81 Chapter Translations & Interpretations

Translation Reviews

Although the original scriptures are contributed to Lao Tzu, the following authors have offered varied translations and interpretations. We hope you will support the following authors who have spent thousands of hours working with the original text by purchasing your own copy of the book. Here are some of the best translations of the Tao Te Ching that we find particularly well done…

Author: Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching: A New English Version: A New English Version (Perennial Classics)

Although a controversial translation due to it being very Westerner Friendly, we enjoy the style and flow of this bestselling translation as well as the extended explanations to help our understanding.

Stephen Mitchell’s rendition of the Tao Te Ching comes as close to being definitive for our times as any I can imagine. It embodies the virtues its translator credits to the Chinese original: a gemlike lucidity that is radiant with humor, grace, large-heartedness, and deep wisdom.” — Huston Smith

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Stephen Mitchell’s acclaimed translation of this age-old text has sold more than half a million copies worldwide. His original release with the same text can be found here.

Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey

This version is illustrated with Chinese paintings selected by Asian art expert Dr. Stephen Little. Each brushstroke is painted with precision, just as each word of Mitchell’s translation speaks with unmatched flow. The natural depiction of plants, animals, and birds expresses harmony with nature, the principal teaching of the Tao; the mountainous landscapes are the heavenly home of the Tao.

This inspired translation, combined with the best images in Chinese art, will ensure that the Tao Te Ching continues to exert a profound influence into the next century.

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Authors: Sam Torode and Dwight Goddard

Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu

The simplicity and quiescent pages of this version make it a good gift. Broken up into 81 ‘chapters’  or short poems, every other sentence is a memorable quote, and one can read it in an hour and study it for a lifetime. We like the appropriate titles that are included. This is our favorite lightweight travel edition.

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Author: Wayne Dyer

Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao (8 CD Set)

Although this is an Audio CD set, it may be the best spoken version and explanations for integrating into your life.

Each chapter is designed for actually living the Tao or the Great Way today. Some of the chapter titles are “Living with Flexibility,” “Living Without Enemies,” and “Living by Letting Go.” Each of the 81 brief chapters focuses on living the Tao and concludes with a section called “Doing the Tao Now.”

Read more about the Audio Books Here.

You can listen to this wonderful sounding audio version:

Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life
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You can also order from Amazon:
Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, 8-CD set: Living the Wisdom of the Tao


Authors: Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

Tao Te Ching, 25th-Anniversary Edition by Lao Tsu

A very popular version with beautiful tones in black and white.

We like how one reviewer states how they have carefully chosen a simple, accessible style which completely captures the nature of the Tao. “What is a good man? A teacher of a bad man. What is a bad man? A good man’s charge.”



“No one has done better in conveying Lao Tsu’s simple and laconic style of writing, so as to produce an English version almost as suggestive of the many meanings intended.” — Alan Watts

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Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way

We highly enjoyed reading a more feminine translation from acclaimed author and poet Ursula K. Le Guin has attempted a nonliteral, poetic rendition of the Tao Te Ching. She brings to it a punctuated grace that can only have been hammered out during long trials of wordsmithing. The wisdom that she finds in the Tao Te Ching is primal, and her spare, undulating phrases speak volumes.

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Author: Jonathan Star

Tao Te Ching: The New Translation from Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition

A close second for our favorite travel editions. From and Amazon Reviewer, “As someone who is new to Eastern philosophy, this book is an accessible, and poetic take on the Tao Te Ching. I’ve compared to other editions and the translations vary tremendously not just in style but in use of metaphor, word choice, and cadence. With an ancient text written in a non-western tongue, it’s difficult for a neophyte to know if you’re getting the straight dope.”


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Author: Victor H. Mair

Tao Te Ching from the Ma-wang-tui manuscripts

Illustrated with ten woodcuts, this new, landmark translation is one of the most popular works of world literature. This edition of the Tao Te Ching is based on the newly discovered Ma-wang-tui manuscripts.

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Authors: Stephen Addiss, Stanley Lombardo and Burton Watson

Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu

In what may be the most faithful translation of the Tao Te Ching, the translators have captured the terse, enigmatic beauty of the original masterpiece without embellishing it with personal interpretation or bogging it down with explanatory notes. By stepping out of the way and letting the original text speak for itself, they deliver a powerfully direct experience of the Tao Te Ching that is a joy to come back to again and again.

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Author: Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh

Our favorite for children and adults alike. Benjamin Hoff says the 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.

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