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The Analects

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  9,937 ratings  ·  323 reviews
This lively new translation with clear explanatory notes by one of the foremost scholars of classical Chinese provides the ideal introduction to the Analects for readers who have no previous knowledge of the Chinese language and philosophical traditions.

"How dare I claim to be a sage or a benevolent man?"

By constructing the philosophy expressed through The Analects, Confuc
...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 256 pages
Published December 20th 1979 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published -476)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric Kibler
Disappointing.

You know in all those Charlie Chan movies, where Charlie Chan would say, "Confucius say..." and follow with something brilliant? Well, Confucius never said all that shit.

Basically, he said, "Love learning, mourn your parents for three years, know the Odes, appreciate music, observe the proper rituals, honor what has come before, observe propriety, love doing a good job over getting a good salary, and love virtue more than beauty."

I mean, that's it. I summarized it for you.
Lawrence
In a class taught by General George S. Patton, IV at the George Washington University in the early 80's, reflecting on his experience in Vietnam, he summarized the failure of US policy in SE Asia as a failure to understand the history and culture of the region.

Years later as I prepared to deploy to Afghanistan it struck me that much of our formal education in my lifetime focused on European and Western philosophers and histories, only perpetuating the vicious cycle which the son of the famous Wo
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Stevie
Confucius has a lot of wisdom. Anyone who is serious about living life well would do well to read the Analects.

Poignant Quotes:

If you try to guide the common people with coercive regulations and keep them in line with punishments, the common people will become evasive and will have no sense of shame. If, however, you guide them with Virtue, and keep them in line by means of ritual, the people will have a sense of shame and will rectify themselves.

Give your parents no cause for anxiety other than
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Jimmy
One of the great classics of world literature. Worth reading for the parts that still apply. Confucius describes himself as a transmitter, not an originator. The book may not contain any original sayings. Its main philosophical idea is to avoid extremes. That's also an ancient Greek idea. One can do no better than to follow that precept.

In some places, the orifices of a corpse were plugged up to prevent the soul escaping and doing harm to the community. In China, mortuary jades were used in the
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David Sarkies
Feb 14, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Political Theorists, Philosophers
Recommended to David by: Stewart
Shelves: philosophy
The political sayings of a Chinese master
22 June 2011

While I have credited the writing of this work to Confucius, it was not actually written by him but rather by his disciples. Thus Confucius joins Socrates and Jesus Christ of having an enormous influence upon the world without actually writing anything down (though this is not correct, as I further outline below). Further, like Jesus Christ and Socrates, the books are a record of his sayings (though, unlike Jesus Christ, he did not perform an
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Letitia
It’s depressing to think that the teachings of Confucius constituted a religion in most of East Asia – i.e. they were wise sayings and stories of a great man from a certain time, that have been selectively reinterpreted by kings and heads of state, force-fed to generations of schoolchildren in various eras as a substitute for original thought, and generally manipulated out of context to subjugate a nation into obedience over and over again.

That’s probably why many Chinese intellectuals and progr
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umberto
From my 5-day study tour in South Korea (August 5-9), I read a bit about Korean history in English, according to Prof. Han Young Woo (2010: 7), Confucius said, "Learning is a joy of life." This is an interestingly philosophical, psychological and educational quote as well as a groundbreaking one. Just imagine, Confucius said this some 2,500 years ago! Of course, we still need to read him to learn more even in this 21st century and beyond.

I've just posted this quote in my Facebook so that my stud
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Michael Connolly
When Confucius was asked what he thought about the idea of being kind to someone who does you wrong, he pointed out that this would be unfair to people who treat you right, who deserve to be treated better than people who do you wrong. Confucius was therefore an advocate of justice, was Aristotle. Jesus, on the other hand, said turn the other cheek and love your enemies, which is not justice. I also liked the suggestion of Confucius that one should not serve in government when evil people domina ...more
Robert Jacoby
Title: Excellent introduction to how language impacts individual thought, a culture, and a civilization

(Background: Over a couple of decades' time I planned to read the scriptures of the world's great religions/philosophies. I started with my own, reading the Bible in two different translations, first the Hebrew-Greek Word Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates, and then the NIV. Next I turned to Islam and Al-Quaran. After that The Bhagavad Gita and the Analects of Confucius. Every reading is helping m
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Jesse
Confucius was, in his youthful studies, deeply influenced by the Tao Te Ching, and this is evident in the way he supposedly spoke - dialectically. The dialectics are almost always displaying the inverted contrasts of the wise man and the common man. Confucius disparages common people, saying, "They can be made to follow a path, but not to understand it." Confucius, however, did not condone the leading of people along any path, for he well knew that there is no path for people to follow by the Da ...more
Karl H.
Where to begin talking about Confucius? It is fascinating to read a philosophy that is so different than that of the Greeks. It is different, not only in form, but in its very essence than the early Western philosophy and culture that permeates American and European thought. When we talk about the “central value” of any philosophical system, we are necessarily engaging in a gross simplification. Plato valued truth, Socrates valued happiness, Jesus valued love, and Confucius values fidelity. But ...more
Thomas
As with all books on philosophy, your mileage may vary. It didn't really resonate with me, but it was a relatively easy read, and Confucius himself stands out in it as a surprisingly interesting and relatable figure - a wise and greatly respected man, but one who suffered disappointments throughout his life, such as the loss of his favorite pupil, the failure of some of his other students to live up to his beliefs, and his disappointment in not achieving greater things. While his advice and visi ...more
Matt
If you're familiar with the book of Proverbs in the Christian Bible and the Socratic dialogues, the format of Confucius' sayings is a blend of the two. To understand the work in its entirety a reader would need LOTS of historical footnotes, as many Chinese historical figures are mentioned with the assumption that the reader will know who they are. But the real "meat" is in the sayings themselves, set apart from any historical narrative. There are so many great thoughts on leadership and good cha ...more
James
One of the Four Books and Five Classics, this book is pretty enlightening regarding Chinese culture and history. The actual content gets a bit repetitive, but that's to be expected of these type of classics. It's also not quite as thought provoking as the Tao Te Ching. Still, it's a solid book and really has a lot to say.

I tried grabbing quotes from it via my Kindle as I was reading, but the Project Gutenberg version I was reading didn't support it. It's probably for the best, though. I would ha
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Jared Della Rocca
My father reads the Bible before breakfast each morning. He's been doing it for as many years as I can remember. A little bit each and every day, and when he gets to the end he starts again. Juxtapose that with trying to read the Bible like a book, a couple chapters each day.

I'm a read through a book in a few days type of guy. The Analects of Confucius is not made for me. It's absolutely jam packed with wisdom. But you can't swallow four chapters of wisdom in one sitting. You have to take a smal
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TarasProkopyuk
"Суждения и беседы" Конфуция это одна из лучших книг, которые мне когда либо доводилось прочесть.

От той концентрации мудрости, которой она переполнена, я просто в восторге. В книге включены все принципы и основы уклада благополучной жизни людей с помощью которых все люди мира могут сосуществовать во благо друг друга и ни чем не обделяя брат брата.

Здесь собраны высочайшие стандарты морали и этики и примеры взаимодействия между людьми в тех или иных случаях человеческой жизни. А также, что немалов
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Joseph
A real classic. I keep it as a reference. As with the "Tao Te Ching" there is so much that is wrongly attributed to Confucius. This book is one I use regularly. It's well organized with a good index. Will share one of my favorite quotations: "The Master said:, In serving your father and mother you ought to dissuade them from doing wrong in the gentlest way. If you see your advice being, ignored, you should not become disobedient but remain reverent. You should not complain even if in so doing yo ...more
Nate
roundup from 3.5 stars, an interesting read though rather dense in places, especially when knowing nothing about ancient chinese history. keeping this for later when i read more in this area
J.D.
I liked Slingerland's writing style in Effortless Action: Wu-Wei as Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early China -- I found it interesting and engaging. I got this book in the hope that the style would be similar. That was not the case.

While Slingerland seems to have a similar engaging tone in the commentary, the text itself is dry and didn't flow much at all. This is probably just the nature of the text, but it just didn't appeal to me, and the commentary just didn't make up for it.

I
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Nicholas Piva
I have revered Confucius and his way of thought since I was a junior in high school. I used to read about him and his works, but ever since I have been exposed to other trains of thought (Western), my perspective has changed. Chinese philosophy has always been a topic of intrigue for me - their serene ways, meditation and their belief in simplicity. I also love the landscape, the grassy hills and mountains which are perfect for tranquility. But what bothers me about their stream of consciousness ...more
Quentin S.
This really wasn't what I was expecting. Unfortunately, I have no time to write a decent review of this at present, and I feel odd writing a 'review' of the Analects, anyway. Maybe this only highlights what an odd thing a review is in the best of circumstances.

Anyway, the introduction was informative, and the notes helpful. I find Confucius a peculiarly attractive figure. Considering the fact he has been almost deified, he comes across as endearingly bumbling and fallible, like a slightly-too-co
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Roger
Although it is not a religious text, in many ways The Analects of Confucius have had a similar effect on the human race as the Bible, Koran, or other holy books. It became a guide for living a moral life, and defined a society for hundreds of years. Like many other ancient texts, it has become corrupted over the years by accidental or deliberate elisions and insertions. Add to that the difficulty of deciphering the actual meanings of many of the ancient characters, and the syntax of the writing, ...more
David Pearce
As many have highlighted, the text is very repetitive, to the extent that in this edition there are footnotes on almost every page referencing where a quote had already been said. To a certain extent I enjoyed the repetition of the writing. I got this impression as though it helped ingrain the simple nature in which Confucius lived his live and carried his believes. If you're willing to look past perhaps some uncomfortably outdated ideals, The Analects is a timeless necessity that should be read ...more
Anfenwick Anfenwick
After trying to read Confucius 'raw' I realized I needed a little help and orientation. This hit the spot and I now feel much more able to tackle the Analects for my own purposes. What I found most helpful?

1) The little bit of context in the introduction about Confucius' aims, his career, and how the Analects were put together, particularly the insight that they're not trying to have a structure.
2) Relatively detailed guides to the historical context behind selected sayings. Although it still wo
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John Lucy
First of all, I don't think that Waley's notes are all that helpful. Many readers don't care about and thus don't read foot-notes or end-notes, and that's a shame, but this work is one where a reader could use some good notes. Some of the sayings just don't make sense without notes. Unfortunately, some of the sayings will continue to go without understanding because Waley's notes often don't help explain anything. Humorously, sometimes Waley explains to death a passage that doesn't need explaini ...more
Siri
It is with difficulty I see how this book came to play such an important role as it did.
Reading this I kept on thinking over and over again: "really? Is this it? Is this the book that shaped Chinese society?"
It is really hard to imagine that these little snippets of conversation, sometimes contradictory, often random and mismatched, has been a source of inspiration for politicians and renowned scholars - yet this stands as one of the most important works of literature and philosophy the world ha
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Mike Maxwell
"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names." Truer words have rarely been spoken.

Confucius ranks among Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as among the most influential philosophers who ever lived. Read the Analects, and read it carefully, and you will understand why. His philosophy is a curious mixture of profound ethical and practical wisdom, ritual prescriptions and commentary on traditional Chinese learning, and so some readers may find themselves growing impatient as they wa
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Michele
The book I read was translated by Edward Slingerland but I can't seem to find it here on Goodreads.

22: If I am not fully present at the sacrifice, it is as if I did not sacrifice at all.

29: (4.1) To live in a neighborhood of the Good is fine. If one does not choose dwell among those who are Good, how will one obtain wisdom?

35: (4.17) When you see someone is worthy, concentrate upon becoming their equal: when you see someone who is unworthy, use this as an opportunity to look within yourself.

46:
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Chris
The DC Lau translation is the only decent one I've found (it should be the one whose cover is pictured here.) Book of quotes to live by. The book that made Redd Foxx famous (in a perverse way.) A cynical old man is tired of scouring the earth for people who want real truth and moral integrity rather than flattery, fortune and fair women. When walking with two people, model yourself after the one more upright than you and use the less upright one to remind you of and help correct your own faults.
Bird

Derrière l'apparente simplicité du propos se cache une éthique réelle qui résonne toujours à travers les siècles.


"Celui qui sait une chose ne vaut pas celui qui l'aime. Celui qui aime une chose ne vaut pas ceui qui en fait sa joie."
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Combine - The Analects 2 14 Aug 12, 2012 09:46AM  
  • Mencius
  • Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings
  • Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty
  • The Rig Veda
  • Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy
  • The Enneads
  • Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko
  • The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
  • Six Records of a Floating Life
  • Theaetetus
  • The Guide for the Perplexed
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • Rights of Man
  • The Book of Songs: The Ancient Chinese Classic of Poetry
  • The Debt of Tears (The Story of the Stone, #4)
  • A Short History of Chinese Philosophy
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Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese thought and life. Died 479 BC (aged 71–72).

孔子 - Kong Zi
孔夫子 - Kong Fuzi (Kung Fu-Tzu)
More about Confucius...
The First Ten Books (Penguin Great Ideas) The Doctrine of the Mean Confucian Analects, The Great Learning & The Doctrine of the Mean Ta Hio: The Great Learning of Confucius The Teachings Of Confucius

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“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” 1309 likes
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