The Analects

I read this work in
both the
Ezra Pound
interpretation and
the more literal
Lau translation.   
Beginners would be
better served by Lau,
but might also want
to dip into Pound to
enjoy his more
dramatic renderings of
this ancient classic.  
During much of the long history of China, Confucius served as
the practical and worldly alternative to the more amorphous
currents of
Taoism and Buddhism.  We dare not call it a
religious work, perhaps not even a spiritual guide;  rather it
represents a repository of wisdom for cultivating an orderly
life.  And also a safe one.   In an era in which bloodshed and
war were constant realities, Confucius's advocacy of respect
for authority, humility and correct behavior served as much as
a guide for survival in this life, rather than for rewards in the
next one.  But Confucius is even more valuable for leaders
than followers, and the hordes of managers who read
with great reverence would perhaps be better served by this
timeless thinker, whose advice is perhaps a much-needed Art
of Peace to counter the ever popular
Art of War.  


Here you will find a useful essay by Thomas A. Wilson on how
Confucianism became entrenched and venerated throughout

Washington Post reports on Confucianism making a
comeback in modern day China.