The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Title: The Tao van Poeh
Author: Benjamin Hoff
Published: 2006 (originally  1982)
Language: Dutch (translated from English)
Translator: Hilde Bervoets
Pages: 168
Rating: 2/5
It has been a few months since I’ve read this book and it hasn’t really stayed with me. But when I read my goodreads update on the book, most of it came back to me. The Tao of Pooh (which I read in a Dutch translation) is a book that mixes fiction with non-fiction and argues that we should all learn from Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh because he is an excellent example of a Tao philosopher.

The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard – one that thinks too much.

What I liked about Hoff’s book is that he tries to explain Taoism with the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh. It’s creative and something new. I also liked the fact that Hoff made it into something of an essay mixed with fiction, imitating Milne in writing about Piglet and Pooh in Big Capital Letters.

Now, scholars can be very useful and necessary, in their own dull and unamusing way. They provide a lot of information. It’s just that there is Something More, and that Something More is what life is really all about.

However, I think the book may have been innovative in the 80s when it was published, but now it comes across at an average essay on why Taoism is how we should all Live and why Everything we have done up until now is pretty stupid and/or useless. Hoff is also very suspicious of science, which made me uncomfortable. I’m all for trying new things and yes, I need to step out of my comfort zone now and then, but you’ve got to make a compelling argument first. Two stars for the fictionalised part of the essay, but the rest of it is pretty pretentious … Wouldn’t recommend it.

Amber Linde


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