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Extended Audio Sample The Second Book of the Tao Audiobook, by Stephen Mitchell Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (136 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Mitchell Narrator: Stephen Mitchell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2009 ISBN: 9781101024966
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The most widely translated book in world literature after the Bible, Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living. Following the phenomenal success of his own version of the Tao Te Ching, renowned scholar and translator Stephen Mitchell has composed the innovative The Second Book of the Tao. Drawn from the work of Lao-tzu’s disciple Chuang-tzu and Confucius’s grandson Tzussu, The Second Book of the Tao offers Western readers a path into reality that has nothing to do with Taoism or Buddhism or old or new alone, but everything to do with truth. Mitchell has selected the freshest, clearest teachings from these two great students of the Tao and adapted them into versions that reveal the poetry, depth, and humor of the original texts with a thrilling new power. Alongside each adaptation, Mitchell includes his own commentary, at once explicating and complementing the text. 

This book is a twenty-first-century form of ancient wisdom, bringing a new, homemade sequel to the Tao Te Ching into the modern world. Mitchell’s renditions are radiantly lucid; they dig out the vision that’s hiding beneath the words; they grab the text by the scruff of the neck—by its heart, really—and let its essential meanings fall out. The book introduces us to a cast of vivid characters, most of them humble artisans or servants, who show us what it means to be in harmony with the way things are. Its wisdom provides a psychological and moral acuity as deep as the Tao Te Ching itself. 

The Second Book of the Tao is a gift to contemporary readers, granting us access to our own fundamental wisdom. Mitchell’s meditations and risky reimagining of the original texts are brilliant and liberating, not least because they keep catching us off-guard, opening up the heavens where before we saw a roof. He makes the ancient teachings at once modern, relevant, and timeless.

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tom | 9/29/2013

    " Most of this book is meaningless aphorisms. It manages to really say nothing about anything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve Wilson | 9/19/2013

    " Nothing can compare the Stephen Mitchell's translation of the "Tao te Ching", but this comes in at a close second. The verses in here are soul-stilling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 8/8/2013

    " the writing is beautiful. Stephen Mitchell offered further great insight into the "Tao" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie Lemson | 4/15/2013

    " Stephen Mitchell does it again! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Will Brown | 1/28/2013

    " A very capable follow up to his interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. I love the layout and find his commentaries insightful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 5/23/2012

    " The actual translated parts were great. Nuggets of truth throughout. His commentaries on the actual pieces got annoying after a while. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/22/2012

    " wow, is this audacious. not sure whether to love it or give mr. mitchell a hip check for trying to pull this off. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary D. | 10/29/2011

    " Ignore or embrace the commentary, the commented on is worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 10/9/2011

    " I'm a little bit disappointed with this book. I've read several of Mitchell's translations, and think he's brilliant, but nothing here really sang to me. I have the Chuang Tzu collection that Merton put together, and I guess I feel this work a little redundant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Curtis | 6/25/2011

    " This is fast becoming my favorite form of poetry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffin | 1/29/2011

    " Has authors comments along with the poetry and stories explaining them better. I really enjoyed the little stories and the poetry was easy to understand. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 1/15/2011

    " wow, is this audacious. not sure whether to love it or give mr. mitchell a hip check for trying to pull this off. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danijel | 8/3/2010

    " Str. 23: ..ko je um jasen, vse predstavlja priložnost za radost. Za to namrec gre pri razsodnosti.

    Str. 41: 'saj ni nic ne dobro ne slabo, takšno je šele z našim mišljenjem.'

    Str. 110- Opusti vse svoje predpostavke in svet bo postal povsem smiseln...
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Curtis | 6/23/2010

    " This is fast becoming my favorite form of poetry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 5/26/2010

    " the writing is beautiful. Stephen Mitchell offered further great insight into the "Tao" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 5/21/2010

    " I'm a little bit disappointed with this book. I've read several of Mitchell's translations, and think he's brilliant, but nothing here really sang to me. I have the Chuang Tzu collection that Merton put together, and I guess I feel this work a little redundant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 7/8/2009

    " I love this new version of the Tao...love it. I try to refer to a chapter daily. "

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About the Author
Author Stephen Mitchell

Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn in 1943, educated at Amherst, the Sorbonne, and Yale, and de-educated through intensive Zen practice. His many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, Gilgamesh, and The Second Book of the Tao, as well as The Gospel according to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, and Meetings with the Archangel.