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Reviews of The Original I Ching

"The Book of Changes has been translated into English a number of times, but Margaret Pearson's new translation stands out for its fidelity to the oldest and deepest layer of the text, cutting through centuries of later commentary. Her lucid explanations of the hexagram texts will be of great service to those who seek to use this ancient compendium of wisdom as a guide to introspection and self-cultivation in our own time."


John S. Major, independent scholar, former professor of East Asian

history at Dartmouth College, and translator of the Huainanzi


"Margaret Pearson provides a delightful and scholarly translation of what  may be the oldest self help book. In her hands, The Original I Ching, or  the Book of Changes, reveals a culture as richly relevant to us as are the cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome. Pithy, wise, and ever sensitive to context, the Book of Changes, in Pearson's translation, provides a new lens through which we can see the freshness of old things."


Terri Apter, Newnham College, Cambridge, 

author of The Myth of Maturity


"Her interpretation and translation is unique, not only in the sense that she has made a meaningful separation of the original text from the commentaries [that reflected the so-called Confucian and Daoist views of the world prevailing during the late Warring States or even Qin-Han period,] but also in the sense that she approaches the text with an ungendered and holistic perspective."


Xinzhong Yao, Director, King's China Institute, King's College London; Honorary President, Confucian Academy of Hong Kong



"Looks beneath the commentarial accretions to this text that are 

hostile to women to reveal a classic that both men and women can 

turn to for wisdom."


Anne Behnke Kinney, Professor of Chinese, University of Virginia;

Director, Traditions of Exemplary Women


Maintaining status quo enriches the few

June 1, 2015

Canberra Times ~ By Nicholas Stuart


It probably won't surprise anyone to discover that, instead of being guided by this column's steady stream of wise advice and brilliant prognostications, a remarkably large number of people seem to prefer to get their guidance from the horoscope. A couple of years ago an attempt to drop star signs from The Canberra Times resulted in a backlash. They were quickly restored. Everyone wants to know the future.


This probably explains why one of the earliest surviving texts is the I Ching, the Book of Changes. Written in China about 800BC, it's a guide to interpreting a throw of stalks (or sticks) or tossed coins. It helps people make better choices and it's simple. First, frame a question. Then toss the sticks or coins and generate numbers. Then consult the guide and apply the enigmatic phrases and images to your original question for guidance. Get started and you're soon hooked.


"Good fortune; success" - yes, I should eat that ice-cream! "Obstruction; stagnation" - probably not the right time to ask the editor for a raise, after all. Inappropriate examples, of course, because you'd never waste time consulting any oracle about questions to which the answer never changes. But the real point of the I Ching is that it isn't (really) fortune-telling - it's about framing questions in the right way.


Read the full article>


Spanish edition of Pearson's "I Ching" published

Jan. 15, 2015


Margaret Pearson, professor emerita of history, learned in 2014 that her book The Original I Ching (2011, Tuttle Publishing) was translated and published in a Spanish edition, I Ching Ancestral, by Albatros/Argentina in 2012.


Pearson will lead a discussion based on her scholarship and titled  “Starting the New Year Right:  Some Early Chinese Perspectives,” at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, in the Intercultural Center. The program is free and open to the public.


Pearson is the first woman with a PhD in Chinese history to translate I Ching, one of the world’s most influential books. Since its origin about 3,000 years ago, when it was used to guide the decision-making of kings and queens, it has become a compendium of wisdom used by people of many cultures and eras. Pearson’s groundbreaking translation was based on the text created during the first centuries of the Zhou Dynasty, on a study of documents showing how it was used in the dynasty, and on recent archaeological findings, to remove centuries of encrusted inaccuracies and better reveal I Ching’s core truths for today’s readers.


Read the full article> 



Learn about Margaret and her book with Andrew Hamlin of 

Northwest Asian Weekly


Read the full interview>


Select reviews from Amazon readers

Poetic and sensitive new translation of a venerable classic [5 STARS]


Dr. Pearson has gone back to the first sources of the I Ching and separated the actual text from commentaries that became intermingled over the centuries, making it hard to tell what was the original text and what was an opinion. The translation is done in a poetic manner and the inclusion of the images, although dating from a later period, really helps the reader to grasp the meaning. The text and commentaries are clearly separated. The introductory chapters place the I Ching very well in context without providing an overwhelming amount of detail.


Scholarly, yet pithy, graceful, and clear, this translation with its explanatory chapters makes my old Legge translation from 1882 look clunky and pedantic, not to mention confusing.

With a particular situation in mind, I used the I Ching in the classic way (Dr. Pearson explains how) and found my hexagram. It was amazing how it spoke to me and was just what I needed to read now!

Thank you, Dr. Pearson, for this labor of love.

Most Valuable Of the Yijing Guides [5 STARS]


Excellent for anyone interested in the Yijing (I Ching). I've had great success with Margaret's book on the Yijing. There are so many translations, guides, and scholarly editions out there, this one really reins in the heart of the book of change. We get a fantastic translation and comprehensive guide all in one not-so-thick book. 


Excellent Service and Timely Delivery [5 STARS]


At first perusal, I find the book to be very useful in furtherIng my study of Eastern Philosophy. Having been disconcerted over interpretations that can often denigrate the feminine aspect, finding a more direct translation without years of accretion coloring the original intent is enlightening. Cudos to Pearson for her work.



Decision making [5 STARS]


I heard Dr. Pearson talk about her translation of the I Ching at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. She was extremely well informed and humorous at the same time. Today with so much information coming at us from all directions, I found her help in making moral decisions with tools that are 3,000 years old very reassuring.




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