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For the first time, an award-winning Harvard professor shares his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how ancient ideas—like the fallacy of the authentic self—can guide you on the path to a good life today. Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard? Because it challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish. Astonishing teachings emerged two thousand years ago through the work of a succession of Chinese scholars exploring how humans can improve themselves and their society. And what are these counterintuitive ideas? Transformation comes not from looking within for a true self, but from creating conditions that produce new possibilities. Good relationships come not from being sincere and authentic, but from the rituals we perform within them. A good life emerges not from planning it out, but through training ourselves to respond well to small moments. Influence comes not from wielding power but from holding back. Excellence comes from what we choose to do, not our natural abilities. In other words, The Path “opens the mind” (Huffington Post) and upends everything we are told about how to lead a good life. Its most radical idea is that there is no path to follow in the first place—just a journey we create anew at every moment by seeing and doing things differently. “With its…spirited, convincing vision, revolutionary new insights can be gleaned from this book on how to approach life’s multifarious situations with both heart and head” (Kirkus Reviews). A note from the publisher: To read relevant passages from the original works of Chinese philosophy, see our ebook Confucius, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi: Selected Passages, available wherever books are sold.
For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares the lessons from his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today. The lessons taught by ancient Chinese philosophers surprisingly still apply, and they challenge our fundamental assumptions about how to lead a fulfilled, happy, and successful life. Self-discovery, it turns out, comes through looking outward, not inward. Power comes from holding back. Good relationships come from small gestures. Spontaneity comes from practice. And excellence comes from what you choose to do, not your “natural” abilities. Counterintuitive. Countercultural. Even revolutionary. These powerful ideas have made Professor Michael Puett's course the third most popular at Harvard University in recent years, with enrollment surging every year since it was first offered in 2006. It's clear students are drawn by a bold promise Professor Puett makes on the first day of class: “These ideas will change your life.” Now he offers his course to the world.
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER Harvard's most popular professor explains how thinkers from Confucius to Zhuangzi can transform our lives The first book of its kind, The Path draws on the work of the great but largely unknown Chinese philosophers to offer a profound guide to living well. By explaining what these teachings reveal about subjects from decision-making to relationships, it challenges some of our deepest held assumptions, forcing us to "unlearn" many ideas that inform modern society. The way we think we're living our lives isn't the way we live them. 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 with 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 collaborates with journalist and author Christine Gross-Loh to make this timeless wisdom accessible to everyone for the very first time.
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