Reading Both Books
Recently, several people came up with the same question about the two books. After answering each person individually (on BlogSpot, through e-mail and in person), I thought I should also post my response as a blog entry for greater visibility. There may be others out there who are wondering the same thing.
Question: Derek, I have both of your books, and I am trying to decide which one to read first. Would I get more out of the stories if I read the Tao Te Ching first? Or, would I find the Tao Te Ching easier to understand if I read the stories first? What is your recommendation?
Answer: I would suggest that you make use of both books at the same time, but in different ways. Start by reading the stories from The Tao of Daily Life, and use the translation as a reference. The dharma talk following each story often quotes lines from the Tao Te Ching to make a point. When you come across such a quote, you can refer to that specific chapter in Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained for a more in-depth look at the original text. This is a way to study the Tao that many people seem to enjoy, so I hope it works well for you too. Have fun!