Francois Cheng was born in 1929 in Shangdong Province, China. He moved to France in 1949 and was elected to the Academie Francaise in 2002. Cheng is a poet, novelist, calligrapher, and translator. In the five elegant essays of this philosophical work, the author examines the place and importance of beauty in a world convulsed by war, violence, and natural and ecological disasters.

In the first meditation, Cheng salutes the fact that each being exudes a presence and is inhabited by the capacity for beauty, and especially by the "desire for beauty." In the second, he explores the special ways in which beauty evokes both the memory of it in the past and the yearning for it in the future. In the third, Cheng admonishes us to savor not only the beauty of nature but also the beauty of the human soul. He reminds us that goodness is beautiful and is a character quality that must be cherished.

In the fourth meditation, Cheng probes artistic and religious fascination with beauty as advent, interconnection, and revelation. The final meditation sums up the mysterious and the sacred dimensions of beauty. The Way of Beauty opens our eyes afresh to this precious resource in our lives.