Click below for the other "Living and Learning" posts.
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During the month of June I will be posting segments of The Emperor's Teacher (the big business book that will rock the world). Chapter two is called "Living and Learning," and forms (along with chapter one, "Breaking the Vessel") the first section of a three-part book.
If you have read The Art of War, you have arrived at the doorstep. Still, no one ever managed anything in China having just read Sunzi (Sun-tzu), but don't despair. You are now ready for what comes next in leadership. Compiled nine-hundred years ago, it is the greatest management book ever written, and there are only two problems: (1) it is in "medieval" Chinese; (2) it is 10,000 pages long. No worries, though. That's what I am here for. I have been studying this stuff for thirty years, and I have been waiting for you. Welcome. 歡迎.
Let's begin to study real Chinese management together.
|[a] Ways RL-|
|[b] Veins PD|
|[c] Incline RF|
Mountains, keys, golf swings, language facility—they all have their Ways to succeed...and fail.
|[e] Flyway RF|
If there is oneness—if there are lessons for living—in chopping up dead cows, we can be sure that it lies there waiting for our personal chiseling, crafting, and cutting as well. Every action has its way, as any Daoist could tell you, but it is only in action that it can be found. Once you "jot it down," it is something else. Once you try to make a lesson of it, it is lost. It is only real when it is in motion. The first line of the Daodejing (Classic of the Way and Virtue) states the case in memorable fashion: "The way that can be articulated is not the constant way"—道可道非常道也.
 Nine Heavens Palace Temple (九天宮), Mt. Hua (Shaanxi Province). Photo by Robert André LaFleur.
 This is probably the most agreed-upon version of the phrase. The beauty of classical Chinese (and especially Daoist writers) is that there are many ways to think about these matters. We spent two hours in a graduate seminar on Daoism one day discussing possible "readings" of the phrase above—with options that ranged from "standard" to outlandish.
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Doing nothing...yet nothing remains undone. What's that all about?