There are many interpretations of the Tao Te Ching as well as differences of opinion on the true author of it. Even the spelling of the title itself differs depending on what source you are looking at. The book was written around the 4th to 6th century BC. Most believe that the author was an ancient sage that was called Lao-tzu (even his name has different spellings depending on where you look). Lao-Tzu actually means “old man”, so his real name is not known.
The book contains 81 short verses that touch on most areas of human existence.
It was written in Classical Chinese, which is difficult to understand even for native speakers of the Chinese language. That is why there are so many different translations and spellings.