The only official website –- and, in all probability, the only factually correct website –- for the author Benjamin Hoff.
Benjamin Hoff is the author of The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet, both of which explain the Chinese philosophy of Taoism through the characters created by A.A. Milne, and The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow, his biography of fellow Oregon author and charismatic nature teacher Opal Whiteley. All three books were Book-of-the-Month Club selections. The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet were also selections of the Quality Paperback Book Club.
The Tao of Pooh –- an international bestseller and the first Taoist-authored book in history to appear on bestseller lists –- was on The New York Times’ bestseller list for 49 weeks. Its international-bestseller successor, The Te of Piglet, was on New York Times for 59 weeks.
Both books brought the previously obscure philosophy of Taoism to the attention of mainstream America. (For a couple of examples of how mainstream: The Tao of Pooh was the subject of a question in a TV Guide crossword puzzle; The Te of Piglet was the subject of a question on the television show “Jeopardy.”)
For years they have been used as high school and college texts for classes in a wide variety of subjects, including science, business, philosophy, literature, and world culture.
They have been publicly endorsed by notables such as English pop-philosophy author John Tyerman Williams, American marketing communication guru Michael Ray, Wall Street investment counselor and author Bennet Goodspeed, and popular screen actress Julia Roberts.
The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow, the book most often credited with the current worldwide interest in Opal Whiteley, won an American Book Award. It is the only book on Opal Whiteley popularly acknowledged as a “cult classic.”
In 2010, as part of the publisher’s 75th anniversary celebration, Penguin Books selected The Tao of Pooh to be one of the 75 books featured in the house’s printed promotion and public displays.
The descendant of two family lines of artists, engineers, and explorers, Benjamin Hoff has been a writer, an investigative photojournalist, a tree pruner, a songwriter, and a recording musician and singer. He has studied architecture, music, fine arts, graphic design, and Asian culture –- including Japanese Tea Ceremony (third certificate level), Japanese fine-pruning methods (two years of apprenticeship), and the comparatively esoteric martial-art form of T’ai Chi Ch’uan (four years of instruction, including a year of Ch’i Kung).
He attended Sylvan School, West Sylvan Middle School, Benson Polytechnic, Lincoln High School (the latter two in Portland), the University of Oregon in Eugene, the Museum Art School (now the Pacific Northwest College of Art) in Portland, and The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, from which he graduated with a B.A. degree.
From his father –- a scholar and collector of Asian art, and a close friend of the landscape painter Chiura Obata –- he gained a familiarity with and a love of Eastern ways; from his mother’s English/Irish/Welsh family background, he gained a familiarity with and a love of British literature and culture. These East/West influences eventually came together in the writing of The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet.
Benjamin Hoff enjoys playing classical guitar, composing music, photographing nature, and “improving things.” At present, he is designing a line of revolutionary solidbody electric guitars and speaker cabinets.
Benjamin Hoff is listed in Who’s Who in America, and is one of only 55,000 individuals selected from the populations of 215 nations and territories to be listed in Who’s Who in the World.
July 16, 2016
Was the major classic of Taoist philosophy, the 2400-year-old Tao Te Ching, written by the “Old Master” long credited with its authorship? Or was it composed instead by a young nobleman anxious to disguise his identity?
For three years, Benjamin Hoff has been working on a revolutionary translation of the enigmatic Tao Te Ching, the “Way Virtue Classic,” based on the ancient Chinese characters in use at the time the work was written – uncovering a world of meanings not brought to light in previous translations, and uncovering ample evidence that the classic’s author was someone entirely different from the old philosophy master (Lao Tzu) of legend.
Benjamin Hoff is unusually qualified to bring a fresh perspective to the triple tasks of deciphering the Tao Te Ching, creating a truly new interpretation of it, and making its statements understandable to others. In childhood and adolescence, he was fascinated by code making and breaking, and avidly studied books on codes and ciphers written by experts in the field. Eventually giving up his dream of becoming an FBI cryptanalyst, he became drawn to Asian Studies, especially those concerning the nature-centered Chinese philosophy of Taoism. When he decided to make a thorough study of the Tao Te Ching and the original characters, his long-dormant knowledge of cryptanalysis started coming back to him:
“I thought I knew the Tao Te Ching. But as I studied the ancestors of the long-after-the-fact brush-written Chinese characters and applied their often-very-different definitions, I soon realized that what I had known was largely a collection of illusions. Line by line, chapter by chapter, I discovered a text and an author I hadn’t realized existed.”
Interested publishers may contact Benjamin Hoff at: P. O. Box 527, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Benjamin Hoff has not authorized any e-book editions of any of his books. Any company or organization that states or implies that it has his authorization for its e-book editions of his work is lying as well as stealing. Anyone purchasing or downloading any e-book editions of these books is violating the author’s rights.
It has now been two months since I sent a letter to Penguin’s legal counsel recapturing my copyright to The Tao of Pooh. I have as yet received no reply, no acknowledgment. I do, however, have proof that the letter was sent, and proof by signature that it was received.
It has now been more than six years since I have received any reader or professional mail forwarded to me by Penguin. If the acquiring of my mail requires that a lawsuit be carried out in order to obtain it, I by now have ample evidence that mail sent to me in care of Penguin is not being forwarded (see my author update of October 8, 2015).
The theft of U.S. mail is a Federal offense. The destruction of U.S. mail is a Federal offense. Ultimately, Penguin’s confiscation of reader and professional mail will result in the destruction of its reputation as a respected publisher of significant books by noteworthy authors. Will whatever Penguin is attempting to achieve by freezing out this long–selling author prove to have been worth the effort?
Updated December 15, 2016
By the end of this month, it will have been six years since I’ve received any reader mail forwarded to me by Penguin. The publisher continues to fail to take me seriously, treat me with respect, or even send me my mail.
For an example of what I mean by failing to treat me with respect: When The Tao of Pooh was chosen as one of the 75 books selected to represent Penguin’s 75 years of publishing for their 75th anniversary celebration, I learned of its inclusion on the list from an answering-machine message left by an assistant to someone-or-other at Penguin. I received no official notification, no congratulatory letter, no 75th-anniversary poster or any of the other memorabilia created for the media and for public displays in New York. I learned of the memorabilia and displays after-the-fact from someone who had no connection with Penguin. When I then wrote to the president of Penguin asking if she could send me a poster, I received a vinyl shopping bag on which were pictured the spines of the 75 books – the only item, her enclosed letter explained, that had been left over from the celebration.
As the following communication indicates, I’ve decided that enough of this treatment is enough.
- October 8, 2015
By the end of December, it will have been five years since I’ve received any reader mail forwarded to me by Penguin USA (now Penguin Publishing Group, part of Penguin Random House). However, I’ve been receiving reader mail every week at the P.O. box listed on this website – letters, books, DVDs, etc. Some people say they have sent letters to me in care of Penguin as well as to the P.O. box listed below. Those sent to the P.O. box have arrived; those sent to me by way of Penguin have not.
- November 15, 2013
Although it is approaching three years now since I've received any forwarded reader mail from Penguin USA, Penguin continues to insist that the reason is that no one is sending any mail to me in care of Penguin. Readers generally aren't sending letters to authors anymore, they say. (And no books? And none of the other interesting things that readers send to authors?) People are sending mostly e-mails now, says Penguin, not letters. (Does that mean that people are sending e-mails to me in care of Penguin USA? Hmmm.)
If I remember correctly, I began voicing my concerns to Penguin about a suspiciously small quantity of forwarded reader mail when paperback editions of The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet were both occupying positions on The New York Times' bestseller list (1993-1994) -- at least I had done so by the time I was listed as one of the top bestselling paperback authors of 1994. E-mail had not exactly caught on in l994.
If you have sent mail in any form to me in care of Penguin USA, please let me know by writing to:
P. O. Box 527
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me in this matter.