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The Analects

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  18,572 ratings  ·  751 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
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 249 pages
Published September 27th 1979 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published -429)
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Michael Traditionally, Lao Tzu and Confucius were regarded as contemporaries, however, while it is accepted that Confucius was an historical person, Lao Tzu i…moreTraditionally, Lao Tzu and Confucius were regarded as contemporaries, however, while it is accepted that Confucius was an historical person, Lao Tzu is now generally considered to be legendary, a character which developed in order to attribute traditional sayings to an author. Those who defend Lao Tzu as an historical person don't agree as to who that person is, so his identity is less certain, which you me speaks of greater antiquity for the work attributed to him. So, personally (and I'm not an academic, so this is my uneducated guess) I hold the view that the Tao is the older work, and I'd start with that.(less)
Sieglinde I got the impression that it means you start a large job in small steps. This could even include learning a new thing.

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Sean Barrs
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Is it not indeed a pleasure to acquire knowledge and constantly to exercise oneself therein?”

It really is. It’s a noble pursuit, forever trying to learn and improve and become the best you possible. And in a way, that’s the main drive behind these teachings: self-improvement.

I’ve met so many people in my life that never reached their potential or realised it. So many people don’t dare to try. Growing up, I had some real intelligent friends who could have gone on to do wonderful things, bu
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Master said, 'It is only the most intelligent and the most stupid who are not susceptible to change."
- Confucius, The Analects, XVII.3


I rarely re-read books. An exception to this rule are ethical or religious texts. I love Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and will read this in dribs and drabs throughout the year. The same is true of the New Testament, the Wisdom Books, Psalms, parts of the Book of Mormon, and the Analects. I am drawn to some of the more universal teachings in th
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan O'Neill
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 ⭐

A little bit of History:

Confucius (aka. Kong Fuzi) was a Chinese philosopher and minor government official in the State of Lu, born midway through the 6th Century BCE and active for approximately 20 years into the 5th century BCE. This era is referred to as the Spring and Autumn Period, a violent and divided time in China in which any remnants of symbolic control that the surviving line of the great Zhou kings possessed had been entirely undermined and centuries of civil-war had broken th
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
Roy Lotz
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
There are two things that are commonly labeled ‘philosophy’. The first is philosophy sensu strictu, which deals with technical problems in its various branches, such as epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, etc. The other is what one could call a “philosophy of life”, a vague category that one encounters in religious texts, works of literature, poetry, and also intermingled with formal philosophy. Confucianism, insofar as I understand it, mostly falls into the latter category.

The Analects mainly
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
Michael Connolly
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, revisit
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
Justin Evans
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
You can't review the Analects. But you can review editions of the Analects, and this one, translated and commented upon by Annping Chin, is one of the great editions of any philosophy book I've ever come across. The translation clear without being condescending, and Chin includes the Chinese text at the back of the book. Her comments are fascinating; best of all, she includes references to and quotes from the many traditional commentaries on the book, so you know not only what e.g. one random Am ...more
David Sarkies
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Oct 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some really great nuggets of wisdom in these super short writings. I very much appreciated learning all about Confucius, and I couldn’t help but think of him as the Chinese Jesus (who never identifies as any sort of God’s son or Prophet but rather actually seemed to live the similar values Jesus preached).
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A jewel, though many maxims require prior knowledge of China's dynastic period. I took about 2 days to familiarize with the history; the excerpts below are the more universal sayings. What's interesting is that many aphorisms are Confucius joking with disciples :)

1.8 If you study you will not be crude.

3.12 Sacrifice to the spirits as though the spirits were present.

3.24 The world has long been without the dao.

4.22 The ancients were wary of speaking - ashamed if their conduct d
Pontus Alexander
Text, translation & edition: ✦✦✦✦✦

Both A.C. Grayling (with the preface) and D.C. Lau (with the introduction and translation) do a good job of explaining, or at least hinting at the importance, of the key terms of Lǐ (禮 / 礼 - proper rites), Rén (仁 - benevolence), Dào (道 - the Way) and Dé (德 - right virtue).
Those words are used throughout the Analects, and knowing a fraction of their significants is very helpful to understand the whole.
Now, I had my prejudgments about Confucius beforehand, but my
The Analects by Confucius is a key text for understanding classical chinese philosophy. For Confucius, there is a large focus on social roles and responsibilities. He desires to empower the gentlemen [junzi] by developing their humanity [ren] so that moral virtue is the most valued part of society. He does this out of a desire to end the decay of society, and return to the way of the Shang dynasty. There is clearly a golden-age myth linked to his thinking, which is a significant reason for his s ...more
Scriptor Ignotus
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good starting point for thinking about Confucius is that he was concerned with training rulers and subjects. This puts him in the company of the Sophists of Plato’s dialogues. Protagoras and Socrates begin their debate over the question of whether good citizenship can be taught, and consequently whether Sophists like Protagoras can be useful to that end.

For Confucius, there is no distinction between the ethical and the political, because the political virtue of social stability relies upon th
Stuart Aken
Oct 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
Disappointing. That's a bald statement and perhaps not the most expected, considering the reputation of this Chinese man of…wisdom? I didn't find that, to be honest. From several hundred short passages of supposed erudition I listed ten I thought worthy of spreading to the wider world.
All the Confucianists will, of course be screaming abuse and possibly foaming at the mouth, because Confucius, rather like other famed wise men, has taken a role close to that of a god for many.
I found him conserv
Ahmed R. Rashwan
So I have finally delved into the philosophy of Confucianism, but unfortunately it left me a little winded and even slightly exhausted. Although this book was merely 80 pages long, I cannot say this was an easy read at all, it reminded me of when I was reading up on Buddhism.

Although I am generally very fascinated with Far Eastern religions, philosophies and social systems, it seems that I do not go along with them very well. This does sadden me to a degree and I am afraid I might feel the same
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, translation
I've been wanting to read this book for years. For some reason Confucius has sparked my interest. Earlier this year I got into philosophy again and remembered I'd wanted to read this book. Now having actually read this, I can say I find Confucius relaxing and enjoyable. Him and Machiavelli have become my favorite philosophers (odd combo I know).

The translation I read by Annping Chin was wonderful and highly recommend this edition. Not only do you get the text, but you get more than enough commen
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
For every passable and interesting Confucian quote there are at least a dozen trite rhetorical questions, instances of contradictory gobbledygook and namedroppings from the Analectical arse. While we all applaud people who don't even pretend to be sage and consistent, it's very difficult to take any of this very seriously if the authority undermines himself with such force. And the core of his philosophy in this particular work seems to be bafflingly bland: respect those above you, read history, ...more
Nov 11, 2010 marked it as to-read
Confucius yo. Again, more research on the translation is needed.
Nov 20, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Confucianism
Chi-lu asked how the spirits of the dead and the gods should be served. The Master said, "You are not able even to serve man. How can you serve the spirits?"
"May I ask about death?"
"You do not understand even life. How can you understand death?"

The Analects are full of interesting and thought-provoking bits like this one. I highlighted any statements I found to be interesting or those that would be beneficial to read again later in life. There are many. I enjoyed reading an ancient text, writte
Robert Jacoby
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tom Quinn
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quotable notables! Pearls of wisdom! This is stuff that gets you nodding, food for heart and soul, and it is savory and wholesome. It is, of course, important as a surviving written text from so many centuries ago. But it's more than just old, it's interesting too. There's no plot, per se, though there are a handful of characters whose names come up repeatedly. Instead what you'll find is a lot of very wise advice on many topics including virtue, friendship, learning, and governance (of both sel ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I’ve read this book twice, and I really enjoy it. This is a book written down about 2’500 years ago, filled with quotes by a man who considered himself a conservative at that time.

The Master said, ”I transmit but do not innovate. I love antiquity and have faith in it. [...]”

This naturally makes it at times very conservative by the standards of today, but since the main subject is something as timeless as humaneness it still mostly works.

It would, however, have been inaccessible if it wasn
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
The "philosophical translation" moniker supposes some authoritativeness, though the execution results in two things. First, it means that the translations are vastly expanded in order to get the fullest possible sense of the terms used. As a result there are many awkward translation choices: ren which is typically rendered "humanity" is rendered as "authoritative conduct" which is tremendously cumbersome even after getting used to it. This style isn't without its merits; junzi typically rendered ...more
Erica Clou
This is a great translation. I only compared it to one other but it far exceeded the other translation. The language in the Analects is clear and then followed by short paragraphs to explain the missing context or the connotation of particular Chinese words. I enjoyed the number of passages focused on education and respect, though the ones about the historical politicians held less interest for me.

(I don't rate religious or semi-religious texts.)
Dean M (Vox Poetica)
A lot of hidden gems made the struggle at times worth it, but can be quite the drag due to distance in time and difference in culture.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is spun gold.

Faithful readers (Are there faithful readers?) may recall that I’ve kvetched about the limits of my education on several occasions. My high school offered a Western Philosophy class, but the teacher looked puzzled when I asked, “Which period is Eastern Philosophy? I didn’t find it in the Spring schedule.” Cal State Fullerton’s Philosophy 101 class was 100% Western, and the only Eastern course was an outstanding “Origins and Development of Buddhism,” which really wasn’t phi
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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. Born 551 BC - Died 479 BC (aged 71–72).

孔子 - Kong Zi
孔夫子 - Kong Fuzi (Kung Fu-Tzu)

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