Reviewed by Femflection
Harvard’s most popular professor explains how thinkers from Confucius to Zhuangzi can transform our lives
Professor Michael Puett’s course in Chinese philosophy has taken Harvard by storm. In The Path, he collaborates with journalist and author Christine Gross-Loh to make this timeless wisdom accessible to everyone for the very first time.
The ideas developed by Chinese philosophers are among the most influential in history – but the majority remain unknown by Western people.
Those “Chinese philosophers who lived over two thousand years ago” do offer interesting alternatives to some of our modern ideas of self and society.
The Path is a great introduction to the Chinese Philosophers that have shaped many of our views of the world and life today.
Whilst this may sound like a rather dry or academic subject matter, The Path is in fact a very accessible and easy read which both informs and inspires your understanding of why we are here and how we can be the masters of our own destiny.
Stripping away the clichés of ‘exotic’ and mystical Eastern thought, Puett will explore the real and practical implications of Chinese philosophy – and explain how an appreciation of its ways of thinking can bring about a positive change in all of our lives, from improving our moods to helping us set our life goals. The book will challenge your preconceptions, and open your mind to a new way to think about everything.
It challenges some of our deepest held assumptions, forcing us to “unlearn” many ideas that inform modern society. The way we think we’re living our lives isn’t the way we live them.
The authors show that we live well not by “finding” ourselves and slavishly following a grand plan, as so much of Western thought would have us believe, but rather through a path of self-cultivation and engagement with the world. Believing in a “true self” only restricts what we can become – and tiny changes, from how we think about careers to how we talk with our family, can start to have powerful effects that will open up constellations of new possibilities.
It’s a very accessible and inspiring piece of work, although not one that offers any easy answers and, as such, its contents are unlikely to feature in motivational Facebook memes any time soon.
If your interested in finding out about Confucius, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi and Xunzi, or more simply put; relationships, decisions, influence, vitality, spontaneity, humanity or the age of possibility then this is a great book to start with.
Anyone willing to put the work in, however, might find that this book really can change your life.
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