Book review: "The Tao of Abundance"

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I’ve had a few days to decompress, nap, go to the gym, drink Emergen-C with all my water, and just generally recharge after being sucked dry of personal energy from teaching (no regrets though, the kids needed it more then I). During this time I also needed to reorient my career compass before being unemployed in August (In July I’m doing a 30 day gig in the media dept. of Antioch New England Graduate School’s library.)

I decided to read my favorite career guide, L Boldt’s “The Tao of Abundance.” I’d read his “Zen and the Art of Making a Living,” about 8 years ago and it helped point me toward Ed. Tech. which worked out great. I found some good stuff amid the pages of this book. Particularly the Taoist thoughts on the potential problems with not following your nature and how it can sap you of energy and leave you with self-doubt. I personally have found the most difficult times in my life have been when I stopped trusting my intuition. Also I like the way the Taoism deals with sex and money and considers the universe a friendly place made for us.

Boldt is good at taking a lot of other’s work in this area and combining it with Taoism into sort of a rambling chant that gets you revved up to go out and follow your nature, while not being financially stupid or leaving one unprepared for the difficulty of the fight ahead.

I’ve written down my favorite parts below:

Caleb’s Notes From

“The Tao of Abundance”

By Laurence G. Boldt.

ISBN: 0140196064

(Un-attributed quotes are all by Boldt.)

“If there is one essential principle of the Tao of Abundance, it is this: Follow your nature. Your nature is your strength.”

“To follow your nature in a society in which respect for nature itself and respect for individual human dignity are subordinated to the artificial ‘laws of the market’ is indeed a formidable task. Yet the consequences of not doing so are profound.”

“To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – E. E. Cummings

“The motivation for art is, as Thomas Mann wrote, ‘the natural instinct toward humanization, that is toward the spiritualization of life…'”

“Production process

1. Identify a genuine need or human motivation to serve.

2. Create good and services to address that need or motive.

3. Deliver goods and services in such a way as to provide maximum benefit.

4. Receive adequate payment for goods or services delivered.


1. Choose an existing value in which to trade (real-estate, stock, etc.)

2. Achieve control of that value for trading purposes, at the lowest possible cost in terms of dollars or hours.

3. Gain advantage by: Selling for profit, maximizing leverage, controlling the market.

4. Reduce the negative consequences of winning, i.e. taxes and inflation

5. Conserve some gains; invest the rest.”

“The purpose of art is to provide not an escape from the world, but an intensification and illumination of our experience of it.”

“The doubt and confusing of the mental chatterbox give rise to the twin emotions that open a Pandora’s Box on all that is ugly. These twins are named ‘Envy’ and ‘Self-pity.”

“If you don’t bring yourself down, you don’t have to rise yourself up.”

“Denying your nature deadens and dulls the senses and switches off your innate intuitive intelligence. It makes you feel heavy and doubt yourself.”

“Trying to win approval from anther person is the surest way of avoiding real contact with them.”

“Choose work for the sake of the work itself.”

“There is hope for the violent man to someday be nonviolent, but there is none for the coward.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

“The hallmark of leisure is the loss of awareness of the passage of time.”

“It is a great evil, perhaps the greatest evil, of modern industrial society that, through its immensely involved nature, it imposes an undue nervous strain and absorbs an undue proportion of a man’s attention.” E.F. Schummacher.

“These are my three treasures,

Compassion, frugality, and humility.

Being compassionate one has courage,

Being frugal one has abundance,

Being humble on becomes the chief of all vessels.” – Lao Tzu.

“The test of a desire is: Does is serve to make you feel more isolated or more connected with all of life?”

“The things that are really for thee, gravitate to thee.” Emerson.

I’d add ‘when you are healthy.’ Caleb

“You don’t have to struggle to figure things out. You can respond spontaneously to the impulses of inspiration.”

Page 62 about technology and humanizing.

Genius is nothing more or less than childhood recovered…a childhood now equipped for self-expression with an adult’s capacities.”- Charles Baudelaire.

To recognize what is beyond you ability to change, and to be content with this as your destiny – that is truly a sign of virtue.” Chuang Tzu

“Boredom is a symptom of an inability to concentrate. When we are bored it is always first and foremost with ourselves.”

“If we believe that it is a sign of weakness to show vulnerability, we limit our capacity to be loved as we are.”

“The wise and moral man shines like a fire on the a hilltop, making money like the bee, who does not hurt the flower.” – The Pali Canon (500-250 b.c.e.)

“In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.” – Yun-Men.

“A reporter once asked Albert Einstein, ‘Is a there single crucial question which mankind must answer?’ Einstein replied, “Yes, it is this: Is the universe friendly?” Page 91.

“From the Taoist perspective, the universe is for us. We needn’t beat it or ourselves into submission. The Taoists offer us a way of seeing the universe as a friendly place.”

“Like those lost in the wilderness, our inner shame and self-loathing prevent us from trusting our basic instincts.” Page 97

“Sensible people get paid for playing – that is the art of life.” – Alan Watts.

“Trying to figure things out by mere intellect alone always leaves us in doubt. We can only know by intuition – by listening to the innate intelligence within.”

A man there was, and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.” – John Bunyan.

“The approval-seeking mindset is the psychological baggage we carry from our extended period of dependency. This baggage must be thrown off if we are to experience the innate dignity of our being and realize the full power of Te in our lives.”

“You cannot receive from others anything you are unwilling to give yourself.”

“As a child, you were stuck with what your parents did. Yet ultimately the problem was not what they were or were not doing, but the fact that you were helpless to do anything about it- including leave. And that is not your fault, or their fault. It is simply biology.”

“The strongest families are those in which the adult partners are loving and devoted friends.”

“In the best of all worlds, the way you love to express yourself the most is the basis of your career.”


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