Q&A with Derek Lin
Author of The Tao of Success
What inspired you to
write The Tao of Success?
the publication of my previous book, The
Tao of Daily Life, many readers have asked for a systematic and structured
way to cultivate the Tao. It did not take long for me to realize that there was
a tremendous amount of interest in this topic, and yet it had never been
How did you select the
stories for the book?
selected the stories that illustrated the teachings in the most practical,
understandable and memorable way. I wanted my readers to easily recall the
stories to mind when they encountered real-life situations that required the
application of Tao principles.
Many think of Taoism as
a philosophy of non-action. How do you reconcile the passive aspects of the Tao
with the book’s focus on action and success?
non-action of Taoism is a Western conception. In the authentic teachings of the
East, the Tao is seen as the optimal balance of the passive and the dynamic.
This is how sages are able to embody an effortless dynamism, with actions
similar to the movements of Tai Chi masters—graceful, unhurried, and yet
extremely effective. The goal of the book is to approach life and destiny in
the same way.
teachings forced me to reconsider the idea that one should have no set goals
and just let life happen. This, like the passivity of non-action, was not
something taught by the ancient sages. They saw goal-setting as a tool that one
could use skillfully, and they encouraged their students to set grand and
You’ve worked in a
variety of fields throughout your professional life. How has the Tao helped you
succeed in those fields?
is one Tao teaching that has helped me succeed in my professional life, and
that is the admonition against too much reliance on book knowledge. In every
field I have worked in, there is a gap between documentation and reality.
Magic happens when one is able to transform the static information on a written
page into living, dynamic wisdom through actual hands-on experience.
Which stories have had
the most impact on your own success?
a doubt, the story "The Farmer and the Hunter" (pg.148) had the most
impact on me. It is all about finding solutions by getting into alignment with other
people—a skill that often comes in handy in today's world.
What do you hope
readers take away from The Tao of Success?
than for the readers to take something away from The Tao of Success, I hope the book will take them away, on a
journey—a journey to discover, uplift and ultimately transform the self.
Lauren Reddy | 212-366-2851 | Lauren.Reddy@us.penguingroup.com