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Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    This book is the real deal

    One thing few people know about me is that I was born overseas as an 'army brat,' speak Chinese fluently, and have made a lifetime study of the Tao Te Ching. Several years ago I made an effort to find the ideal English translation, but gave up in frustration, because the popular translations are not really translations at all but more like 'this is what I think Laozi is saying.' This is obvious to me, since I read and understand the original quite well, but it is by no means obvious to my friends who are also interested in the Tao Te Ching but have no knowledge of Chinese. Because I had already given up on the search, feeling that it was basically impossible, I was shocked and stunned when I came across this book at my local B&N store. It claims to be extremely accurate, but every translation makes that claim, so I discount that automatically. But as I flipped through the pages, I did a double-take. Somehow Mr. Lin has made the seemingly impossible look easy. Chapter after chapter, he transforms the original text into English almost PERFECTLY. When I say 'almost' I mean like 99.9%, which to me is just amazing because most of the other translations range from 60% to 80% in terms of accuracy. This translation is technically precise but magically conveys the exact same lyrical poetry as the original. I got this eerie feeling half way through reading this, at one point I felt as if I was reading ancient Chinese, but then it hit me that I was looking at modern English. What a discovery, after I had already given up hope. Lin's work is a polished diamond, technically almost flawless and far surpassing the best efforts from the foremost scholars working today. I am surprised I have never heard of him before. Only after seeing this book and some searching do I see that he has been teaching the Tao for years, in person as well as online at, a web site that is also quite well done. I am glad this book avaible in stores. Thank you Barnes & Noble, you really made my day and fulfilled a wish I thought would never come true. I am giving this book the highest recommendation to my friends.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2006

    Ancient wisdom for the modern age

    I've literally read dozens of translations of the Tao Te Ching. As a university professor I find the line between academic over-analysis and contextual meaning to be somewhat blurred. Mr. Lin's translation and commentary abides by the rules of scholarly analyisis yet provides a context in which the original meaning remains pure and clear. In doing so, it enables the reader to apply these universal principles to their daily, modern life.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    A Modern translation

    Derek Lin's translation of the Tao Te Ching is outstanding. It features side by side presentations of the classic interpretaion and a modern translation/ interpretation. Lin being a modern American who was raised bi-lingual in Chinese and English has presented new light on old words. This work will allow beginners to much quickly grasp the meaning of this wonderful classic text.

    It will be enjoyed by newcomers to Taoism and experienced students.

    It is fresh air in a sometimes stale world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    A literal translation of the Tao Te Ching is not worth its salt

    A literal translation of the Tao Te Ching is not worth its salt if it doesn't have a commentary. If your looking for a commentary that is not only easy to understand but also relevant to our time, you have found it. For a more in depth commentary, try Rodney A. Cooper. For an exhaustive commentary for serious students only, try Ellen M. Chen. As for Derek Lin, you simply cannot find a better commentary for beginners.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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