This book is a remarkably comprehensive guide for the modern practicing Taoist. It stands alone among the numerous volumes published on this pragmatic religion/philosophy for this very reason: it is not just another commentary on the works of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, but rather a treatise on how the actual living philosophy has been applied to daily life for over 2500 years. Deng Ming Dao has accomplished a bit of a miracle here, for he has synthesized an admittedly confusing tangle of ancient Chinese Taoist traditions (many of them contradictory) and has presented the essence of the ancient wisdom and practices for the contemporary reader. Deng, like most Taoists, is a realist: he urges the practitioner to attain a level of absolute and "effortless" mastery (Wu Wei) in whatever endeavor he/she undertakes in this life ON THIS PHYSICAL PLANE. This is accomplished through persistent practice and daily focus...Taoism is NOT about "going with the flow", but rather about following the path of the heart without giving in to societal pressures or feelings of doubt. The Way has typically been walked by the "rugged individualists" of the world, NOT those who follow the herd. This is the uncompromising quest for perfection, and this perfection can only be attained if the individual is healthy in mind, body, and spirit, all of which Deng sees as being totally interdependent: one with a sick body can not have a healthy mind and one with an underdeveloped mind can not benefit from a healthy body. Hence, the intellectual must not have disdain for physical workouts and the athlete must not shun books. Indeed, roughly half of the book concerns itself with physical health: herbology and qigong breathing/stretching exercises are lucidly described. In regard to herbal remedies, Deng stresses prevention of maladies through the use of herbs as opposed to their uses as cures for diseases (in which case, he tells us, we must naturally turn to the aid of licensed physicians). I should note here that you will probably need to order many of the herbs that Deng reccommends through mail order if you do not live in an area with a "Chinatown" (addresses for mail order herb outfits are provided). The Way of the scholar warrior is a difficult one and it is not for everybody, but for those who wish to "be all that they can be" and who are willing to "just do it" (isn't this the whole essence of the Tao Te Ching?), I highly reccommend this book as a ready guide.
I had the good fortune to study with Deng Ming-Dao under Kwan Sai-Hung. I've had intimate conversations with both of them. The material covered in the book Scholar Warrior is an excellent book for those curious about Tao and the Taoist way of life.
The topics include Qigong, Taoist exercises, Herbal broths, pointers on seeking a qualified master, and Taoist philosophy.
If you're interested in real Tao and not just intellectual theory then this is definetly a good read!