The I Ching: A Biography Rothdas book review RSS
3.0 Stars

While not as helpful as I would have liked, this book did at least do a good job of explaining the I Ching in a readable way to the layman audience. I picked up this book because, inspired by PKD and the like, I've been mulling over ways in which the I Ching could be used as a decision mechanic/source of randomness in games, and to do that I thought I should have a basic understanding of the thing. Which I never have had, despite bumping into it repeatedly over the years. And after reading this 250 page book on the I Ching, I can confidently say that I still don't understand it. :D The best I can say is that the I Ching can act like an extremely complex Rorschach test. It's not something that contains an answer, rather it's a prompt or spur to your own thought and meditation. Another description would be to say that it is the SE Asian version of the WarHammer franchise, a giant ball of ideas and fanfiction that has accreted over time while spreading and adapting to many different cultures and purposes. There were a few interesting tidbits here, but for the most part the political usage and cultural adaptations to the I Ching were unsurprising. One helpful thing I did learn was that a common way to use the I Ching was to take 2 readings, and then make the prediction based on the changes between the two readings. Which seems much more sensible to me. The single reading method that I'd always seen before this seemed like it ran into the newspaper-horoscope problem, where 12 or 64 possible answers just aren't enough to begin to cover every possible situation. 2^12 potential answers is much more plausible.