Synopses & Reviews
However varied in its attitudes and ideas, Chinese philosophy has typically centered on the concrete problems of human life, from the personal to the political, and is first and foremost a path to be followed. The Way of the World
is a wonderfully readable collection of writings that demonstrate the range of Taoist approaches to the practical dynamics involved in the relationship between the individual and society. The writingssome in prose and some in versefocus on self-cultivation, how to approach the problems of life, and how to acquire the skills necessary for leadership.
The material in this collection comes from a variety of sources and spans several time periods including some of the earliest texts. Highlights include selections from Guanzi (dated from 725–645 b.c.e.) on the mastery of the self as a prerequisite to leadership, a commentary on the maxims of Lao Tzu, and famous Taoist anecdotes.
The dynamic relationship between the individual and society has been a central concern of Taoism from its ancient beginnings—which is perhaps why certain Taoist classics, like Sun Tzus Art of War, are so often consulted these days for leadership advice. This anthology presents a wide range of texts revealing the processes of integrating personal spirituality with social responsibility central to Taoist tradition across the centuries and throughout the schools. There are a wealth of approaches to life in the world presented here, but at the heart of each is an understanding that even a mystic must be socially responsible and that self-cultivation is primary preparation for anyone called to lead.