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Author: Miyamoto Musashi
Genre: Popular Culture
Rights: UK & Commwealth
Pub. Date: 20th August 2012
THE DEFINITIVE TRANSLATION
Including artwork by Musashi himself
Japan’s business executives have long applied Musashi’s teachings to their business methods. This book – the original life-guide by Japan’s greatest warrior – means you can do so too.
Written in 1645 by the most famous and unconquerable of all samurai, A Book of Five Rings is the classic guide to Kendo swordsmanship and a distillation of the philosophies of Zen, Shinto and Confucius.
The West is now discovering what the Japanese have always known: that the ancient wisdom of the Samurai Way provides a strategy for decision and action in all areas of life – the home, the battleground and the boardroom.
'"A Book of Five Rings" is a philosophical treatise, originally aimed at the wandering Samurai warrior class. As such, it's perspective is very much from the one of individual combat; relevant for dealing with rivals or competitors in business. Hence, the insights are mainly into strategy and tactics for competition. Most useful as a contextual backdrop against which to set modern business challenges for the individual.
Insightful quote - a challenge to anybody that thinks they have strategy worked out: "There is no warrior in the world today who really understands the Way of Strategy". p27'Jonathan
'The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho) is a GREAT book, if you take time to properly absorb and understand ALL of its teachings. It's not a very long book and so would be easy to read a few times over so that you get a proper flavour of the important message being presented. Victor Harris is a prolific writer and well qualified to produce such a translation.
A better and easier to digest version (IMHO) of this small book is "Samurai Strategies: 42 Martial Secrets" by by Boye De Lafayette Mente, who very cleverly summarises this book into 42 easy to digest and understand and apply chapters.
The ideas in this book are NOT dangerous to anyone in the least, IF you balance and apply ALL of the lessons within it - that's the idea that the great undefeated warrior Musashi was trying to put across. The life saving principles he expounds here are designed to help us all have a better, easier and more fulfilled life, Martial Artist or not. His strategies can be applied and used by anyone.
"A knife is dangerous for anyone - you just have to learn how to use is safely & intelligently"
We are all so lucky & truly blessed that, nearly 400 years ago, someone called Lord Hosokawa had the foresight to ask the ageing Musashi to write down his secrets of success. Musashi himself was not only extremely talented but must have been a very intelligent man for his time to write such a treatise.
The comment (else ware) about this book not being for beginners is misleading I think, it isn't that hard to understand and extrapolate the true meaning and intentions that Musashi was trying to put across.
Don't be put off by ANY of the negative criticisms (in other reviews), it's only because they've missed the point or just quickly scanned & glossed over the book.
Although we are not entirely certain of Musashi's religious bent, Musashi bases his book [loosely] on the Zen Buddhist philosophies of the Five Elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Wind & Emptiness. One of his close associates was Takuan Soho, author of "The Unfettered Mind"'Terry Tozer
'I first borrowed this book from my Sensei about ten years ago and his copy was an old copy (hardback tenth printing 1970's) and it fascinated me. It is a philosophical book, written by Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most feared Samurai of his time. This undefeated warrior who killed his first man when he was just 12 years old shares his thoughts and feelings in great depth on the strategy of not only martial arts and kendo but on the strategy of life. The lessons in this book can be used not only in every day life but taken to a business perspecive. I would say of all the martial arts books I have came across this one has the most meaning for me. I would also recommend trying to get an older copy as there are slight variations in the newer texts and some paintings Musashi did are omited but start with a new one if its all you can get. This book is deep and not an easy read unless you have time and a real passion for the Martial arts but anyone who starts it will never forget it. " If there is a way involving the spirit of not being defeated, to help oneself and gain honour, it is the way of strategy."'Mr. Tommy I. Opray