I loved it and even my teenage daughters enjoyed it. More importantly, they understood it....more info
  • Not very taoist
    I gave this book 3 stars because it reads easily enough, there are some insightful moments, and because it is fairly enjoyable with the exchange between the author and Pooh bear. But, this book is not recommended for anyone wanting to understand taoism. Much of the book contains almost bitter western bashing, or the condemning of certain modes of life, which does not actually help to reinforce taoist concepts. There are portions that read more like rants, even....more info
  • A Recommended Introduction to Taoism
    A great introductory book about Taoism presented in an accessible and fun way.

    More enjoyable than a textbook and can be read in an afternoon. ...more info
  • Still worth it
    It's just over half an inch thick, and just slightly bigger than pocket sized. If you can fit the entirety, or even a decent beginning of an explanation of the entirety of any philosophy or religion into a volume that sized... without cheating by using rice paper and microscopic print.. well, congratulations, I guess. I'm no scholar.

    It's a surface treatment, and an ok one at that. But most people won't come here for serious expository source material on the intricacies of Eastern mysticism. It's a playful, and simple reminder to most readers that life isn't the overbearingly complicated and ponderous thing that we're all told about. Yes, it involves Taoism. Yes, it involves Pooh. Yes, it bounces around, and it's an easy read. But it makes some valid points worth thinking about, and it'll leave most folks staring off into space for a while when they get done.

    Maybe it's not "serious" scholarly work. But it's a wonderful departure point for anyone who's a little too caught up in the frenzy of what life is supposed to be... whatever that is. It's hard enough to untangle the mess of the human mind without adding complication to the process by having to pore over a voluminous, verbose, and sometimes vacuous expository volume. Hard enough to figure yourself out as it is, without having to figure out what someone else is saying, too. So have a seat in your favorite chair, relax, unwind, and enjoy. ...more info
  • Suprisingly Good Book
    I had to read this book for a class. I was suprised by how interesting it was. Hoff uses fictional characters to define the Tao religion. If you are looking for insight on other religions, I suggest this book....more info
  • poor role model
    Winnie the Pooh is too stupid to be stressed out. He is obviously fry-brained from doing massive quantities of drugs in the 60's, which the author neglects to mention. So if you want to be like Pooh, smoke up. Then you won't care about anything and will be content with doing nothing all day except smoking pot and eating honey. ...more info
  • Not the Past, Not the Future, but The Tao...........
    People. It is a beautiful spring day today. The sun is shining, a warm breeze is caressing, the clouds are puffy cotton, the squirrels are scurrying and the birds are chirping. (Which is o.k. as long as they don't fly overhead!). Your Metamorpho decided to take his pen and pad to the ol' babbling brook to get into the reflective mood to write this next review. I sat down against an old oak tree and started to write. However, it was so peaceful I started to doze off. In the middle of envisioning Sondra the Seerest doing her latest belly dance, I felt a furry hand tugging at my white linen cuff.

    "Wake up Mr. Metamorpho, wake up!" a voice said. I blinked my eyes open to find Pooh there, face full of honey.

    "Oh it's you Pooh," I said with surprise. "Funny you should be here. I was just going to write about you."

    "You were?" he said with eyes wide open. "Why?"

    "Well, because I'm here writing a review of Benjamin Hoff's book called 'The Tao of Pooh', which is about you."

    "It is?" he asked. "Wow!"

    "No, Tao Pooh", I corrected.

    "What is Tao Mr. Metamorpho?" he asked with a puzzled look.

    "Well, I think it is one of the great teachings of China. A philosopy of sorts. Mr. Hoff equates this with how you are. An uncarved block, as he puts it."

    "He thinks I'm a blockhead?" Pooh said, as a lone tear started to form.

    "No no Pooh. Even though you are a bear of simple brain, Mr. Hoff explains that you are not stupid, but representative of the simplicity one needs to lead a calm and natural life. Go with the flow, if you will."

    "That sounds better," he smiled.

    "Sure does. The concept of Tao is very interesting, but, essentially the belief is that there is constant evolution in the world. In other words, there is a natural balance in nature and the universe. It is the concept that total harmony will be achieved by letting things be, to run their own course, if you will."

    "I ran a course once, along with Kanga and Roo," he said smiling.

    "Well, it's not exactly like that," I said. "You see Pooh, he believes in yin and yang. Two energies that, although opposite, are complimentary and needed for harmony. This applies to many facets of life."

    "Maybe I should ask owl," he said.

    "Well, you could," I said. "But he makes a distinction here between knowledge and true wisdom. The answers don't lie in a book per se, they just are, within yourself, if you are aware of the interconnectivity of all things in the universe."

    "You mean I am?" he said with surprise.

    "Mr. Hoff seems to thinks so. And I wouldn't apply this to any of your friends. Rabbit never slows himself down long enough to recognize the simple pleasures of life," I said. "Eeyore, well, you know Eeyore, he brays over things he can't control. And Piglet, although very small, is uncertain and afraid to take action."

    "I'm hungry. Do you have a jar of honey with you?" he asked.

    "No, but I have this," and I handed him a honey graham cracker. "There is much more to this philosophy, but the main thing is that the only constant in the universe is change. If you war against it you will only produce unnatural and artificial results, which could produce much unhappiness because it goes against the natural rythmn and flow of life."

    "I don't think I am unhappy Mr. Metamorpho," he said.

    "No Pooh, you aren't," I smiled. "You are a living, breathing, stuffed example of Tao."

    "Well, Mr. Metamorpho, I'm not stuffed yet. No honey, huh?"

    "No, Pooh. But, I have no doubt that you will find it. Tao provides beary nice things for those who follow the path."

    "Thanks Mr. Metamorpho. Speaking of path, I should go find Christopher Robin. He should be home about now," he said and then sauntered off.

    And people, if you have read this so far, you will know I will take full advantage of the deus ex machina (a popular method in Greece) to tell you that when I woke up, I remembered this meeting word for word, and wrote it here for your amazement. Now, let me get back to my daydream of Sondra. It was a very pleasurable experience, but I wished she would stop fluttering those stupid silk scarfs in my face. The things one puts up with for love. I tell ya.

    For the child in all of us -- Metamorpho

    ...more info
  • A particular way of living
    This book is based around the idea that A. A. Milne's stories of Winnie-The-Pooh can be used to illustrate the basic notions of Taoism. Hoff is not by any means arguing that Milne was a Taoist. He is merely saying that Milne's inner attitude to life, as revealed by the stories, intuitively follow along the same path as Taoism. Owl is wise, Rabbit is cleaver and Eeore is smugly superior but the real hero of the books is Pooh, the apparently stupid yet strangely successful and able bear.

    The book covers the Taoist principles of:

    Tao, or the indescribable Way of the universe,
    P'u, or natural simplicity, the Uncarved Block,
    Inner Nature, being those things that make us exactly who we are,
    Wu Wei, or proceeding without doing, causing, or making,
    Tzu Jan, or 'self so', meaning that things happen by themselves, spontaneously,
    Tz'u, or caring and compassion, and,
    T'ai Hsu, or the Great Nothing.

    Along the way we learn the pitfalls of being too busy and the benefits of doing nothing (for example meditation and contemplation). Having read this I now try to arrange my day so that I can spend half an hour a day in my garden with my cat just doing nothing but observing nature and thinking the thoughts that come to mind. I recommend it to everyone.
    ...more info
  • Great!
    Very easy and interesting read. Hoff has a really nice writing style, and his use of Pooh as a medium makes understanding basic Tao principles is very helpful. I love the book, and I would recommend this book along with anything else written by Hoff. ...more info
  • Beautiful, Entertaining, and Thought-Provoking Masterpiece!
    This elegant and well-written volume by Benjamin Hoff, along with its sequel aaeThe Te of Pigleta, is perhaps one of the finest pieces of writing about Taoism in the West. Having just read and enjoyed the original Pooh stories by A.A. Milne, I became intrigued by this book and obtained it. As soon as I opened it I could not find a good point to lay it down. I kept reading and reading until I finished it in a single day. The book was so pleasurable, so well-written, and so intriguing. I kept thinking and imagining all the different concepts of Taoism that this book introduces me to. aaeWu Weia or effortless action; living in harmony with nature; Nowhere and Nothing; the importance of the present; the extreme alienation we in the West create for ourselves by being constantly busy. These are all important issues that relate to my life personally, and I feel I have gained something from reading this book, in addition to spending an enjoyable time reading it.

    Those who didna(tm)t like this book for some reason are missing the point. The aaeTao of Pooha was never meant to be the definite treatise on Taoism, or the dispassionate comparison of East and West. As a matter of fact, this book is classified under aaeHumora. In fact, it is this humor of pooh which lends itself so aptly to introducing Taoism. Since reading this book, I became interested in reading the other book by John Tyerman Williams called aaePooh & the Philosophersa. What a disaster that turned out to be! See, the defining character of Pooh is that he never really takes himself seriously, which is perfectly in line with the attitude of major Taoist philosophers. Yet Western philosophy thinks of itself as a serious subject, an attitude that is quite un-Pooh-ish, so I dona(tm)t know what on earth Williams was thinking in using Pooh to illustrate Western philosophy. Anyways, dona(tm)t buy Williama(tm)s book, buy this! If you like Pooh and feel intrigued with Eastern Philosophy, you will find a pleasurable reading in this masterpiece that was the first to recognize this beautiful match. ...more info
  • Possibly the Best Explanation of Taoism
    The Tao of Pooh is a wonderful, simple explanation of the basic tenets of Taoism. It is not the end-all-be-all of Taoism reference, but for those of us interested in learning more about Eastern Thought, it is a delightfully entertaining way of doing so.

    I don't think Pooh knew he was quite the philosopher, and I'm not sure A. A. Milne intended him to be, but it turns out that he explains basic Taoism very well.

    I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about basic Taoism, wants to make positive changes in their lives, or who just loves Pooh and has an open mind....more info
  • Outstanding
    First I have to address the 1 star reviews... were you reading the same book? How did you get all this negitivity from a simple book? Hoff isn't knocking anyone, if you read the book there's a whole section dedicated to the feeling that everyone has a place in life. The "Owls" The "Tiggers" The "Rabbits" ect... he's not saying that these are bad qualities just that too much "Rabbit" or too much "Eeyore" can be bad. It seems to me the people who gave this book a one star are exactly the people who this author is trying to get across too, it's your own pre judgements that don't allow you to enjoy this book.

    That being said this is a wonderful book, I've always been a huge Pooh fan and I've always used these characters to discribe people. Everyone knows a "Eeyore" and a "Owl" and so on, and in some regards everyone has a "Piglet" part of them or a "Tigger" That's all this book is saying, the sooner you realize it the better. Hoff isn't saying if your a "Owl" change because you won't ever be happy. He's saying the sooner you know who you are and accept you for you, the happier you'll be. The sooner you can "Let go" of the things that we all get wrapped up in, the happier you'll be. It's a shame when people can't see that. ...more info
  • the tao of pooh
    This little book packs a bang. It was fun to read and gives the child like view of how to "go with the flow" of life.
    ...more info
  • Three Vinegar Tasters
    This book became popular not only because of Pooh or Tao, but because of the explaination of the "3 Vinegar Tasters" scroll painting in the book. Before this book became popular this famous painting was unknown, and because of this book, people know what it is.


    That is the painting described in the book and as you can clearly see, one of the good points of this book was explaining the three main philosophies of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism in China.

    I recommend that readers visit the site that details the relationship between Taoism and the other philosophies and see how Tao of Pooh fits Taoism in there....more info
  • Bitter and Vacuous
    Apparently, Taoism is about lazy, bitter Westerners superficially embracing Eastern mysticism in order to boost their own egos - and then cashing in on a beloved childhood icon to make a quick buck.

    Hoff does a reasonable job of using actual quotations from Pooh to illustrate various simple points, but his depiction of Taoism ends up being a collection of empty mantras that have no relationship to real life, where people frequently have both aspirations and problems. Do you want to work towards a career where you can make a difference for people? Hoff's answer is "don't strive - just be". Upset about global inequality and mass starvation? "Cottlestone Pie".

    Hoff blatantly misreads Pooh to tell us that knowledge and science bring nothing but trouble - as he puts it, discovering things only leads to more questions, so what's the point? He even rants against jogging and tennis. Better to remain ignorant and immobile - although complaining bitterly seems to be an acceptable activity....more info
  • The Tao of Pooh
    This is an easy to read book. Easy to follow. Well written book....more info
  • A particular way of living
    This book is based around the idea that A. A. Milne's stories of Winnie-The-Pooh can be used to illustrate the basic notions of Taoism. Hoff is not by any means arguing that Milne was a Taoist. He is merely saying that Milne's inner attitude to life, as revealed by the stories, intuitively follow along the same path as Taoism. Owl is wise, Rabbit is cleaver and Eeore is smugly superior but the real hero of the books is Pooh, the apparently stupid yet strangely successful and able bear.

    The book covers the Taoist principles of:

    Tao, or the indescribable Way of the universe,
    P'u, or natural simplicity, the Uncarved Block,
    Inner Nature, being those things that make us exactly who we are,
    Wu Wei, or proceeding without doing, causing, or making,
    Tzu Jan, or 'self so', meaning that things happen by themselves, spontaneously,
    Tz'u, or caring and compassion, and,
    T'ai Hsu, or the Great Nothing.

    Along the way we learn the pitfalls of being too busy and the benefits of doing nothing (for example meditation and contemplation). Having read this I now try to arrange my day so that I can spend half an hour a day in my garden with my cat just doing nothing but observing nature and thinking the thoughts that come to mind. I recommend it to everyone.
    ...more info
  • Interesting concepts
    I learned of this book through my truck insurance auto person in Minnesota. He told me of this book and I bought it and thought it had some great insites on life. They were always there but Pooh brings them out in a way that makes me think farther into it. Really good. PSM...more info
  • Sweet Reading
    "The Tao of Pooh" is a very sweet book, which opens up the reader's eyes to another perspective. In fact, it throws the basis for a further reading and study into the art of Tao. I'm sure it will help a lot of people look life in another light, and maybe live a less stressfull and frightening life, too.
    Enjoy the reading....more info
  • Good quick read!!!!
    This was a good quick read. Very peaceful, entertaining, and it kept me reading until the end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interersted in eastern religion....more info
  • simplicity described by a simple bear
    I was holed up in a hospital bed when I recieved this book. A friend thought that I was wallowing in self pity and wanted me to get a grip so this is what she brought me. The Tao of Pooh incorporates the teachings of Taoism and the great Lao Tzu who believed that people should be able to look at things and appreciated the beauty of its being and note the positives. Pooh bear and his friends make light of the Tao teachings by explaining simplicity, happiness, relaxation, and just not worrying or being overly concerned about trivial matters. Pooh is the perfect creature to explain this because he is just a simple bear who is laid back and gentle. Pooh does not worry about matters but just lets life flow and is grateful for his honey and his friends. Taoism reflects on the way to an understanding of concious simplicity and peace. Its a way to joy and mindfulness which is the ultimate keys to living well. This book is such a nice read since it includes picture of the characters to highlight points, and its narrator explains things simply since after all its the child like pooh who is the student. It really eased my mind and I have since tried to use some of these teachings in my life. ...more info
  • a disappointment
    My religion professor assigned this book as an introduction to Daoism, but I doubt that I ever would have read it in its entirety if I was reading it outside of a class. I couldn't stand the author's polemic against aspects of modern society such as science and other things that improve our lives. The author even criticizes books and the people who read them... which should have been my cue to throw this book in the trash.

    I could make any literary or pop culture icon appear to represent an ideology if I put words in its mouth, like Hoff does for Pooh....more info
  • good stuff
    great book. I thought it was hardcover and it was soft but seller let me know before shipped....more info
  • Worth the read
    It's always worth slowing down and taking the time to read the Tao of Pooh. I've read it many times and as often as I buy it, I gift it to someone and buy it again. Everyone needs a reminder every now and then of how we need to stop pushing and pulling and just go with the flow like Pooh; it'll all work out in the end. Forever inspirational!...more info
  • An Enjoyable Expotition
    This boxed set is a lovely excursion into the world of Pooh and the Tao. The books are the size of a small novel and come in a sturdy box that fits them snugly. The corners of the box get a little bent in shipping, and because the books are paperback the covers roll up a little. But they are a great size & shape for travel, and they fulfill their promise of wisdom and a fun journey through philosophy through the eyes and lives of the Pooh Corner characters. A wonderful treat!...more info
  • One of my favorite taoist books
    This book is a little gem, especially when you are feeling lost spiritually. It teaches one a lot about Eastern Philosophy, meditation and just (like a brook) taking things smoothily and easily. I loved and so have all the friends to whom I have gifted this little volume of wisdom....more info
  • Loved this book, tiddly pom...
    This was a delightful read. Funny, engaging and full of innate wisdom, Pooh-style. Tiddly pom, pom, pom. This book merrily reveals that Truth is everywhere, especially in children's literature! Read and giggle and understand yourself a little better.
    www.yourpotentialpower.com...more info
  • An exercise in frustration
    The Tao of Pooh is, I believe, an attempt at presenting the philosophy of Taoism in an entertaining and cute way using the familiar, and entertaining-in-themselves, characters of Winnie the Pooh. However, I think that if you would like to learn about Taoism, you'd be better off reading a blurb off of a website. As for using the Winnie the Pooh characters to emphasize, illustrate and entertain, well, it just didn't work. In Hoff's "take" on Taoism, he tactlessly insults and irritates the average person living in Western Civilization who has any goals or aspirations in life. There are some very nice beliefs in Taoism, such as the development of divine virtues (which is not, of course, unique to Taoism but is shared by almost all religions), such as compassion and caring. However, being an ancient philosophy, many of the concepts and ideas have outdated themselves for today's society. Even so, it is difficult to fully appreciate the peacefulness and simplicity of this philosophy with so many jabs thrown by Hoff along the way. Poor Pooh!...more info
    I recently finished reading this book (and have now moved on to "The Te of Piglet") and absolutely enjoyed every line of it! I am a huge fan of the Winnie the Pooh books and also of trying to look at life from different angles, this book blended these two things perfectly!...more info
  • Uncarved Block
    Taken as intended this book is a delightful view of Taoism but to do this one must disregard the authors attitude that Western Science and such things are futile....more info
  • a large cloud of smug
    I've been through this book a few times now. I admit that Pooh seems a good Taoist, if I remember my theology classes right. I will also go so far as to say that the book amuses from time to time. Where the book falls short in my opinion is the narrator's tone.

    Mr. Hoff's contrasts between Taoist and Judeo-Christian approaches to life invariably give the air of self-satisfaction one so often finds in Western converts to Eastern religion. It is this pall of smug (apologies to Trey Parker and Matt Stone) that makes the book progressively more annoying as the pages turn.

    I'd give it 3 or 4 stars for accuracy and explanation, were it not for the tone....more info
  • Left a bad taste in my mouth
    This book was recommended to me by a friend that swears by it because it helped him through a difficult time in his life. I lost interest after the first couple of pages but forced myself to finish it. The author simplifies Taoist thought to the point that it is in line with any philosophy or religion. If you follow the golden rule and listen to your instincts, congratulations, youre a Taoist. He makes his points by insulting every character from Winnie the Pooh, except for the great Pooh of course, and almost every profession. He needed to spend more time explaining the principles of Taoism and less time trying to explain what it is not. It is not a good introduction to Taoist thought, it just made me want to find a book that is. That is not to mention the bad writing style and confusing analogies. Interesting topic with potential but in the hands of a bad writer it turned to crap. ...more info


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