The Tao of Pooh
By Benjamin Hoff
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Penguin Books 1982

TheTao of Pooh? “While Eeyore frets, and Piglet hesitates, and Rabbit calculates, and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is. And that’s a clue to the secret wisdom of the Taoists.”

Courageous and often times odd (in a good way), this mashup of thousands of years of scholarly writing and the beloved stories of our friends in the Hundred Acre Wood captures philosophical and metaphysical concepts exemplified within the well known characters of the Winnie The Pooh books. With each retelling of favorite moments, like when Pooh, Piglet and Rabbit became lost in a sandpit in the forest or when Christopher Robin and Pooh rescued Piglet during a flood while floating in an overturned umbrella; the author brings forward Chinese scholarly works and ancient stories that resonate with the same wise lessons. Essentially, if you just reread all of the Winnie The Pooh books by A.A. Milne, you can pretty much earn a degree in Taoist philosophy.

Alternatively, you only have to read this one book to understand the way to serene happiness is the Chinese principle of Wei Wu: To do without doing. This means to live without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort. If we can learn to work with our own true inner nature and also with the natural laws operating around us, then we can live lives of minimal effort and maximum contentment.

“The Way of Self-Reliance starts with recognizing who we are, what we’ve got to work with, and what works best for us.”

 Benjamin Hoff is an Oregon writer and author of The Tao of Pooh, The Te of Piglet, and The Singing Creek Where The Willows Grow: The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whitely.

Special acknowledgement is given for the generosity of The Trustees of the Pooh Properties for the use of illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard and quotations of text excerpts by A.A. Milne.

Book review by
Michelle Quiogue, MD FAAAFP
SCPMG Physician Wellness Bookclub