Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guest Post: New Book on Taoism

New Book on Taoism
Around the Tao in 80 Days by Trey Smith & Alex Paul
Guest Post by Alex Paul

The Book
Around the Tao in 80 Days was a project that I initiated because I saw the value in Trey's simple take on the Tao Te Ching. I contacted him and offered to format the text and deal with the publisher, (in this case, "self-publishing" company Xlibris Publishing). He told me to go for it, so I went ahead and started putting the manuscript together. When it was finished, I sent it off to Xlibris who made an interior galley for me and Trey to approve. The cover image is a picture I took of some clouds here in Brandon, Manitoba. I used an oil paint effect on the image to make it look a little more interesting. Two test copies were made, and once those were approved, the book was officially put into print. You can try it out at Smashwords, or buy online it from, Powell's Books or Barnes & Noble.

The Alex
I've had an interest in Taoism and Zen Buddhism for two years now, and I've read a lot of texts on both. Eventually, once I knew quite a bit about what they were all about, I noticed something. There were parts of both 'doctrines' that I didn't agree with. Neither seemed to be an end-all dose of one hundred percent truth. So I came to realize that the truth is the truth, regardless of whoever popularized it. There are shreds of actual reality in both Taoism and Zen Buddhism, but neither are really fully perfect.

So what it's all lead me to is a balance between Theory and Practice. You can only spend so much time reading and thinking about everything. After a while it's useless, because reality can't be expressed by words, ideas or theories. We need to live Taoism, otherwise we have missed the point completely!

After a long time of reading, reflecting, theorizing, and wondering, only now am I really starting to live and see truth as it really is in everyday life. The message here I want to get across is that you have to find a good balance between thought and action, mind and body. Wisdom is both knowing and being.

Note from Trey
The text for the book is taken from the Tao Te Ching series on this blog. A few of the verses weren't developed very well by me and so Alex wrote the commentaries for those verses. I just figured that, since Alex did a good share of the work and he IS a writer, he should share the byline.


  1. Hey in my cultural boy we say, My Man! Getta it boy...great just did a whole lot for my inspiration of being writer...

  2. Congratulations on that.

    My only objection is that the price seems a bit too high. If you compare the prices of other Tao Te Ching translations and commentaries, that are also paperbacks and of a similar length, most are under 15 bucks and many are under ten.

    Maybe if I weren't dirt poor it wouldn't be an issue, but it's just too expensive, will have to stick to your free blogspot version.

    Best of luck anyways.

  3. I'll probably acquire this because I like to support publishing of things that are meaningful and interesting, but just curious:

    Why 80 days? I get the Jules Verne reference, but 81 is more ...appropriate and Chinese/mystical and it still would have referenced Verne. There's a reason there are 81 verses.

    Duibuqi. Danshi mei guanxi.

  4. Ta-Wan & Robert - Thanks for the kind words.

    Cym - I agree. The price seems quite high...particularly when you can read it for free here. The price is not in my nor Alex's hands -- We have no say.

    Why 80 days? Of course, it was a play on Verne. I thought it was a catchy title for one blog post and that introductory post launched the series, so it stuck.


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