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on 15 September 2000
This book is perfect for martial artists and writers alike. The descriptions of the techniques although sometimes limited with the phrase you need to train to understand properly, are perfect for picturing and acting upon. Not really the business manual the office jockies may be looking for, but perfect for those seeking greater insight into the mind of such a successful warrior.
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on 27 April 2016
Brilliant book very insightful and give you a real look at the life of Miyamoto as well as the Samurai class of the period. Really recommend this book not only to martial artists but to anyone who studies Japanese history and philosophy.
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on 31 December 2013
Enjoyed it but felt that it was hard work at times. Could have covering script due to the age and time the book has been about, as with Gibbons book on Rome. Critical comment by another scholar would have helped.

Thanks
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on 4 March 2010
Apart from anything else, this book is very interesting. As a tool, it is useful as far as you can apply mostly sword/battle-specific stratagems to a wider use.
For me, I believe the stratagies suggest a winning state of mind or feeling, alluded to as 'The Way'.
I enjoyed this book!
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on 18 July 2016
The content is very useful and I promise you, it is relevant to all types of leadership. I'm a teacher and the principles of distribution of leadership to the students, managing what a child can and can't do and those in my team are all there. The quality of the paper is disappointing and I'm not sure how long it will last.
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on 1 September 2013
This is a very accessible translation,but for that reason i found it harder to get a sense of the wider implications of the teaching.I think it is a good reference point,but for me the earlier translations,pitched at 80's businessmen,when this book was flavour of the month are actually more useful.That surprised me.It is a good starting point or addition and probably perfect for anyone just casually interested.
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on 1 July 2007
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.

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".
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on 1 July 2007
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.

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".
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 July 2007
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. Thomas Cleary 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"
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`A Book of Five Rings' (aka The Book of Five Rings) is Musashi's book of martial arts strategy and it has now become a classic for martial arts practitioners and also businessmen over the years.

This starts with an introduction by the translator with a brief biography of Musashi and some info to the put the book into context.

You then move onto the book itself which offers up plenty of advice and knowledge about Musashi's strategy of sword fighting (called Kendo here, but also known as Iaido and other terms). The entries can be interpreted on a number of levels, be it the simple ideas taken at face value or the deeper philosophy behind them. This book can be read many times and you can gain something new each time. This is broken up into five sections (hence the title) which are Ground, Water, Fire, Wind and Void and these cover topics as diverse as stance, mindset, competing schools of martial arts and more besides.

This also has numerous pages of calligraphy and Japanese woodblock prints which greatly add to the aesthetics and overall feel of the book. If you have an interest in martial arts, Samurai or Japan in general then is worth a read at some point and it would quite happily sit alongside other Japanese martial arts classics like `Hagakure' and `Bushido' on your bookshelf.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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