The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is probably one of the best philosophical works I have read in my life so far. In this book, Hoff teaches us the way and importance of Tao by using examples from Winnie the Pooh, even having the title character and his friends by his writing desk to help him narrate his points. To Hoff, Pooh is the perfect example of someone who follows the way of Tao – an un-carved block, one who sees the reality in front of him, one who appreciates life as it is. Of course, if life is miserable then one doesn’t have to be happy about it, but viewing things by the Tao of Pooh certainly can help change perspectives when circumstances need a change.
Has this book converted me to Taoist philosophy? Kinda yeah! I don’t know that I could follow it wholly (I don’t think any philosophy can be followed to the letter) but there are certain aspects that definitely could improve my life. I will absolutely be reading the Tao Te Ching soon to learn more.
I am giving this book four stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, it has too many issues for me to have it be a five-star read. I felt that Hoff could have made more clear analyses when relating certain scenes from Winnie the Pooh to aspects of Tao. Often the scenes or references felt a bit random, needing analyses after the references rather than just before. And, while I thought that including Pooh himself as a character to speak with the narrator was clever and funny, I do sometimes think it strayed from the main topics at hand.
Overall, this was a delightful and informative book about Taoism, and it makes me fondly remember my childhood days reading Winnie the Pooh. I might even say that I get it now.
Did you ever imagine the ways in which time could be different? Did you ever imagine stepping through time to the past, future, or other version of time out of your wildest dreams? This book brings to life so many concepts of time, as I read them I felt like I was truly inside of Einstein’s dreams. While this book is a work entirely of fiction, one could imagine that these are what Einstein would have dreamt about as he came up with his theory of time. He imagines time standing still, time moving too quickly, time in the form of pictures, time slowing down the higher or the faster you go, time circular and time linear, the consequences of immortality on time, and several others that stir the imagination.
That is what I loved about this book: it stirs the imagination and makes the reader think of all the possibilities the universe could have. Now I must admit that this is the type of book that would mess me up: any philosophy on the nature of time, space, and/or existence makes me think of possibilities, and sometimes what is possible can, shall I say, break my mind.
One other thing I loved about this book is the imagery. Lightman describes Berne and the surrounding areas so well you can imagine being there and seeing the city as Einstein did. You can hear the sounds of the bustling city, see the glow of the sun on the peaks of the Alps, feel it a living, breathing place in time.
The only real criticism I have of this book is that I wish there were more chapters that talked about Einstein himself and his life. There were chapters like this which served as interludes between the dream chapters, but I would have liked to have had more, and perhaps with more speculative analysis of the dreams from Einstein’s character.
I would recommend this book to those who love philosophical science fiction, to lovers of Jules Verne novels, and those who want to experience a different time. I would definitely reread this book again.