Book Report: The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

Book coverThis book was classed, apparently, as Humor, but in reality, it is a brief introduction to some of the concepts of Taoism through illustrations and excerpts from Winnie the Pooh books.

Clearly, it’s a Chinese conspiracy to trick our children into being Taoists.

So, basically, it introduces the concepts of P’u, the simple, uncarved block, which Pooh is (according to the book). His simplicity leads him to looking at things differently than the others and to finding solutions that the other, more clever (Rabbit) or wise (Owl) characters overlook. Then there’s Wu wei, the concept of not doing much or anything and letting the simple things and solutions in harmony with nature appear. And t’ai hsu, the great Nothing where you begin your journey and in which you will find most things.

Being as I’ve been steeped in the Existentialist writings recently, I must compare the two. Within Taoist thought, the Nothing doesn’t represent the same thing as in Existentialism, as at the core of humanity and nature there’s something, a harmony that you can discover if you’re quiet, simple, and still. So instead of inventing yourself, in Taoism, you find yourself. It’s a bit more pleasant of a thought. And the thing you find within yourself is not set, as you can alter who you are as long as you work with what it is. Very Eastern, of course.

It’s about 150 pages, but it has illustrations, quotes from Pooh books, and imagined conversations with Pooh characters, so it’s something you can read in a sitting or two. I think it took me between two and three hours.

So I think I have The Te of Piglet and perhaps even the Tao Te Ching around here somewhere. Perhaps I’ll pick them up soon.

Editing a different post from way back in the day, I’m reminded of the Tao Sharks gear I made:


Tao Sharks
Tao Sharks

Strangely enough, these did not prove as popular as the Project Manager Wall Clock.