Taoism For Dummies (For Dummies (Religion & Spirituality))

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The definitive guide to understanding Taoism—no matter your background or faith

Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching is the second most translated book in the world, and the practice of religious Taoism is on the rise in China, where adherents currently number in the hundreds of millions. Yet there remains a remarkable lack of reliable information about Taoism for curious westerners. Taoism For Dummies provides comprehensive coverage of Taoism's origins in China's Chou Dynasty, its underlying quietist principles, its emergence as a major religion, various interpretation of its core texts, including both Eastern and Western interpretations, key Taoist concepts, and much more. It also provides a fascinating glimpse of Taoism in contemporary China.The ideal guide for readers interested in this influential religion, as well as those taking an introductory course on Taoism or Chinese ReligionA valuable source of insight for those with an interest in modern Chinese culture and beliefs

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (June 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118423968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118423967
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

Single best resource on the religion as it really is, not what the West would like it to be

 on September 10, 2017
By Natalie Sudborough Martinez
Excellent tool for teaching Daoism to my World Religions students. Great balance of Chinese contemporary practices with Western iterations of the religion. Combined with Prothero’s God is Not One, you could pretty much get a handle on this complex religious landscape. Only complaint I have: author takes the Western-centric position that even if the Chinese are confident that Laozi existed, that the Chinese rubric for historical substantiation is bunk. He never existed as far as this, and many Western academics are concerned. We white folk love to think we are smarter than our ancestors (e.g. claiming Shakespeare didn’t exist) and definitely smarter than the ancestors of Persons of Color (e.g. Laozi and Zhuangzi never existed).

Informative, easy to read

10 people found this helpful.
 on September 21, 2013
By Ed Van Herik
If you’re interested in Taoism but don’t know a lot, then this book is for you. It is comprehensive and easy to read, filled with information about Taoism developments, beliefs and practices. Taoism for Dummies gives an engaging account of the beginnings and growth of Taoism, which is much richer than a simple reading of the Tao de Ching led me to believe it would be. If you want to broaden your knowledge about Taoism, I wholeheartedly recommend Taoism for Dummies.

It’s alot less about how to practice taoism and more …

2 people found this helpful.
 on March 10, 2017
By maxwell
It’s alot less about how to practice taoism and more so the history. I kind of wanted more about the practice but surprisingly found the history part interesting.

stimulating but still confused

2 people found this helpful.
 on June 11, 2014
By David Dellman
the book is great .. I’m highlighting and making notes in the margins .. it gives a great overview of the historical evolution of Taoist thought and it tries very hard to explain Taoism for dummies like me. The author is entertaining. I love his sidebars and pop culture anecdotes. I’m from a western Christian world view with some new age influences tossed in. it is interested to see the actual roots from which the new age plucked ideologies and ideas. I certainly have a new appreciation for Taoism but to say that “I get it” maybe not. Does anybody?

One of the better books despite the authors lack of insight.

5 people found this helpful.
 on November 3, 2014
By swati_91
One of the better survey books on Taoism, even if the authors understanding of the subject is a little lacking and often a bit demeaning. For those who would want to know, “Tao” is a descriptive word, it means the way something works or the way from one place to another. Its a practical term and VERY scientific term and thats the approach Taoism takes towards spirituality, what is the nature of reality and how do we harmonize with it. Not some wishy washy kind of New Age term that really means nothing. But, like I said this is still one of the better books on the overall survey of Taoism in the English language and there needs to be more like it.


3 people found this helpful.
 on September 24, 2013
By Janna G
Pretty heavy on philosophy for a book intended for general audiences. I wouldn’t read this book alone if seeking more info on taoism or other eastern religions. Very good for understanding context of said religions.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on July 29, 2016
By nick draper
I am happy I got this book! You will be as well.

Serious fun for seekers, students, and others

6 people found this helpful.
 on May 13, 2014
By Eleanor DeBacher
Jonathan Herman combines scholarship and humor in writing about this important Chinese religious tradition. The reader can expect to find not only a meticulous historical account of Taoism in China, but also resources for American students of Taoism and nuggets of wisdom for life, seasoned with abundant opportunities for enjoyment. More than simply an introduction, Taoism for Dummies is an excellent reference volume for readers interested in expanding their understanding of world religions.


 on August 4, 2016
By Amazon Customer
This whole series is amazingly helpful as an over view of the subject.

easy to read

One person found this helpful.
 on June 26, 2015
By dbgb04
Very informative, enlightening, easy to read.

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