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  • Published: 18 February 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141984834
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $22.99

Chinese Thought

From Confucius to Cook Ding




An engrossing history of Chinese philosophy and culture from an eminent Cambridge professor

How did the ancient Chinese think about the world? What does environmental consciousness stand for in the Chinese tradition? Where does China's obsession with education come from?

We are often told that the twenty-first century is bound to become China's century. Never before has Chinese culture been so physically, digitally, economically or aesthetically present in everyday life in the Western world. But how much do we really know about its origins and key beliefs, especially compared to the many histories of Western philosophy?

In this enlightening book, Roel Sterckx, one of the foremost experts in Chinese thought, takes us through centuries of Chinese history, from Confucius to Daoism to the Legalists. With evocative examples from philosophy, literature and everyday life, he shows us how the ancient Chinese have shaped the thinking of a civilization that is now influencing our own.

  • Published: 18 February 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141984834
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $22.99

Praise for Chinese Thought

A terrific book, rich and endlessly thought provoking. Roel Sterckx is a delightfully engaging and informed travelling companion who gives us a wonderful overview of Chinese thought. If you are looking for one book to understand the core ideas of Chinese civilisation, read this

Michael Wood, author of The Story of China

We have been waiting for this book for too long. For centuries, the real China has been locked in a distant castle by both the western media and Chinese propaganda. If you are curious about the origin of China's yin and yang, if you want to know more about the roots of Chinese philosophy, if you want to know how to do business with the Chinese, if you want to gain insight into Chinese art, or even if you want to understand the mentality of Chinese people, this book will answer these questions for you. Roel Sterckx's book can be the key to opening that Chinese castle's gate, and help you to understand how Chinese life has taken shape from Confucius to the food menus of today

Xinran Xue, author of Sky Burial, The Good Women of China, and China Witness

An outstanding introduction to the world of thought in classical China. Engagingly written and beautifully argued. . . an invaluable work for anyone interested in exploring the key ideas and concerns that have animated so much of Chinese civilization

Michael Puett, author of The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

An indispensable read for those keen to understand China past and present. Sterckx's journey through the complex world of Chinese thinking is thorough, clear, accessible, articulate and fascinating. I will be recommending this book to my students, colleagues and friends alike

Michael Scott, author of Ancient Worlds

Ever wondered why Chinese have valued ritual more than law, harmony more than personal accomplishment? In this engagingly-written book, Roel Sterckx makes these and other central elements in Chinese thought easy to understand and interesting to think about

Patricia B. Ebrey, professor of history, University of Washington

At a time in current affairs when understanding China and the Chinese mindset has become imperative, Chinese Thought brilliantly shows us the origin of that country's thinking

Alexander Watson, BBC: History Magazine Books of the Year

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