“Sam Crane's new book is a richly rewarding exploration of the ancient Chinese values and insights that have been the focus of his academic research, in connection with the deepest questions of personal and public ethics in the modern United States. Every chapter draws from Crane's scholarship but also from his unsparing description of wrenching choices in his own life. Readers who are China specialists will learn more about its traditions; readers who are not will have new tools and concepts with which to understand their own societies, institutions, and creeds.”
—James Fallows, of The Atlantic, author of China Airborne
“Sam Crane has written a lively and insightful guide to China's two key philosophical schools—Confucianism and Daoism—by looking at how they would deal with today's problems in western countries. Abortion, education, crime, dealing with the mentally challenged: by exploring how China's greatest philosophical schools might have dealt with them, we learn not only about these ancient ways of thought but also take away innovative ways of looking at our own society. Sprinkled with humorous and touching first-person anecdotes, Crane has given us a truly innovative and fascinating book aimed at general readers.”
—Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China
"This is a book for those who value life in all its combinations. Sam Crane's marriage of ancient Chinese thought and modern American life is filled with profound insights, intimate anecdotes and something beyond mere humanity. Applying the teachings of Zhuangzi and Confucius to debates about abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia, it will be read and argued-over again and again."
—Jonathan Watts, author of When a Billion Chinese Jump
"Sam Crane's erudite writing on ancient Chinese philosophy in the modern era gives us a new window on some of the most hotly discussed issues in American society today, from democracy to sex."
—Edward Wong, China Correspondent, The New York Times