Confucius in 90 Minutes

November 11, 2008

A few weeks ago, I decided to drive up to Seattle for an overnight visit to the UW. How to make the drive go quicker? Books on CD from the local library, starting with Confucius in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern. A colleague of mine has devoted years to studying Confucian philosophy so perhaps I could learn something?

Unfortunately, no. There was very little to be had and even less that could be taken seriously. I should have paid more attention to the words on the cover. Confucius’ teachings are described there as “quaint humanistic platitudes, maxims, and quasi-enigmatic anecdotes.” The sole testimonial, which comes from the Wall Street Journal, lauds the book as “witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise.”

Anyone seeking illumination should look elsewhere.

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