Trying Not to Try

Ancient China, Modern Science, and the Power of Spontaneity
by Edward Slingerland | 304 pages

Edward Slingerland is one of the world’s leading experts on both ancient Chinese thought AND modern cognitive science. This book is a melding of those two realms. It’s a truly fascinating read. I read it in a day and felt like I was spending the day hanging out with a brilliant thinker—getting privileged access to twenty years of deep thinking. If you’re into ancient wisdom and modern science I think you’ll love the book as much as I did. Big Ideas we explore include defining wu-wei + de (one of the coolest words/concepts ever), what Confucius + Lao Tzu + Mencius + Chuang Tzu have to say about wu-wei, and the spontaneity of mirrors.


“The goal of this book is to explore the many facets of spontaneity, as well as the conundrum it presents: why it’s so crucial to our well-being and yet so elusive. In fact, the problem of how to try not to try is an ancient one, and it has engaged thinkers throughout history and across the world. Some of the most important and influential of them lived in early China. It is my belief that these thinkers, hailing from the so-called Confucian and Daoist schools, had deep insights into the human condition that can still prove very useful to us today. …

My hope is that by exploring the distilled wisdom of ancient traditions of thought—as well as the best findings from contemporary cognitive science—you will gain new insights that you can apply to your own life.”

~ Edward Slingerland from Trying Not to Try

Edward Slingerland is one of the world’s leading experts on both ancient Chinese thought AND modern cognitive science.

This book is a melding of those two realms. It’s a truly fascinating read. I read it in a day and felt like I was spending the day hanging out with a brilliant thinker—getting privileged access to twenty years of deep thinking.

If you’re into ancient wisdom and modern science I think you’ll love the book as much as I did. (Get a copy here.)

It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Edward Slingerland

Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia.