2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism (Paperback)
I have been studying taoism for about 2 1/2 years now, and while I'm no expert, there was plenty I disagreed with in this book. I felt that the authors were incorrect (at least in their explanations) about some of the key points of taoist philosophy, and one of the authors gives his own translation of the first verse of the Tao Te Ching which I also found to be off-base. The back cover also promises "in-depth" information on tai chi and the I Ching, yet the book actually only gives brief information on these subjects -- in fact, INSIDE the book it says "Here's a brief overview" -- no in-depth information. To make matters worse, the section on the I Ching contrasts the methods of eastern divination versus western divination, but the example it gives of a question in eastern divination is INCOMPATIBLE with the I Ching, suggesting an infamiliarity with it.
While the back cover was probably written by the publisher and not the authors (it even mentions "ying-yang" instead of the correct "yin-yang"), the material inside the book is what counts. But because of the faults I mentioned with the material inside, I found myself taking everything else I read in the book with a grain of salt because I was unsure of its accuracy. And while it does provide some information on the history of taoism, chinese dynasties, and taoist religion, I'm concerned that this book would mislead those new to taoism.
If you are new to taoism and would like to learn more, I recommend picking up a good translation of the Tao Te Ching and starting there. "Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Translation" by Jonathan Star is my personal favorite translation because it includes a verbatim, word-for-word translation of the text. Also recommended is the translation by Brian Browne Walker.