The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

A simple and an enjoyable introduction to Taoism.


Through the lens of Winnie the Pooh, author Benjamin Hoff, explains the basic tenets of Taoism in a very simplistic manner.

Taoist teachings is about achieving harmony with life’s circumstances, and this may change what is perceived as negative into something positive. In contrast to Confucianist, which considers life as a struggle and one must follow rules to be one with heaven, and Buddhist, which considers life as bitter and the only way to salvation is through renunciation of the world. Hoff uses characters from the book to demonstrate the basic ideas of Taoism and how it is different from these two philosophies.

It is a very individual driven philosophy, wherein one must look inward and understand themselves. The more we know our inner nature, the easier it will be to realise our potential and to accept our limitations. Struggling against the natural order, over-complicating and over-thinking only creates doubt and confusion. One must be open to new experiences without judgement and enjoy the process without worrying about the goal.

While a lot of these sound familiar, even Socrates famously said, “know thyself”,  the true test lies in practice. The simplest things are always the hardest to achieve. Nevertheless, it is a gentle reminder to a way of living and an idea that only gets better with practice.

It’s a good read for Winnie the Pooh fans as well as for those who would like to learn about Taoism.


Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Dutton Books

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