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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewels from the Socrates of Hip Hop
Originally posted on my blog, Hip Hop Is Read (Oct. 13, 2009):

On "Uzi (Pinky Ring)" from the Iron Flag album, The RZA said something about a "Wu Library". Was this what he had in mind?

Behind the allure of their esoteric lyricism and imagery, there's vast depth behind the Wu-Tang Clan's interest in kung fu films, chess and comic books, as well as...
Published on October 16, 2009 by Ivan Rott

versus
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars RZA is a cool guy, not an author
I was really, really excited to get this book after seeing all the positive reviews. But unfortunately, there's very, very little of value contained inside.

The book spends a whole lot more time telling you how awesome RZA is (which we already know to be true, no?), and very little time attempting to actually impart any wisdom on the reader. The book gives...
Published on January 15, 2011 by Biscuit Face


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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewels from the Socrates of Hip Hop, October 16, 2009
By 
Ivan Rott (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Hardcover)
Originally posted on my blog, Hip Hop Is Read (Oct. 13, 2009):

On "Uzi (Pinky Ring)" from the Iron Flag album, The RZA said something about a "Wu Library". Was this what he had in mind?

Behind the allure of their esoteric lyricism and imagery, there's vast depth behind the Wu-Tang Clan's interest in kung fu films, chess and comic books, as well as their ties to the Five-Percent Nation, Eastern philosophy and the boroughs of New York from which they hail. There's nothing kitschy about these now hipster-standard cultural elements that were once an avant-garde, new angle to the hip hop world and, especially, mainstream America. If textbook rules applied, the Wu-Tang Clan would have either dissolved into the depths of underground obscurity or retooled their image to satisfy commercial norms. Through The RZA's vision, however, the Clan held steadfast to their distinctiveness and stormed through the industry with a divide and conquer strategy.

RZA's new book, The Tao of Wu, discusses the various steps and influences that paved his road to success (in music and in life), the roadblocks that tested his discipline, and the jewels of knowledge he's gathered along the way. Loaded with the terminology and precepts of The Universal Language, The Tao of Wu is definitely intended for Wu-Tang fans and folks familiar with the concepts of the Five-Percenters; but anybody with an interest in music and the game of life, eccentric as RZA's story may seem, can glean much from The Tao of Wu.

As the book's jacket suggests, The Tao of Wu bares resemblance to Hermann Hesse's cult classic Siddhartha. RZA's tales, much like those of the young Siddhartha, are framed as a coming of age story with key parables and glimpses of enlightenment. RZA's narrative, of course, is nonfictional; thus The Tao of Wu is part Wu-Tang fact book and, mostly, part memoir. RZA retraces the roots that led him to music and philosophy all the way back to his early years. It was his days as a child in North Carolina after all - with his Mother Goose rhyme-reciting uncle Hollis - that cultivated the inspiration behind the Gravediggaz and 6 Feet Deep.

Even the most well-versed of Wu-Tang fans will appreciate The Tao of Wu's trove of never-before-told tales. RZA digs deep into Supreme Mathematics and the sutras of Buddhist scripture, establishing his pillars of wisdom; he equates the historic destruction of the Shaolin monastery with the 1996 flood that wrecked his 36 Chambers studio in Staten Island (a.k.a. Shaolin), an incident that caused Ghostface's Iron Man album to sound different from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Liquid Swords (a fact that never occurred to me until I read this book); he recounts both the weapons charge case he faced and Method Man's near-death experience, both of which could have easily wiped out the Wu-Tang Clan from existence; he picks out various hip hop phrases like "get in where you fit in" and "it's all good" and traces their Buddhist origins (seriously). RZA even cites Malcolm Gladwell's `10,000 Hour Rule', the point at which mastery in any field is presumably attained, and identifies the moment when he reached this peak in his quest to perfect his production skills.

The Wu-Tang Manual, The RZA's previous book and first in this series of Wu-literature, was a valuable collection of facts - a primer on the foundation of the Clan. The Tao of Wu, however, goes deeper into the brain of The RZA and as such is a more absorbing reading experience. If you liked The Wu-Tang Manual, you'll really enjoy The RZA's follow-up. (Even Cornel West gives it a thumbs-up!) The Tao of Wu is written in a conversational style that's both easy to digest but difficult to put down. It's a light read, but the more spiritual-based aspects of the book may take you some time to reflect. The section on Ol' Dirty Bastard's passing was particularly stirring. In reading The Tao of Wu, I gained a better appreciation for RZA's work - specifically the depth of his lyricism. And if you ever had a doubt as to why The RZA, aside from being the Wu-Tang Clan's chief producer, is heralded as the group's leader, The Tao of Wu will make that unmistakably clear. I highly recommend The Tao of Wu to Wu-Tang fans and the uninitiated alike. Bong, bong!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proteck ya neck, October 19, 2009
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This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Hardcover)
RZA...
What can you say about the zig zag ziggala. One of the all time great minds in hop-hop. One thing that really sets him apart he never hesitates to state his business and mind. Even when what he has done was not "in style" he makes people rethink what in style is. He is always on another plane. It will be a while before any MC in hip-hop could put down some text like this. MC's and producers on his level are so so rare. Think how empty hip-hop is today. You could break down 97% of rappers flows in a paragraph. You can fill volumes with the science of the Wu. This book sheds light on concepts, ideas, and the background of the Wu that any fan will appreciate. People that think rap has no redeeming value this book would be an eye opener. I thought I was a die hard Wu fan but I was learning new things on almost every page. A must have for anyone from true to the wu or new to the wu. This will change more then how you think about hip hop. R.I.P. ODB
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the RZA shines in all formats, March 7, 2010
By 
Miguel (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Hardcover)
I have been an avid fan of the RZA and his compadres in the Wu Tang Clan for about fifteen years and he has never ceased to impress me both with his creativity and unique insight, an insight he has gained by living through hard years and a vision he has possessed since his early days. This book is a spoken version of his raps throughout his career. For those who are not huge rap fans and have a bit of a hard time with the intensity that comes across on Wu Tang albums this book serves as a comparable alternative. It reads in a way that makes you imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop with the RZA and asking him what makes up the essence of his being, as well as what inspired him and his peeps to create the awesome material that they have been putting on vinyl for almost two decades. He comes across as a very accessible, modest and friendly personalty and has the ability to relate on a very basic human level. He successfully fuses African American with East Asian, whether in the realm of life, death, mystic concepts, or pop culture references. He is also distinctly American in the sense that he embodies one of our greatest qualities, that of molding various cultures together to form a new cultural hybrid. I sincerely hope I get the opportunity to chat with him one day and strongly recommend this book to people of all walks of life.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars RZA is a cool guy, not an author, January 15, 2011
By 
This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Paperback)
I was really, really excited to get this book after seeing all the positive reviews. But unfortunately, there's very, very little of value contained inside.

The book spends a whole lot more time telling you how awesome RZA is (which we already know to be true, no?), and very little time attempting to actually impart any wisdom on the reader. The book gives vague references to lessons, or to Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom and their relation to Food, Shelter and Clothing but it never ties them together in any coherent way. The book is basically a vehicle for the RZA to tell how he came from difficult beginnings to be a megastar. Which is a good motivator, and a positive example to be sure... but the book takes itself so seriously and comes off with such an amount of pseudo-intellectual ego that it's kind of embarrassing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Memoirs From A Wu Tang General, May 13, 2011
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This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Hardcover)
This was a fast and entertaining read from front to back. There were many stories told that made my eyes get large in certain areas. One story that jumped out was when Method Man was about to walk into this building until the RZA called his name to talk to him about forming the Wu Tang Clan. Just seconds after being called over, shots are fired within the building that Method Man was about to walk into. Unfortunately, a good hearted man that RZA and Meth knew was killed in that spot, during the shooting. RZA goes on to say that Method Man thanked RZA for saving his life. Stories like this are scattered throughout the book along with countless jewels of wisdom. The book is a nice pre-cursor to various forms of culture and religious ideals, however, to get a better understanding you may want to research them in more depth that the book can't provide. This book is certainly worth seeking out!
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, March 27, 2011
This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Hardcover)
While I was very excited to discover this book, after reading it I must say it isn't really what I expected.

I figured this would be a cool introduction to Taoist teachings, (a sort of Tao of Pooh for the modern homeboy, if you will.) Now as the RZA explains early in the book Taoism doesn't prevent one from integrating teachings from other belief systems, but RZA talks more about Islam, Christianity and numerology throughout the whole book. Halfway through I resigned myself to the fact this wasn't the intro to Taoism I thought it would be and read it as a sort of biography of RZA and his interesting personal version of spirituality, which somewhat helped redeem it.

Recommended if you're interested in learning more about Wu Tang and RZA, less so if you're interested in learning about Taoism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tao of Wu Review-WIA, November 22, 2013
This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Paperback)
Recently I finished reading the book “The Tao of Wu” by Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, also famously known as the hip/hop Wu-Tang Clan producer “The RZA.”
As the book is classified in the music/spiritual genre by the publishers, I was naturally a bit skeptical at first; but, by the end of the book I was honestly blown away. The Tao of Wu is an intelligent novel and reflects upon the wisdom that is held by The RZA, perhaps wisdom not paralleled by most men today.
The book opens up to RZA’s explanation of his early life and his past. He recounts many learning experiences on his way to becoming a producer and remembers the vivid struggle of the hoods of New York, living in poverty stricken neighborhoods where he would cause havoc and adopt incredible unique intellect with his friends.
RZA later moves on to more serious motives and debates his actions as a child, looking back on his experience with his wisdom today. He certainly doesn’t regret any of his decisions but he evaluates how the ultimately affected his life and so on.
In the end, he wraps up the book with a more spiritual focus and encourages the reader to live with “true consciousness of self,” which appears to be a reoccurring motif in the book. There are many motifs like this in the book that makes the reader question their own lifestyle and ponder whether they have this “super-consciousness.”
This book was a pleasant surprise and was an awesome read; I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who likes hip/hop or just wants a good to book to sit down and relax with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book brought da ruckus, October 25, 2013
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This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Paperback)
If someone asked me to sum this book up in one word id tell them no single word can describe how amazing the tao of wu. You don't have to be a wu tang fan to read this. This book is for any and everyone. Even kids. After all "every book is a kids book if the kid can read."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy, January 6, 2011
This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Paperback)
I've recently became a Huge, Huge Chuck Palahniuk fan and have been reading all of his books. When I got this one as a gift I loved it and It really does deserve 5 stars and more but coming off a Palahniuk binge, this book gave me chills and kinda bummed me out a little being that compared to Palahniuk's eccentricities and dark humor this book is heavy as hell. Not to mention I had just finished the book Haunted by Palahniuk and then without missing a beat went straight into this and read 60 pages nonstop. Anyway back on topic this book is amazing! RZA is one of the most intelligent and enlightened people in the world and even if your not a fan of hip hop or The Wu which I am, you can relate to most of the things in this book and find a message. GREAT READ! BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Enjoyable, April 25, 2010
This review is from: The Tao of Wu (Hardcover)
I found the Publisher's Weekly "review" a bit condescending. The RZA is a very deep brother, and I highly enjoyed reading his insights and his very interesting view of the world. That's what it's about, right? Not judging someone else's experiences because we all have unique paths through life that we travel. This is an excellent read, especially for younger people who may be on a search for understanding their own lives. I am NOT saying that this book has that, but it will point them toward the philosophies and influences that helped the author. I was quite moved by the chapter in which RZA described his feelings about losing ODB.

Overall, a terrific book and I hope that more will be written in the near future by this absolutely fascinating individual.
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The Tao of Wu
The Tao of Wu by The RZA (Paperback - November 2, 2010)
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