Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tao of Physics” as Want to Read:
The Tao of Physics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Tao of Physics

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  15,099 ratings  ·  480 reviews
After a quarter of a century in print, Capra's groundbreaking work still challenges and inspires. This updated edition of The Tao of Physics includes a new preface and afterword in which the author reviews the developments of the twenty-five years since the book's first publication, discusses criticisms the book has received, and examines future possibilities for a new sc ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 5th 2007 by Harpercollins (first published January 1st 1975)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tao of Physics, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Tao of Physics

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
James K.
Don't look to Capra for a highly disciplined discourse on particle physics or the nature of cosmology. Nor is this book a deep exploration of Taoism or other Eastern Religious Philosophy. Rather, it is a fascinating mental adventure showing the ways the two schools of thought often developed in parallel and came to similar conclusions from very different beginning points. The author's own words in the epilogue sum it up nicely. "Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science ...more
It is widely recognized, at least by those outside of science, that scientists are notorious bunglers when it comes to philosophical matters. So it is not surprising, though hardly excusable, that Capra's book displays a level of incompetence that should be immediately obvious to anyone with even a cursory background in logic or philosophy. As a matter of fact, it would be surprising if such an unqualified admirer of Taoism, whose writings Capra notes approvingly are "full of passages reflecting ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, science
Ok so I have a small confession to make. I think I might be overrating books. Or at least it looks like it from other reviews I recently read. I usually read them after rating the books myself but sometimes I go the other way around. Today is one of those days.
I must say I find it harder to criticize a bad non–fiction book than a bad novel. And that could be because, first of all, with non–fiction books it's hardly a matter of writing style (unless it's a really good book or a really bad one) a
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«Τα αντίθετα είναι συμπληρωματικά», ισχυρίζεται η σύγχρονη φυσική και αυτό έχει πυροδοτήσει μια σχολή επιστημόνων και μη, οι οποίοι προσπαθούν να αναλύσουν τη φιλοσοφία που προκύπτει πίσω από την επιστημονική θεωρία. Πολλοί προχωρούν ακόμα παραπέρα και προσπαθούν να τη συνδέσουν με φιλοσοφικές ή θρησκευτικές τάσεις που ήδη επικρατούσαν στην ανθρωπότητα, ενώ ταυτόχρονα επιδιώκουν να «φτιάξουν» παράξενες ερμηνείες – αποτελέσματα, χαρακτηριστικότερες των οποίων είναι οι τηλεοπτικές σειρές, όπου στρ ...more
Lois Keller
Apr 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is my first one star on good reads, that means this book was even worse than the Third Hunger Games book.

The main reason for the one star is just my complete disappointment in this book. I went in to reading 'The Tao fo Physics' expecting to find something that correlated elements of quantum mechanics to the insights of Eastern mysticism and philosophy (which I feel was a reasonable expectation). However, what I found was an author who not only was dull but founded his 'correlations'
Riku Sayuj
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not entirely sure how to take this book. Will come back to it after updating myself on the latest developments.
I bought this book some 7 years ago, when I was fifteen. At the time I was getting increasingly interested in physics, and at the same time Buddhism. Unfortunately, I also read another book around this time called 'What The Bleep Do We Know?' which turned out to be nothing but 'quantum woo' - that is, pretending that quantum mechanics is all kinds of things that it simply isn't. I decided that The Tao Of Physics is probably something similar and it's been collecting dust on my shelf ever since. ...more
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book bridged a major divide in my perception of the world, bringing together ideas of Quantum Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Capra, trained in both disciplines, does a fine job comparing quotes and emerging universal perceptions of the early pioneers in quantum physics, against philosophers and yogis of the ancient religions of the East. In a beautiful way, you come to discover that each of these disparate disciplines are somehow describing the universe through strikingly similar metaphors. ...more
Dec 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book would have been better called "The Buddha of Physics", or something like that. Throughout the whole book there is hardly a single reference to taoism, and certainly no understanding of taoism and its relation to other asian religions.

The great majority of the spiritual/religious references in this book are from Indian Buddhism and Hinduism. A mild smattering of zen. Hardly any Chinese Buddhism.

I found this book incredibly boring. I think I actually started skimming towards the end, whi
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that fundamentally changed the way I felt and thought deep down inside at a time of my life when I needed some sort of metaphysical path.

When you strip away the mathematics from the concepts of quantum mechanics and strong theory, etc., you get a bewildering array of thought-provking images that conjure up those posed by the best koans that Zen has to offer. Eastern mysticism meets modern physics.

You will understand that everything is connected.
When I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me a story about a king who had gone to Brahma, the creator of the universe, to invite him to preside over the inaugural ceremony of a temple he had built. Brahma, excused himself for a minute, and returned to give his consent exactly a minute later. The king returned happily to his kingdom on earth. But, lo and behold, 1200 years had passed. At this point of the story, my grandmother would smile at me and say, "What is a minute for Brahma, is 1200 y ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book; but I admit it had flaws, mainly due to the actual content in relation to the title. First, this book reads more like a review of quantum physics (a subject I'm not qualified to give a critique on in terms of the book's accuracy) than religion. In many cases, the author goes on for pages about quantum physics, in technical detail, and then at the very end sticks in a throw away line about how this is similar to Buddhism or Hinduism because they both believe we are all c ...more
Denis Vasilev
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Идея интересная, стиль написания не обрадовал.
Aug 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Eastern philosophy is not a singular concept - it consists of many schools of thought; some of which the author has conveniently cherry-picked and force fit to draw parallels with Quantum Physics.

To be quite frank, the book neither has literary merit, nor does it present any groundbreakingly profound idea. There is a pretence of the latter, but anyone with half a knowledge of philosophy will see right through it. The only merit in the book, if one is to force himself to find one, is to see how a
Neelesh Marik
A seminal classic that was one of the first pieces of reading that began to change my worldview, and till today, remains one of the first attempted ‘consilience’ of science and spirit. Rather than a conventional book summary or review, I would like to capture key sentences/ quotes that adorn the terrain like a string of pearls:

Chapter 1 – Modern Physics: A Path with a Heart
Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells y
Dino Olivieri
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quando i saggi sono scritti da Saggi.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book consists of a large part which is quite technical with matters of physics. Since I am not a physicist I do not propose to judge their validity. Instead I will take into account the central idea of the book which is that everything is connected and trying to take apart these connections and study them individually as science does is frustrating and to a large extent a fruitless endeavor since we can't explain the connection of everything to everything else.
My conclusion from reading thi
Jun 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm afraid as hard as I tried I could not make this book work for me. The author discusses a lot about quantum physics (as it was understood in the 1970's) and eastern mysticism. He attempts to correlate the two. The assertions were broad and conjectural, and I ended up confused about both. That may be my fault, not the author's, but so be it.

I was wading through another treatise on quantum physics and relativity at the same, Paul Davie's "The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right fo
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Brahman of physics

This is one of the best books I have read which ties the philosophies of Vedanta (Hinduism), Buddhism and Taoism with the laws of physics. The book is divided into three sections; the first section gives a general introduction to the facts of physical reality. The second section discusses the philosophies of Hinduism with references to Bhagavad-Gita and Upanishads; Buddhist philosophy and Chinese thought. The last section discusses the laws of Newtonian physics, and how the
Arun Divakar
My feeling post the completion of this book is utter confusion. The first few chapters of this book gave an eloquent preamble of things to come, a sweeping narrative that would capture the essence of Physics and pit it against the ages-old wisdom of Eastern philosophy. This objective of the book was what caught my attention – that the author sets out to prove that an exacting discipline like Physics can have parallels with religious experiences. How can the rigor of mathematics be paralleled by ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Hmmm what to say about this. In some ways I agree that there are a number of parallels at least in the modality of viewing the world through the eyes of the eastern believer and the modern day physicist. But whether or not these parallels are entirely the ones drawn by the author or further expounded on in this book I have some reservations in either regard. Perhaps it was because I did not enjoy being told by the author where these parallels were or being lead around in such a manner. Some of h ...more
Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, science, 2010
Similar to how I felt with The Elegant Universe ; here was a book that did a good job of giving a survey of "the known physics", a good job of explaining the intractable problems, and then a poor job of explaining "the new way" (while at the same time hedging as much as possible). The comparisons to Eastern mysticism seemed a little conveniently tacked on, and maybe even a bit cherry-picked. I think the real problem I had with this book though wasn't about the theories (which, you know, "you ca ...more
Ken Deshaies
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting treatise on how physics is just catching up with Eastern religions. The more scientists discover about the working of the universe, from the tiniest particles to the most universal truths, the more Eastern mysticism and preachings are substantiated as true. Yet Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism have been preaching these truths for thousands of years. I was totally fascinated and engrossed. The first few chapters each give a brief overview of the different Eastern religions (p ...more
Andrew Breslin
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book back when I was a teenage nerd and I think it had a great deal of influence on me, shaping my character and making me what I am today: a middle-aged nerd.

This was one of my earliest exposures to both modern physics and ancient mysticism, and from what I have observed, whatever source first introduces one to these ideas is always held in special esteem. Though highly recommended by others, I didn't enjoy The Dancing Wu-Li Masters, nor the film What the Do We Know nearly as much

Lage von Dissen
This book points out many of the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism. In particular we can recognize parallels between many ancient mystic ideas and the modern quantum physical findings of superposition (and non locality), the duality of light and matter, and the ultimate non-physicality of nature. For many years there have been cultures that ascribed to these types of ideas as crazy as they sounded when they first hit the physics arena in the 20th century. These ideas weren't ...more
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book at showing the parallels between mystical and scientific research.

It also does a great job of stimulating visual imagination in the realm of the 4th dimension. This is the first book I have read that has managed to really explain the paradox of quantum-reality more clearly and I can now finally how the paradox of time and location are fundamental issues relating to the fabric of particles rather than with measuring techniques. It also gives a very good visual description of
Given the kind of education a lot of us have had in India, and also that many of us I am acquainted with come from families and the immediate surroundings where religion, and to some extent spirituality do play a prominent role, a certain tension between the two ways of thinking - rational, objective & intuitive / spiritual, subjective - has always existed in my mind.
This book made this tension explicit, but also attempted a synthesis. Though he claims the book to be meant for the lay person
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mystics have always known that the one is the whole. Quantum physics came to the same conclusion by a very different route. Does that mean that the one spoken about by mystics is the same one spoken about by physicists. Are the respective wholes one and the same? If you're inclined to think that only science give access to truth, you'll probably answer no to the foregoing questions. If you are inclined to believe that nothing is as it seems and keep an open mind about things science cannot say a ...more
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a phenomenal book.

I have little formal education in physics, having passed 101 in college and never looked back, and still Dr. Capra managed to present a lot of the theoretical physics that pertained to his thesis in a digestible format. His overview of the various Eastern religions was matter-of-fact without taking anything away from them.

If you feel as though the pursuit of reason to the exclusion of cultivating intuition isn't healthy, or if you have a nagging feeling like Western sci
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nuclear physicist's ruminations on eastern philosophy and the parallels between physics and metaphysics. This book will be special to me always because it led me to discovering Heisenberg, quantum mechanics, Zen and Taoism. The sense I got out of this book was physics - science, even - is so much bigger, better and grander than what school textbooks could ever, ever tell you. Beautiful. Opened my eyes.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (Perennial Classics)
  • Wholeness and the Implicate Order
  • Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists
  • Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness
  • The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet
  • The Holographic Universe
  • God and the New Physics
  • The ABC of Relativity
  • The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe
  • Intelligence in Nature: An Inquiry Into Knowledge
  • Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
  • Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything
  • The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy & Mathematics from Albert Einstein to Stephen W. Hawking & from Annie Dillard to John Updike
  • Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature
  • Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung
  • The Spirit of Zen
  • Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Nonscientists
  • Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness
Fritjof Capra (born February 1, 1939) is an Austrian-born American physicist. He is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, and is on the faculty of Schumacher College. Capra is the author of several books, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Turning Point (1982), Uncommon Wisdom (1988), The Web of Life (1996) and The Hidden Connections (2002).
“Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated "building blocks," but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way. The human observer constitute the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can be understood only in terms of the object's interaction with the observer.” 51 likes
“Subatomic particles do not exist but rather show 'tendencies to exist', and atomic events do not occur with certainty at definite times and in definite ways, but rather show 'tendencies to occur'.” 24 likes
More quotes…