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Born Strong: Dr Lam's memoir


Product Description

In 1948, Dr Paul Lam's mother left him in the care of his grandmother in China.  Ten months old at the time, Dr Lam - whose given Chinese name is Bon Trong, meaning "born to be strong" - grew up under the cruel Communist regime of Mao Zedong and nearly perished during the Great Famine.  After escaping from China, studying in Hong Kong, and finally settling in Australia, Dr Lam won a scholarship to study medicine.

Malnutrition left Dr. Lam with severe osteoarthritis.  He found that tai chi not only helped him manage the condition, the ancient practice improved every aspect of his life.  Dr Lam's burning passion to help others led him to create the Tai Chi for Health programs, where he combined his Western and Chinese medical knowledge with modern teaching methods.  More than five million people worldwide practice his Tai Chi for Health programs.

"An inspiring and engaging personal story of healing and Tai Chi, written by a physician and Tai Chi master leading the integration of Tai Chi into healthcare worldwide" - Peter Wayne, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and author of "The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi"

"This is the story of a man who has to rise above the chasm of death and impossible odds to turn the centuries-old, esoteric Oriental art of Tai Chi into a Western-science-and-medicine-based system of healthcare that has deeply touched the lives of millions.  It is a fable of humility, struggle, and heartbreak, but above all, of selfless sacrifice, unconditional love, staunch courage, and unwavering tenacity.  An inspirational read...." - Andy Choo, PhD, FAA.  Professor of biomedical genetics, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; Tai Chi teacher and researcher.

  • Watch Dr Lam's introductory video clip
  • Discover the message hidden in the cover design

The cover photo is Dr Lam performing the Sun style tai chi form "Leisurely Tying Coat". The movement means Dr Lam is offering to share the secret to health and wellness through his own experience.

The logo on his shirt is the official logo of the Tai Chi for Health Institute - the green colour denotes trees, while brown is earth. The illustration is based on Dr Lam performing "Single Whip" another Sun style form meaning balance and inner strength. The logo implies that we, the people involved with the Tai Chi for Health vision, are tree farmers sowing seeds of health and wellness wherever we go. The color blue of the shirt represents the sky.

This is also why brown and green are the theme colours used on the cover.

Dr Lam's surname means "forest" in Chinese. One can imagine he was 'born strong' to create forests around the world; all his challenges have strengthened him to do the job.

Product Reviews

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  1. Humbling 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 13th Oct 2023

    Coincidentally we were born in the same year. Growing up I was totally unaware of the Chinese environment, political upheavel and living conditions of the majority of the population. Being from a reasonably large family (7 children, 2 parents & 1 aunt) my health & education had no serious issues. Although having epilepsy, for which the family doctor suggested learning some form of movement to gain strength & confidence. Ballet at a very low level was the only option in a country town. Many years later having had a few years of ballroom dancing & yoga it was past time to do something more sustainable.
    I found tai chi for seniors being offered at the local community centre, focusing on strength, balance & breathing, Perfect.
    Being invited to learn to be an instructor, more indepth study has brought new insights to health, wellbeing, mindfulness & support for other seniors. Thank you, Dr Lam for you inspiration,

  2. Share the inspiration and motivation 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 19th Apr 2021

    I first purchased Born Strong in January 2021. After reading it I didn't put it in the bookcase! Rather I left it on the table beside the lounge. I find I regularly pick it up and read pages at random. It definitely helps my motivation to continue with regular practise of Tai Chi.
    I have since purchased a second copy and make it available for my friends to borrow. Hopefully, this will inspire and encourage them to either commence Tai Chi or for those who already enjoy it, to further explore the other forms and DVDs developed by Dr. Lam.
    Thank you for adding the personal aspect of Tai Chi. It certainly helps to feel more connected.
    Stay well and be happy.

  3. By coincidence 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 8th Jan 2021

    Recently I was attending an appointment with my skin specialist. The conversation went around to Tai Chi (I know.....quite unexpected in the circumstances). Dr Paul Lam's name came up. My doctor (who practices in regional northern NSW) told me they went to university together....all those years ago! As I have a number of Dr Lam's dvds I decided to purchase the book, Born Strong, to learn more about the lifestory.
    Wow! It has totally inspired me to focus on my Tai Chi in a more sensitive and appreciative way!
    I have renewed respect for this strong, yet so gentle man who has improved the life and health of so many of us. Thank you.

  4. Bon Trong 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Sep 2019

    Obviously your father was not mistaken. An inspirational book. Would love to see it come out as an audible book.

  5. Inspiring in a quiet way 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 23rd Nov 2018

    I bought this book after I had started using Dr Lam's "Tai Chi for Beginners" DVD out of curiosity more than anything else.

    Dr Lam's remarkable life story took me by surprise. From very humble beginnings on a trajectory doomed for failure, he turned his life into one of success and accomplishment. Truly inspirational but not in a "sound the trumpets" kind of way. Dr Lam's gentleness and humility shines through very clearly.
    Yet, he could not have achieved what he has without inner strength. "Born Strong" is the perfect title for his story.

    I highly recommend this book.

  6. Truly inspiring 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 12th May 2018

    Being a leader of a small group of senior citizens practicing Tai Chi for arthritis, I read a library copy of Born Strong with increasing humility and excitement. Now having my own copy it is loaned out to others as they express interest and will be placed in our community library eventually. A truly inspirational story.

  7. Paul Lam you are the most humble man i have ever met and your book is inspiring. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 7th Sep 2016

    This book made me cry in many parts however you rose above the hardships and became what you are today.

  8. An awe-inspiring lesson in resilience 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 10th Jun 2016

    A moving first-hand account of,for Westerners, the unimaginable hardship and suffering endured by many Chinese during the Great Famine under Mao Zedong, a perilous and hazardous escape from Communist China, the ensuing inevitable confrontation with culture clash through to the physical and mental effort required to build up an ever-expanding Tai Chi for Health community. Dr Lam demonstrates impressively that despite being faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, life´s challenges can be mastered with positivity, perseverance, commitment, courage and unconditional love. A truly inspirational read.

  9. INSPIRATION PLUS 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 23rd May 2016

    I recently attended a workshop with Dr Lam at Batemans Bay ( NSW) as I am a volunteer leader teaching approx 50 people each week in my small regional area. I was so inspired by Dr Lam and his gentle manner and humility I just had to purchase "Born Strong" and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading his life story, even though at times it was quite moving.What an inspiring man to have risen above so many obstacles in his life to become a world leader of men. It goes to show that if we set our mind to something we should at least give it a go, and always seek to improve our own life and the lives of the ones around us. I truly believe that he should be nominated for Australian of the Year.

  10. Born Strong 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 25th Feb 2016

    Wonderful book. Read it twice. A really inspirational story