Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

By Wayne W. Dyer

19,616 ratings - 4.22* vote

Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a God-realized being named Lao-tzu in ancient China dictated 81 verses, which are regarded by many as the ultimate commentary on the nature of our existence. The classic text of these 81 verses, called the Tao Te Ching or the Great Way, offers advice and guidance that is balanced, moral, spiritual, and always concerned with wor Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a God-realized being named Lao-tzu in ancient China dictated 81 verses,

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Book details

Hardcover, 392 pages
July 31st 2007 by Hay House

(first published 2007)

Original Title
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao
1401911846 (ISBN13: 9781401911843)
Edition Language

Community Reviews

Stephanie *Eff your feelings*

A book by Wayne W. Dyer is typically a book I would not pick up. But this particular book of his was about the Tao Te Ching written by Lao-tzu in ancient China about 2500 years ago……a book I typically pick up on a regular basis (cause I love it.)

The Tao is only 81 verses long, but there have been many translations over the years. The one I am most familiar with is the translation, Tao Te Ching : A New English Version written by Stephen Mitchell, and is probably the easiest to follow. Dyer used several translations in the writing of this book (which is unfortunately named) including the version I mention above.

Wayne Dyer took a year to study each verse, research it, and write an essay on each one giving his thoughts on what each verse meant. He put a lot of work into it and I thought he did an excellent job, though I’m not sure I would have came up with the same thoughts myself…….but that’s why I read, for different ideas.

I didn’t read this book as it was intended to be read. I plowed straight through it instead of reading one verse and essay a day, and let each one sink in for that day before moving on. I plan on re-reading it that way……maybe even moving it up to four days for each verse and writing out my take on it and post it here..…somewhere, when and if time permits.

The one thing I took away from this book is that ‘force’ is never effective, in any circumstance. I have tried my whole life to force things to happen, and the results have not been positive. A person can plan, prepare and pursue, then you just got to let things play out as they are supposed to.

There is something I would like to mention about the author. He lives what he believes and what he writes……he practices the Tao. He gives his money away, pretty much all of it…..and there is always more that comes back to him in return. He’s one of the good guys.

Debbie Petersen Wolven

At some point today, notice an instance of annoyance or irritation you have with another person or situation. Decide to do the Tao (or practice the Way) in that moment by turning inward with curiosity about where you are on the continuum between desire and allowing. Permit the paradox of wanting the irritant to vanish and allowing it to be what it is.

As I was attempting to read through and absorb this very first lesson, I was given an excellent opportunity to put it into practice. My 13 year old son was thoughtful enough to provide several irritants in quick succession that included complaints, demands, banging on the table with drumsticks, tormenting the cat and then tossing the cat into my office onto the back of my chair, pounding the piano and calling it music, switching to trumpet playing where he snuck up behind me quietly and blasted the trumpet right behind my head, slamming doors, yelling "Mom! Mom!" for no reason, singing off key loudly, and sharing his opinion with me of why he prefers his friend Cole's mother to myself. I attempted to permit the paradox and allow it to be what it is, but I would need several Xanax to pull that off so ended up back where I just wanted the irritant to vanish and called his father to come and get him early. At first the ex said that wasn't possible and I again got to feel annoyance and irritation, but took a few deep breaths, poured some rum into my diet Coke and put on my iPod set to Beth Orton's "Ooh Child." Sure enough, I started to feel better and eventually the ex showed up and they drove off together, leaving me with the peace I sought. On to the 2nd Verse, "Living the Paradoxical Unity." (???)

UPDATE, July 10: I'm really enjoying the book and learning a lot that I can apply to my life. As part of the 24th verse, "Living Without Excess," there is this lovely poem by Hafiz:

All this time
The Sun never says to the earth,
"You owe
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the

I finished reading the book all the way through and though I don't take every single verse of the Tao to heart, there is enough good here that I purchased my own copy, since I also had a 40% off coupon and got the paperback. I especially enjoyed the poem above, and this:

Woman With Flower

I wouldn't coax the plant if I were you.
Such watchful nurturing may do it harm.
Let the soil rest from so much digging
and wait until it is dry before you water it.
The leaf is inclined to find it's own direction;
give it a chance to seek the sunlight for itself.

Much growth is stunted by too careful prodding, too eager tenderness.
The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.

Naomi Long Madgett


Wayne Dyer chose a most appropriate title for this book because changing your thoughts WILL change your life.This book came along at the perfect time for me because I realized my thoughts were getting in the way of me finding true happiness and purpose in life. Unfortunately most of us are riddled with negative thoughts throughout the day, whether it's what we believe to be true about ourselves, or what we assume others are thinking about us. Both will bring nothing but frustration, low self-esteem with no direction or hope for the future.
This book is wonderful because its written so that you only read a few pages each that you can sit with the words and think about how to actually apply it to your everyday life.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is ready to move forward, learn how to clean their plate each day of expectations of self and of others, and find true peace and happiness in their life.
It will help you see how God saw us living in this world.


I don't think I read this book in the manner in which it was intended. It is a deconstruction of the 81 verses of the Tao. At the end of each chapter, there is a daily assignment to practice the discussed mantra. I powered through the book like a novel, either at the gym or on the subway. I feel like that was the wrong way to do it because I didn't take an afternoon to spend time with a frog, or take an hour long walk to observe nature, or find a homeless person and send him/her a prayer of happiness, or give away a gadget that I do not need. (I don't have gadgets that I do not need.) I did however practice forgiveness and understanding to the people in my life that were causing me angst. I did extend unsolicited kind gestures when I had the opportunity. I did avoid all gossip and slander. And I did learn to train my thoughts away from conflict, strife, and pain.

Even if you don't read this book in contemplative meditation, there is a lot to be gained from it. Much of it is repetitive but that is inevitable because it is one man's interpretation of 81 verses of positive thinking and really, there are not 81 mutually exclusive ways to change your life by changing your thoughts. In fact, the repetition can be useful because it reinforces thoughts that I want to become second nature. Or first nature.


EXCELLENT book. Wonderfully expressed interpretations of the Tao Te Ching. If everyone lived by these simple guildlines and wisdom, there would be no war, no crime and a unity that is unfathomable based on our current world. One can't help but feel wonderful while reading this book. Great source of "grounding." GREAT read, just before bed.


I cannot get thru this book!
Both the Tao and Wayne W.Dyer have good teachings, have good deep points. But for me, Wayne Dyer comments/opinion about MOST of the Tao's passage are irrelevant and SOOOOOO unconnected.

I think it is a big mistake to research and study the Tao from the 'translations', I think if he really wants to study the Tao deeply then it must be from the original Chinese! I mean, it is okay for us (who are not writing a book) to study and compare the Tao from the translations... BUT to write a book about Tao and publish it, I don't think it is wise at all to base his studies from merely the translations! I find it's ridiculous!

Another thing is that Wayne Dyer use the passage in the Tao completely for his own teaching. So I find that he use all the passage, and commenting them, directing them into his own teaching, which is completely irrelevant. Especially if you are Chinese and know a little bit about the background of the Tao or the background of the culture, it's just ridiculous! I listen to this book, feeling as if the Chinese culture, the Tao is being somewhat Christianized, and I feel like listening the Tao while the message is just Wayne Dyer!

I think this book has completely degenerate the deep meaning of the Tao.
Someone asked me what do I think about this book, and I answered "Well, the Tao is nice and deep. Wayne Dyer is nice and he has a great, calming sound. So, if I only listen and completely stay in the present, stay in each words and in each sentence, then it is a nice book. But if I try to connect the sentence to the previous sentence, then I get headache and it doesn't connect, it doesn't make sense. If I try to connect the passage and his whole comment on it, I get upset because it's just NOT CONNECTED. But he has a great calm voice, so as long as I stay present and not try to figure out what is he talking about, then this is a good book!"

Anyway, after listening to 7 of the passages. I just dropped it altogether and decided I need to just read the Tao, without any comments! Some of the passage of the Tao DOES NOT need any commenting, it's a pointer... a point to get you inside to the Tao. You just have to live it, not to comment it.

Well, I cannot get thru this book for this time and I won't waste my time to take it up again since I still have many other books... perhaps one day when I have free time I will try to take it up again, and perhaps then it will change my mind, who knows?


I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book! I had SO MANY "AHHA" moments it was unbelievable! I actually FEEL BETTER now that I have read this book! It has definitely CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER!! Here is a summary of my favorite parts...

Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Stay in this moment NOW!

You are DOING NOTHING, rather you are being DONE! Allow, let go of control, shift your awareness.

No storm lasts forever! When something seems incapable of handling, know that this too shall pass.

The more rules you make, the more rule breakers you create!

When your cup is full, stop pouring!

There is no way to happiness. HAPPINESS IS THE WAY! Look within to find happiness.

More is Less, and Less is More. The 80/20 rule: you only use 20% of what you have!

There is a TIME for EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING in its time!!

Hidden in all misfortune is GOOD FORTUNE!! (Very often FORTUNE is disguised as misfortune!)

Think small rather than big. Get great things done by thinking small.

Come to grips with the radical notion that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! What I have is ENOUGH!

See yourself in everyone you encounter. Leave your EGO at the door.

Make COMPASSION the essential foundation of your personal philosophy.

Trust in your own greatness!!


A bit about me: anyone who knows my bookshelf (and my audio bookshelf) knows I love Wayne Dyer. I've read or listened to most of his books and re-read or re-listen to them often. This is my favorite one, as of today. Here he applies his trademark straightforward, humorous, and totally liveable approach to the Tao. Wonderful advice & wisdom. It's not HIS "wisdom" that I love, but his way of breaking down the Tao and explaining it in ways that are useful and likeable, and most of all, memorable. I find myself repeating paragraphs to myself throughout the day - a good sign of a great book.


this book arrived as a gift from a far away client...I don't believe she had any idea that I have been a dedicated student of the TAO te Ching for 38 years and that I collect translations. Dr. Wayne Dyer has created a thoroughly researched and thoughtful text for anyone interested in using the TAO as a life path.