The Path

The Path

What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

Book - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares the lessons from his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today.

& Taylor

A Harvard professor shares his popular course on classical Chinese philosophy to demonstrate how ancient, counterintuitive wisdom can offer guidance to a good life in the modern world.

Simon and Schuster
For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares the lessons from his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today.

The lessons taught by ancient Chinese philosophers surprisingly still apply, and they challenge our fundamental assumptions about how to lead a fulfilled, happy, and successful life. Self-discovery, it turns out, comes through looking outward, not inward. Power comes from holding back. Good relationships come from small gestures. Spontaneity comes from practice. And excellence comes from what you choose to do, not your “natural” abilities.

Counterintuitive. Countercultural. Even revolutionary. These powerful ideas have made Professor Michael Puett’s course the third most popular at Harvard University in recent years, with enrollment surging every year since it was first offered in 2006. It’s clear students are drawn by a bold promise Professor Puett makes on the first day of class: “These ideas will change your life.” Now he offers his course to the world.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2016
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476777832
Branch Call Number: 181.11 P9629p 2016
Characteristics: xvi, 204 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Gross-Loh, Christine


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Oct 13, 2016

Easy read, started out strong. Not a typical philosophical book, but not a great one either. It ties into daily life activities and decision making.

Oct 02, 2016

As the mother of a child with physical and learning disabilities, so much about "The Path" resonated with me. I learned early on that there's only so much you can plan for as life throws you curve balls. However, even with having an atypical parenting experience, it was easy to absorb mainstream American messages about authenticity and playing to your strengths without really stopping to question them. Like a kaleidoscope, this book shifted my perceptions enough for different patterns emerge. Is there a down side to always expressing exactly how you feel? What is the long-term effect of avoiding things you're not that good at? We've been conditioned to see "authenticity" as always focusing on expressing yourself and as an unqualified good. But as I've watched my daughter grow, I've begun to question a lot of parenting decisions that well-meaning people of my generation have made in reaction to the admittedly problematic parenting norms we grew up with. "The Path" shows us that it's not a choice between emotional repression vs. always saying exactly what you think, or between being a doormat vs. asserting yourself whenever you can. Similarly at work I've been successfully using the "as if" concept to interact with a difficult coworker in a way that nudges things in a positive direction. No big heart-to-heart, no writing someone off as hopeless - just changing what I do, despite how I feel, which in turn changes how the other person responds. This book shows that you can start off from a different set of assumptions and find yourself on a new path to destinations you hadn't ever imagined.

May 31, 2016

This one took a while--it's full of ideas about Western and Eastern philosophies and how we can live our best life. The authors' main assertion is that we, citizens of Western cultures, have taken only the very basics of Chinese philosophy and bent them to fit our Western mindset. The authors posit that if we truly follow the teachings of Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and others, our focus should be outward--thinking of others and working to create the life and society that we want. The authors believe that because our world is forever changing, there is no such thing as fate or free will--with each decision we make, from what to eat, to thanking others, to our choice of a life partner, we live in an ever-changing world. Sometimes things seem to have played out well and sometimes not--but our lives are influenced by a mixture of our actions and the actions of others, as well as other external influences. If we want to learn new skills and live different lives, those possibilities are within our grasp, as long as we remain open to possibility and change.


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Feb 20, 2017

We have broken from the natural world and seek to control and dominate it, but people in the traditional world tried to live in accordance with the patterns of nature.


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