The Path: A New Way to Think About Everything

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9780241970423: The Path: A New Way to Think About Everything
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The Sunday Times Top 10 and International Bestseller:
Ancient Chinese philosophy for modern life from Harvard's most popular professor

The first book of its kind, The Path offers a profound guide to living well through making small changes to our everyday routines. Covering subjects from decision-making to relationships, it shows how actions from greeting others and playing with children to running meetings can be opportunities to become happier and more productive.

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 to our family, can start to have powerful effects that will open up constellations of new possibilities.

Professor Michael Puett's course in Chinese philosophy has taken Harvard by storm. In The Path, he and journalist Christine Gross-Loh make this timeless wisdom accessible to everyone for the first time.

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Review:

I couldn't wait for this. Brilliant. This is where it's at now . . . so fascinating (Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2)

I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading The Path, from my youngest son to the future President of the USA. It's accessible, realistic and far from being an ordinary self-help book. It gives immediate reassurance that this chaotic life can be mastered and it challenges you to strive for better (Patrick Neale Bookseller)

Very good. Based on Puett's popular class at Harvard, it's a great introduction to Eastern philosophy, which I always chide myself for not studying enough (Ryan Holiday)

The Path is very interesting . . . makes you want to read further (Nigel Warburton)

The Path is in part a pleasing debunking of fashionable self-help disciplines . . . I can testify that Puett is one of the nicest people - if not the nicest person - I have ever interviewed: attentive, generous and patient (Tim Dowling Guardian)

I have been talking about it to everyone. It's brilliant, mesmerizing, profound - and deeply contrarian. It points the way to a life of genuine fulfillment and meaning (Amy Chua, author of 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother')

Can you turn a Chinese theory class into a smart self-help book? US academic Michael Puett did. Puett's book encourages us to chuck away our stiff, encrusted western notions, and to adopt a more fluid, less didactic approach to life. The Path is not your classic self-help book, and not just because it dismantles the self. It doesn't serve up an easy set of how-to activities ... you are also advised that any changes you make will be slow, incremental, the result of constant daily work ... To talk to Puett is to view our western tradition through an entirely different lens (Sunday Times)

I couldn't wait for this. Brilliant. This is where it's at now ... so fascinating (Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2)

A new book from a cult Harvard professor turns contemporary thinking around happiness on its head...There can't be many cult professors. Especially ones that lecture Chinese philosophy to undergraduates. But Professor Michael Puett of Harvard is one of them. Via word of mouth, his courses became full. And now he's written a book, with co-author and journalist Christine Gross-Loh, based on his course. The Path looks at the teachings of ancient Chinese philosophers and explains how we can apply these largely forgotten teachings to our everyday lives. Granted, it sounds like a tough read. It sounds specialist and niche and intimidating. It sounds all of those things. But it is none of those things. It's a big ask in under 200 pages. But there's something wonderfully simple and refreshing about the ideas. There is a simplicity to this book: all we have is ourselves, let's try and make things better (Marisa Bate The Pool)

His course has become the most popular on campus, even with those studying other subjects, and that's because he talks about how to have a good life, and using ancient Chinese philosophy challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish in life (Sarah Montague Today programme)

From the Author:

Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. He is the recipient of a Harvard College Professorship for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China, as well as the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller, and Bennett Simon, of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity.

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