The Book of Five Rings


ePUB | 545 KB | 60 Pages

The Book of Five Rings ePUB

Miyamoto Musashi’s Go Rin no Sho or the book of five rings, is considered a classic treatise on military strategy, much like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Chanakya’s Arthashastra. The five “books” refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described by Buddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. Through the book Musashi defends his thesis: a man who conquers himself is ready to take it on on the world, should need arise.

Review

Immediately Applicable and Relatable for anyone studying strategy or training themselves to find and leverage advantage in their

Reviewed in the United States on May 30, 2017
I would place Musashi-san’s Book of the Five Rings on par with classical teachers like Sun Tzu, Laozi. His book lacks detail compared to some of the classics, but that is one of its strengths. He spends approximately 1/6th of the short book on the movements and tactics for sword-fighting, which may be of varying value to readers – depending on their interest on the subject.

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” places emphasis on large scale military operations; which lends itself to modern business (in the mind of the reader, and in many modern expositions on a domain-by-domain basis) – supply chains, market saturation, globalization, operational budgeting, etc., Musashi-san’s “Way” is likewise applicable. Musashi-san focuses on large scale and small scale (individual) battle, offering useful comparisons and contrasts. For me, the individual focus was extremely insightful and personal. It may suit individuals who have situations of high responsibility or discretion (e.g., negotiations, debate, martial arts, software development), or cases where an individual does not have an abundance of resources or allies – and opportunity is gained through competition.

The book is highly quotable, and I found myself reading this short <100 page book over a month’s time because every few pages gave me something to think about, research, mull over, and discuss. Almost paradoxically, his vagueness and insistence that the reader practice, research, and train builds toward a thesis – “By learning one thing, one should know 10000 (myriads).”

As a retired IT person and CIS college instructor – my lesson on any topic was not to memorize procedures or things easily looked up in technical references; but principles, how information flows, how to identify processes (and problems in them), to detect the presence of patterns, or put simply “How is this problem or system similar or different from others you’ve encountered. I wish I had known about this book sooner, as he does an excellent job demonstrating this approach to learning.

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