Richard Wilhelm is the author of possibly the best-known western translation of the deeply mysterious Chinese classic , I Ching, the Book of Changes. He was born in Germany in 1873 and initially studied theology. In 1895 he was ordained as a Protestant minister and in 1899 he moved to China to become a missionary, but in the end he never converted a single Chinese, at least according to his own words.

Soon after arriving in China he started studying Chinese in order to better communicate with the locals, and he translated his first Chinese book to English in 1905. While studying the language he was introduced to Chinese spirituality and became very interested in it. In 1911 he met a Chinese sage called Lao Nai-hsuan who became his mentor in his studies.

Wilhelm began the translation of I Ching in 1913 and it took him ten years, until 1923. The next year he returned to Germany and lived in Germany until his death in 1930. While there he spent his time lecturing and teaching Chinese philosophy, although initially his work was met with skepticism. But some very respected people were impressed by Wilhelm, especially Carl Jung, and they helped to make his work better known. In addition to the I Ching, Richard Wilhelm his also known for his translations of other Chinese books, including the Secret of the Golden Flower

While Wilhelm's translation of I Ching is really great, it should be remembered that it almost always emphasizes the grandiose and de-emphasizes the everyday. But if you read it with that in mind, it is surprising how much insight this book contains.