"Written in China centuries before Christ, the Tao Te Ching offers incredible insight into the human condition. Originally the work of Lao Tsu, this text has been translated more frequently than any other work except the Bible. "
His words have been preserved for thousands of years, and for good reason. They are light and dense at the same time, and reward carefule reading and thought.
An example from Chapter 36:
That which shrinks must first expand.
That which fails must first be strong.
That which is cast down must first be raised.
Before receiving there must be giving.
This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.
Fish cannot leave deep waters, and a country's weapons should not be displayed.
Read more, and search the full text, at Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching Online.
If you like this you may also like Sun Tzu.
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Having read many different translations of the Tao Te Ching (about 8 of them). One of my favourite ones is this.
It transfers the meaning as closely as possible to the original, while removing many of the cumbursome idiomatic expressions borne solely out of language peculiarities.
Not only is it a very good translation, it's also in the public domain!
I'm actually in the process of typsetting it into a format convenient for printing at home, and then making into a pocket-sized booklet that I can carry around with me.
When I'm done I'll share the PDF under a CC license.
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