Ways of Heaven (Hardcover)

An Introduction to Chinese Thought

By Roel Sterckx

Basic Books, 9781541618442, 512pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

List Price: 35.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A brilliant history of ancient China's masters of philosophy -- and how they help us understand China today
In Ways of Heaven, leading China scholar Roel Sterckx offers an engrossing introduction to classical China's world of ideas. Drawing on evocative examples from philosophical texts, literature, and everyday life over centuries of Chinese history, Sterckx introduces major thinkers and traditions, illuminates key concepts like the dao, qi, yin, and yang, and examines questions of leadership, social order, death, nature, and more. He also reveals how these ideas shape contemporary China, from table manners at a traditional banquet, to the Chinese obsession with education and family, to the rhetoric of political leaders and the nation's grand strategy.
Essential reading for students, travelers, businesspeople, and anyone curious about this rising global power, Ways of Heaven shows that to comprehend China today we must learn to think Chinese.

About the Author

Roel Sterckx is Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History, Science, and Civilization at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Clare College. The author of several books on early China, he lives in Cambridge, England.

Praise For Ways of Heaven: An Introduction to Chinese Thought

"An outstanding
introduction to the world of thought in classical China. Engagingly written and
beautifully argued, Ways of Heaven is an invaluable work for anyone
interested in exploring the key ideas and concerns that have animated so much
of Chinese civilization."—Michael Puett, author of The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

"Ever wondered why
Chinese have valued ritual more than law, harmony more than personal
accomplishment? In this engagingly-written book, Roel Sterckx makes these and
other central elements in Chinese thought easy to understand and interesting to
think about."—Patricia B. Ebrey, professor of history, University of Washington

"We have been waiting
for this book for too long. For centuries, the real China has been locked in a
distant castle by both the western media and Chinese propaganda. If you are
curious about the origin of China's yin and yang, if you want to
know more about the roots of Chinese philosophy, if you want to know how to do
business with the Chinese, if you want to gain insight into Chinese art, or
even if you want to understand the mentality of Chinese people, this book will
answer these questions for you. Roel Sterckx's book can be the key to opening
that Chinese castle's gate, and help you to understand how Chinese life has
taken shape from Confucius to the food menus of today."—Xinran Xue, author of Sky Burial, The Good Women of China, and China Witness