“The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff is lightweight philosophy where the most complex ideals are explained through Winnie the Pooh. It was a really fun read that brought up some interesting points and did a pretty good job of educating the reader on the basics of Taoism.
The big push in “The Tao of Pooh” is that everything has its own way of doing things and fighting against that just causes upset. “The more forcing, the more trouble. Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour.” (The Tao of Pooh, pg 4). It is such a simple idea, and it makes so much sense. There have been countless occasions where I find myself frustrated when something is not going the way that I expect it to and most of the time, it is because I am trying to force something to happen in a way that doesn’t make sense. I do think backwards a lot, and my main takeaway from this book was that fighting against the natural order of things is often what causes the upset.
I liked the way that Hoff used the different characters in Winnie the Pooh to explain different philosophical ideas. Winnie the Pooh is the perfect example of someone that doesn’t overthink things, that just allows things to happen as they will, and doesn’t try to force anything. “The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard – one that thinks too much. The animals in the Forest don’t think too much; they just Are.” The Tao of Pooh, pg 77).
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, it is a short read and it really made me think. It is so easy to get caught up in all the stupid little things in life. Reading “The Tao of Pooh” made me realize the quickest way to cause stress and unhappiness is to fight the natural order of things. The examples of the various kinds of people compared with the various animals in the forest helped me to understand just how differently people think. I think reading any book which causes you to ask questions and helps explain the way different people function is worthwhile. I’d definitely pick up more of Benjamin Hoff’s work.