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Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy Hardcover – May 28, 1988

447 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“On Wall Street, when Musashi talks, people listen.” —Time

"I have some advice for American businessmen who are trying to figure out why the Japanese excel in business. Buy and study a copy of Musashi's A Book of Five Rings."-- George Lois, chairman of the board/creative director of Lois Pitts Gershon, New York
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy (May 28, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517415283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517415283
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (447 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Swing King on February 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This classic text deals with the delicate art of leadership, and was composed originally in 1643 by the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi. But this book isn't just for those involved in the martial arts, as the previous reviewer suggests, no far from it; it's for anyone who wants to enjoy the neverending wisdom contained within this text. Thomas Cleary's translation of Miyamoto's masterpiece is comprehensible, with an introduction that presents us readers with the spiritual backdrop of the warrior tradition that is vital for the rest that proceeds. This most up-to-date edition also embraces one more important Japanese text - "The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War" by Yagyu Munenori; here the book highlights insights of Zen and Taoism as they pertain to the way and life of the warrior. Enjoy the book! Cleary is a terrific translator.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Boyle on October 24, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The book appears at first to be written simply; it stated the obvious. Written at a time when perhaps things were simpler.

This is NOT a book to read in one sitting, though you easily could.

Read just a bit, then put it down and walk away. Allow what you have read to be mulled over in your mind.

The book is really complex. It contains secrets to living every day, for dealing with everyone you encounter no matter what their state of mind is. It contains secrets about how to do business.

The title is a translation. Like English, words can have multiple meanings. What is translated into the word "ring" can also be translated into "spheres" which I think is a more appropriate translation. The sphere is the most perfect thing in the universe. Beginning at a point and drawing the ring/sphere/circle you will get to a point where the line begins again upon itself. This is a key to understanding the book.

Cleverly written, it holds the knowledge to live at peace with the universe.

An excellent read and mental workout.
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97 of 109 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Everybody should read this book. That's all there is to it. Musashi takes the reader into a world filled to the brim with devotion, self-respect, disciplin, honesty and purity of thought. Even though this book was written by and for warriors and samurai, and in a completely different time and culture, it is a remarkabe source of inspiration for selv-developement. Musashi's teachings are concise and to the point. He uses phrases like "you must understand this" and "you must practice diligently" and explains only general, but unquestionable and fundamental, concepts of the Way of the Warrior. These guidelines are not directly applicable in our time and age, but what is applicable are the things this book contains about working with yourself. Striving to achieve improvement on the inside as well as the outside.
It would be a lie to say that this book is a "positive" book. Taken litterally it's about how to become an efficient, albeit enlightened, killer. The value of this book comes from reading between the lines, and let me tell you: Those lines could fill volumes.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Hardman on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What I prefer about Victor Harris's translation of Musashi Miyamoto's book is the fact that Harris has gone through exacting lengths not just to present an accurate translation in the context of a 17th-century samurai, but to present Musashi in his proper historical context. As opposed to every other English translation I have read, this one includes a chapter which gives a biography of Musashi, and shows many of his creations, such as paintings (including a self-portrait), tsuba (swordguards), etc. We can see where Musashi stayed, and what his grave looks like, etc. For clarity in understanding, this volume, along with the translation by Thomas Cleary, are the best. I should justify that by explaining that I practice martial arts--for those of you looking for a business oriented edition, there are several translations and interpretations out there which are geared towards your needs. For those of you involved in the practice of martial arts, sports, or with an interest in historical strategy texts, I heartily recommend this translation!
Whay does this book discuss? Musashi's masterpiece eschews practice, and decries vanity, ego, and "secrets". Musashi was a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, and the influence of Zen philosophy can be seen everywhere in his writing. This is however, definately a book on the strategy of swordsmanship, and not a treatis on religion. Musashi Miyamoto fought in a number of duels--back in the era of true challenge matches--when usually the victor was the man left living! The realities of his times, the fact that life was so cheap and had to be guarded fiercly, and that Musashi succeeded in doing this is what makes his writing even more precious. This was the book Musashi passed on to the students of his school, the unusual two-bladed Ni-to Ryu (two-sword school). For more on the historical Musashi Miyamoto, read Makoto Sugawara's excellent (non-fiction) "Lives of Master Swordsmen".
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Hardman on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What I prefer about Victor Harris's translation of Musashi Miyamoto's book "Go Rin no Sho" is the fact that Harris has gone through exacting lengths not just to present an accurate translation in the context of a 17th-century samurai, but to present Musashi to us in his proper historical context. As opposed to every other English translation I have read, this one includes an in-depth biography of Musashi prior to the translation, and shows many of his creations, such as paintings (including a self-portrait), tsuba (swordguards), etc. We can see where Musashi lived and practiced, what his grave looks like, etc. For clarity and understanding, this volume, along with the translation by Thomas Cleary, are the best. I should justify that by explaining that I practice martial arts--for those of you looking for a business oriented edition, there are several translations and interpretations out there which are geared towards your needs. For those of you involved in the practice of martial arts, sports, or with an interest in historical strategy texts, I heartily recommend this translation!
Whay does this book discuss? Musashi's masterpiece eschews practice, and decries vanity, ego, and "secrets". Musashi was a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, and the influence of Zen philosophy can be seen everywhere in his writing. This is however, definately a book on the strategy of swordsmanship, and not a treatis on religion. Musashi Miyamoto fought in a number of duels--back in the era of true challenge matches--when usually the victor was the man left living! The realities of his times, the fact that life was so cheap and had to be guarded fiercly, and that Musashi succeeded in doing this is what makes his writing even more precious. This was the book Musashi passed on to the students of his school, the unusual two-bladed Ni-to Ryu (two-sword school). For more on the historical Musashi Miyamoto, read Makoto Sugawara's excellent (non-fiction) "Lives of Master Swordsmen".
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