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The Tao of Pooh

Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 2 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
4.7 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)

Non-member price: $20.49

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Personal Development, 2013

Author Benjamin Hoff shows that the philosophy of Winnie-the-Pooh is amazingly consistent with the principles of Taoism and demonstrates how you can use these principles in your daily life.

Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.

While Eeyore frets and Piglet hesitates and Rabbit calculates and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is. And that's the clue to the secret wisdom of the Taoists.

The Tao of Pooh is an international bestseller and the first Taoist-authored book in history to appear on bestseller lists, it remained on The New York Times’ bestseller list for 49 weeks.

©1982 Benjamin Hoff (P)2012 Tantor

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What listeners say about The Tao of Pooh

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An incredibly beautiful book. Wish it was longer.

Loved this book so much. I can't believe I haven't heard of Benjamin Hoff before, now I will search for more of his stuff, it really is first class.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

I feel like my eyes and mind have been opened, what a refreshing way to see things!

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Definitely on my favourites list

A delightful and insightful tale. Beautifully narrated. Full of wisdom. To be listened to over and over.

1 person found this helpful

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Highly Recommended

I was gifted this book as a paperback many eons ago. It changes you profoundly. I gifted it on, as this book called to do. Now having this book in audio the gifting of it is in my review. If this book doesn't change something in you then you are already there and it will be meaningless. If you are already there you would no longer be, so would not be reading these words. Beautifully read by Simon Vance.

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Fabulous and Inspiring

Such a great listen, I laughed, smiled, relaxed and felt life get lighter listening to this wonderful book.

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Best Personal Decelopement book ever

Simple and yet very deep. I have just finished listening to it and I’ll buy the physical one now as it is so full of pure knowledge and so much wisdom. A must listen to

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Very enlightening book

It opened my mind and reminded of the things that are through the mind of a child, which is rare for we forget sometimes the simple things in life are sometimes the most important. It's best to look back now and then to remember. Thank you

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Simply wonderful!

A great book for anyone who has a fondness for winnie the pooh, and or would like a basic overview of what Taoism is about. If you have had enough of being a "bisy backson" and are looking for a different approach, give this book a listen.

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Simply brilliant

A refreshing and humorous reminder of why I should be like a bear of little brain.

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Wonderful introduction to Tao philosophy

The Tao of Pooh is beautiful storytelling. The narration is engaging and the concepts are very thought provoking.

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  • Robert
  • 09-01-2014

Wonderful

This is a wonderful little book. I have a hard copy but with Simon Vance doing the narrating and being on sale, I could not resist the audio version. This may not be a book for everyone. Taoism is probably a rather arcane subject for the uninitiated. For those who have delved its depths or even those who have not but have an interest in the subject, this is a great little primer. The book is simple and deep at the same time (yin and yang). It is both serious and humorous. The narration is impeccable.

If you are interested in further reading on the subject, for the original Tao Te Ching, I would highly recommend the translation by Stephen Mitchell who is also the narrator and available on Audible.

104 people found this helpful

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  • A. Yoshida
  • 25-02-2018

Learning Taoism through storytelling

This book is simple but deep at the same time. There is a Chinese saying "One disease, long life. No disease, short life." Those who know what's wrong with them and take care of themselves will live a longer life than those who think they are perfectly healthy and neglect the things around them. A weakness can do you a favor if you acknowledge it's there and work with it. Therefore, a weakness can be a strength. There are many little nuggets like this in the book. The familiar stories of Winnie-the-Pooh are delightful analogies for illustrating some of the principles of Taoism. It's an easy introduction to Taoism through storytelling.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Gavin
  • 13-08-2012

Simply Pooh

Would you listen to The Tao of Pooh again? Why?

Yes. It makes your realise that life is a lot less complicated then we are lead to think.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Simplicity

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

His understanding of the message the writer was putting across.

Any additional comments?

When I read this many years ago it changed something inside me. I have recommended it to many over the years. Re-visiting this book, while not with the original spark, was a wonderful and necessary part of my journey. Anyone who is drawn to self exploration and growth needs to read this.

44 people found this helpful

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  • S. Harris
  • 23-07-2012

A True Must Read

What did you love best about The Tao of Pooh?

It's so simple and easy to follow.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It's easy to relate to my own life and life experiences.

Which scene was your favorite?

The owl not being able to solve a problem that Piglet was able to solve.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Great narrator - made the experience truly engaging.

28 people found this helpful

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  • AnAppleForEden
  • 28-06-2013

A fun way to learn about taoism

I first heard of this book from my brother and was instantly intrigued years ago. When I saw it on audible I decided to try it.

I am very open to learning about different philosophies and religions and the tao of pooh was a very clever and interesting twist to doing so.

Since I didn't know anything about taosim prior to reading this I couldn't say if Hoff's explanations of taoist concepts were spot on, but from what it seems like, the Pooh stories were the perfect analogy for it.

I would recommend this to a friend.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Optimize the Balance
  • 15-02-2012

For the whole Family

Where does The Tao of Pooh rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

My 2-1/2 year old requested the Tao of Pooh when we got in the car the other day.

What did you like best about this story?

Relevance to my life.

Which scene was your favorite?

The vinegar tasters is my favorite part of this book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

something derived from the 3rd vinegar taster

Any additional comments?

When is the Te of Piglet coming to audio? This is a standard book I keep on my phone. I plan to listen to it once a year.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 09-03-2014

Wisdom in a bear of very little brain

In this short book, Pooh, The Uncarved Block, illustrates the wisdom of Taoist teachings. While other characters in the Hundred Acre Wood cling to faulty knowledge or pursue goals of little value, the simple, humble Pooh goes with the flow and finds contentment. Rather than pompously search his mind for answers, like Owl, or try to seize control of the situation, like Rabbit, or fail to account for his limitations, like Tigger, Pooh just exists in the moment he’s in and lets the answers come to him. Thus, he exemplifies the concept of pu, living life open to experience, while not being burdened by unnecessary abstractions or desires.

Benjamin Hoff writes in whimsical way, imagining himself having conversations with Pooh, Piglet, and others as he works on his manuscript, Pooh characteristically preferring to talk about things that are of direct interest to Pooh, such as honey. Hoff seems to assume that the reader remembers more of the plot points and humor of A.A. Milne’s classic children’s stories than I actually did, but I was able to get by well enough.

All in all, it’s a short but instructive introduction to Taoist thinking. Hoff quotes philosopher Laozi, who might sum it up best himself: “to attain knowledge, add something every day. To attain wisdom, subtract something every day.” Does all the clutter we fill our minds with help us? Or get in the way of experiencing what’s real? Always a worthwhile question.

Audiobook narrator Simon Vance does a decent job, but I wish he’d given a little more character to the voices.

29 people found this helpful

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  • QtPi
  • 05-04-2016

The Everything-Else-Is-Bad-For-You of Pooh

Perhaps if the author hadn't taken a no-holds-barred offensive stance against everything apart from Taoism, or if he hadn't torn the characters apart to get them to fit around the characters he needed them to be to get his point across, I might have thought his words were more worthwhile. But as far as this book is concerned, everything except Taoism is the root of all evil in the world and must be stopped with the principles and application of Taoism, and the beloved characters from Winnie the Pooh were left as casualties in the aftermath.

Learning about Taoism was interesting, and the use of Winnie the Pooh in orchestrating that was creative (hence the two stars instead of one), but the entire book was riddled with accusations about every other mode of thought being unambiguously inferior to Taoism without even the consideration to say that there are benefits to them. Near the end of the book, the author even has the gall to say that being clever or scholarly (as opposed to following the way of Tao) will bring about the end of the world and that whatever is left to the few people who survive won't be worth looking at; that is a bit of a paraphrase, but only a bit.

The book is aggressively against any sort of knowledge-gathering, any sort of self-advancing effort, and basically anything anti-Tao. This moral is expressed by manipulating the characters of Winnie the Pooh by stretching their characterizations out of shape. Poor Eeyore was changed into an aggressive, useless, self-aggrandizing monster for no reason than because he's usually a bit blue. And for being the characterizations of cleverness and scholarly knowledge-seeking, Rabbit and Owl are portrayed as hasty and useless respectively. And Pooh Bear is the Messiah and can do no wrong, even when he's being just as useless as anyone else. The original premise, that Pooh Bear epitomizes Taoist philosophy, may be correct and may be worthwhile, but the slaughter of the rest of the characters just so that they can suit the needs of an extended metaphor is a blatant misuse of them.

The last straw for me was when the author extolled the virtues of a man living over two centuries by following the path of Tao. A philosophy causing substantial enough life changes to prolong the life of someone to nearly twice was the oldest living person at present has lived? And his life is so much better than he can outrun young men? The author has no incredulity and, after that bit, I can't find it in myself to take anything he says seriously.

All in all, it was an interesting premise, but the application just didn't work for me.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 04-02-2012

I love this little book

What did you love best about The Tao of Pooh?

It points the way to understanding Tao wisdom in simple understandable language. The audio book replaced the tattered paper back copy that I read years ago and have kept in my library. It is a delighful little story that opened my eyes to how much we are manipulated and misdirected by pretense and nonsense. Take the journey and become more enlightened. Read and re-read this little gem and other Taoist works until what is written is clearly understood. Pooh will thank you for it.

What did you like best about this story?

Simplicity and clarity

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did just that.

Any additional comments?

A great audio production!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph W. Carpenter
  • 03-08-2018

The book which saved my daughter's life

This book was recommended to my daughter by her math teacher. This recommendation came at a time in her life when she had just been diagnosed with an incurable illness. The Tao messages of living life with Acceptance and Flow came to her at a time when her own body had betrayed her, and she really needed to let go of things that she cannot control. In our household we refer to this as the book that saved her life. The principles contained in the book continue to guide her journey, in good times and especially in bad times. Considering the impact the book had on her, it is a wonder that I had not read the whole thing until now. The book reads like a story, but includes information that you might find in a textbook about Eastern and Western philosophy. It was, I believe, the author's intent to make a small quiet observers of the conversation between himself and the characters from Winnie the Pooh. Daniel Hoff pulled it off masterfully, and at times I truly felt like I might have been in the room. Introducing philosophy in the context of a narrative is not new, but it is not always well done. In this example I believe it was well done. My first impression of Simon Vance when he was introducing the credits was that he was a little bit over the top, and maybe "too" precise to be real. But when he began to voice all the characters in the book, including the author/narrator's voice, all that apparent pretense fell away and it seemed appropriate to be slightly over the top when performing these timeless characters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-08-2014

The Tao of Pooh

A simple, but beautiful book, and beautifully narrated by Simon Vance. I enjoyed it as an adult, but this would also be suitable for children. This must become a timeless classic. It was a joy to listen to.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Eliza
  • 19-09-2016

Brilliant

Seriously, my new favorite book. I don't remember falling in love with a book this way in quite a while.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fin
  • 21-12-2019

I just couldn’t get into it.

I was excited to download the book as I’d heard good things about it. So put it on my phone and went to walk my dog. As the story went on it just felt like it was jumping all over the place. One minute one thing is being discussed, then without warning something else is. It frustrated me so I just turned it off and returned it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 13-04-2019

fabulous

An excellent way to deliver wisdom and insight into the Tao, thank you for a wonderful listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wai-Lee Ho
  • 27-10-2018

The tao of who?

Discovering tao in a wonderful reminiscent format. A fantastic read for westerners i terested in what the tao is/means.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Starlight 3
  • 22-10-2018

Lovely Book

Would highly recommend, it's a most delightful depiction of The Tao, The Way, through the eyes of Pooh Bear and Friend's. It's something to listen to time and again. Really lovely.

1 person found this helpful

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  • doll
  • 18-09-2018

Fabulous. Highly recommend.

A wonderful story wonderfully narrated. I will relisten to this as it has a wonderful message. Pooh is a very wise bear indeed

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mul
  • 03-02-2018

Find the Pooh in you

I have been reading Winne the Pooh to my daughter while also reading a lot of self development and philosophy books for myself lately. I could see the themes coming up in Winnie the Pooh and my daughter loves the stories - how happy Pooh is, how grumpy Eeyore is and angry Rabbit is and so on. This is a fantastic book to explain to us adults why we should be more like Pooh. Enjoy the simple things in life and you will love life like Pooh bear.

1 person found this helpful

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  • stephen burton
  • 16-09-2020

Be more like Pooh

This is brilliant and I’d say the best thing I’ve ever listened too. Inspirational genius.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-05-2020

Sweet yet relevant

this had been suggested by the Wudang Wellness Academy on the subject of daoism. very well performed and what fun to use Winnie the pooh as it's example. very good, will listen again in future