Watching the Tree : A Chinese Daughter Reflects on Happiness, Spiritual Beliefs and Universal Wisdom, Paperback

Watching the Tree : A Chinese Daughter Reflects on Happiness, Spiritual Beliefs and Universal Wisdom Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Author of bestselling 'Falling Leaves' weaves together for the same audience her own personal experiences with the best of Chinese philosophy.

Adeline Yen Mah, whose autobiography 'Falling Leaves' is an international bestseller, here interweaves her own experiences with her views on Chinese thought and wisdom to create an illuminating and highly personal guide for Western readers.

Adeline Yen Mah was born in Tianjin, and through the conversations and wisdom of her grandfather and aunt learnt a great deal of traditional Chinese thought, history and religion.

Through her father's second marriage to a Eurasian woman, and their subsequent move to Hong Kong, she learnt more about the Chinese attitudes to business and to family, and the strength of the Chinese in exile. Since living in London and California, Adeline Yen Mah has studied Chinese thought, looking at both the strengths and weaknesses which it gives those who follow it and now, in 'Watching the Tree', she takes us on a journey through the Chinese language, religions and history, using both Chinese proverbs and her own experiences, to bring to us an understanding of the richness of China and the ways that we can take and use some of the wisdom for ourselves in the West.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Oriental & Indian philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780006531548



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Despite having grandparents who were Taoist/Buddhist, I never knew much about these religions. <i>Watching The Tree</i> uses various anecdotes from Mah’s life as she discusses everything from language to food to Confucianism (which seems to be given a bit of a hostile treatment). I did have some issues with the <i>hanyu pinyin </i>(a kind of romanised transcription of the Chinese characters), which were a bit wanting – and in one case completely wrong. A decent enough read for those wanting a little bit of insight into this aspect of Chinese culture.