Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

Title: A Book of Five Rings: A Classic Guide to Strategy
Author: Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵)
Publisher: Gramercy (1988)
Original Publication Date: circa 1645
Pages: 96

Superb. Somehow when he speaks of the way, Star Wars' Jedi's way come into mind. However, I have yet to find a work that does not to pale in comparison with Sun Tzu's Art of War. A book of five rings talks about the way of the long sword (primary samurai sword), everything affecting it, and how, a successful master strategist could apply the "individual aspect to those of a battle of a ten to thousand warring individuals." I however miserably fail at this endeavor. I simply cannot visualize the acclaimed application of the contents to a full-scale battle (perhaps a veracious sign that I have not been born with the makings of a strategist). The book is rather concise in form and owing to the brevity and nature of the topic by which Musashi wrote, he could't have done any better. As in Musashi's words one must either "study this well" or "research diligently" to rationalize substantial parts of the work.
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