Overview

Along with Sun Tzu's The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings is considered to be one of the most insightful texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory to emerge from Asia. Composed in 1643 by the famed duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings analyzes the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was a mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess—and it is this path to...
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The Book of Five Rings

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Overview

Along with Sun Tzu's The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings is considered to be one of the most insightful texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory to emerge from Asia. Composed in 1643 by the famed duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings analyzes the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was a mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess—and it is this path to mastery that is the core teaching in The Book of Five Rings. This brilliant manifesto is written not only for martial artists but for anyone who wants to apply the timeless principles of this text to their life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834827868
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/15/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 128,974
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

William Scott Wilson is the foremost translator into English of traditional Japanese texts on samurai culture. He received BA degrees from Dartmouth College and the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, and an MA in Japanese literary studies from the University of Washington. His best-selling books include The Book of Five Rings, The Unfettered Mind, and The Lone Samurai, a biography of Miyamoto Musashi.

Miyamoto Musashi, who lived in Japan in the 1600s, was an undefeated dueler, a masterless samurai, and an independent teacher. He spent the last decades of his life refining and teaching his military science.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 101 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(56)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 102 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    awesome, i love it!

    this is a great book-although i have only read 40 pages- its just great. i am now a green belt in the korean art of haidong gumdo, which means korean sword art of the eastern sea. i am 13 now and this book can be hard to understand at times, but if you just keep reading that line that you dont understand a few times, you should come to understand it. also, one thing that helps me is to grab a stick or a wooden sword or whatever you can find that somewhat resembles a sword and do what the book says. all in all i just think this book is great and fun to read!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Incredible philosophy!

    This is a philosophy that caters to a particular type of person. "See what can not be seen", sounds silly however it has its pure logic to the practitioner. Study and train. Defeat a man with a look. The books of Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and lastly and most difficult to understand... Void. These are not easy to understand. How to stand, flare your nose, belly out, bend your knees... Imagine your opponent defeated. One must study at length and beyond and still possibly not grasp what is being said. I cannot vouch for a particular translation. I have read two and thre is something to be learned from both. This is a very serious read. Not lengthy, just complicated. Written by Japan's most revered Samurai. This will help you grow as a practitioner and a person.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Experience needed, not just for reading

    This book is intended to be read while practicing Martial Arts. In theory, one would read a chapter, wander off and practice it for a few years, return to the next chapter, and then repeat the process. Simply reading the book will not turn you into a Ninja or Zen guru. Practice is required. Re-reading it after physical practice can often be enlightening. Like many Samurai type books, the author focuses on the "Martial" part of Martial Arts. That is, the practice is intended to kill, not just disable, the opponent. Modern practice sees it differently.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    This is a must read

    No matter whether you practice martial arts or have no idea what a dojo is, The Book of Five Rings is a great read. Written by someone who fought and won over sixty contests, it gives wisdom and insight into combat that can be applied to any situation. The book does not detail technique or lay out forms but rather speaks about mastering The Way. I've read it several times and always come away with greater insight and have something to think about. Clear, concise and easy to read, any person can benefit from the concepts contained in this book.

    "The way of the warrior is to master the virtue of his weapons."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!

    Miyamoto Musashi is one of if not the most profound and prolific authors of his and our time. He writes from the perspective of a self experienced man. If you get past the surface of this manual of life you will see that the art that is being disected is for the development of a well rounded person. Only if you can get by the military surface you will see this. He (Mr. Musashi)challenges us to study what he has written and also to apply the principles so that we can see the spirit in which he writes. If you are interested in maintaining a demeanor that is unlike any other in your immediate circle of friends and constituents please purchase this book!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2007

    Classic.

    This book is only a translation of the original. You may not find the extensive commentary you seek. While written centuries ago, Miyamoto Musashi, in my judgment, didn't write a book just about how to fight. Reading this book with an open mind will surprise the reader. Deep thought and reflection will be needed. The areas to which the principles in this book may be applied (such as lessons in leadership and politics) and the success in said application are only limited to the amount of imagination and study put forth by the reader. It offers a great deal of knowledge for every day life, and even if you never pick up a sword, or raise your fists, you will find his philosophy extends well beyond the realm of martial arts and battle strategy. To some readers you will not be able to fully grasp all of the concepts and ideas presented after one reading. This book is invaluable and definitely invites repeated readings as new insight is to be found as your understanding deepens. I'm not sure if a single review could do this book justice because each time you re-read this book your thoughts are guaranteed to be provoked and you will definitely walk away each time with a new form of enlightenment and that is my reason for giving it Five stars *****.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Good Book

    This was a good book but it was some things I really did not understand, but as for planning and organization its great.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2004

    'Rurouni Kenshin' fans enjoy

    I read this because I am a big fan of 'Rurouni Kenshin' and due to a magazine I read 'Kenshin' was based off that Samurai so I said 'What the heck' and read it

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Messed up!

    If you are going to sell the book then sell it not just a sample for a dollar!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Nicole

    Is still waitting has been up since last night

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  • Posted July 1, 2013

    Miyamoto Musashi was a brilliant swordsman. His teachings are ex

    Miyamoto Musashi was a brilliant swordsman. His teachings are exceptionally simple but filled with wisdom. My favourite quote of his, “This is a truth: when you sacrifice your life, you must make fullest use of your weaponry. It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.” 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    Deserves a readthrough.

    This was a very strange book. It tended to ramble a bit and digress into sub topics. However, that being said, I did manage to gleen several good ideas and perspectives from the master.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What a delightful lesson!

    Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings is a must read! Not only does this book, which is charming in its own right in that it is conveyed through a series of comics, talk about strategy as a superficial goal, but it also has underlying tones of how to balance yourself to get through daily battles and be happy in life. What a great book!

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing!

    Musashi was probably one of the most profound writers in Japanese history. This book is amazing, it applies to not only swordplay but to business and live in general. I'd recommend it to EVERYONE.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Samurai Wisdom

    Minamoto Musashi was a master swordsman of feudal Japan he was an undefeated dueler and a master fighter, although most famous for his two sword fighting style the book of five rings goes above and beyond swords. Musashi also covers over strategy and military strategy in this book and his logic is proved from experience. In the course of reading his five scrolls of wisdom you will discover much wisdom from this Samurai Legend.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2011

    Enlightening read

    I bought the book after watching a TV show about Musashi and becoming facinated by him. I chose this translation without knowing anything about Thomas Cleary, other than upon quick glance, his seemed the best version of the book that I could find in the store.

    Eastern philosophy is new to me, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Although some of the passages required slow and careful consideration, it wasn't difficult to grasp the basic concepts as well as delve deeper into the teachings.

    What I found surprising was that the second book included here, "The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War" by Yagyu Munenori was actually my favorite of the two. While both books opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at life and how I can best try to master my own, Muneori's book seemed more applicable to life outside of the martial arts.

    This is a book that I will keep for life and reread every now and again to try to get a better understanding as I get older and hopefully wiser. And I now find myself looking at the bibliography in this book to find my next purchase...probably "Zen Essence."

    I highly recommend this book whether or not you have had any martial arts training, as you can apply the teachings to many aspects of your life. If you have never read any books on Eastern philosophy, it will definately whet your appetite for more.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    Great book of Musashi and his ideals. He explains the art of killing and fighting vividly, which might bother some, but it is a great read. After reading this, onemight want to read, Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Bushido: the Warrior's Code by Nitobe.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Super Book

    Must have for any person, thats a fan of asian style books.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    a book for any one looking to better themselves.

    Pretty much this is a must read for anyone who wants to learn how to weild a sword, learn the simple but effective tactics of the genious Musashi, or to try and apply to daily life. The different scrolls help percieve the world as musashi knew it. Adding to the fact that this book also comes with the Family Traditions on the Art Of War, its a very good thing. The second book written by Yagyu Minonori, another genious in his own sense, can be compared to that of Musashi. He also describes simplistic, yet effective movements and principles on the art of war itself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2006

    A Wonderful Book for the Body and Mind

    The Book of Five Rings is simply amazing. While younger, I played the Musashi video games and decided to look the character up. Instead, I found biographies of the amazing Samurai of Miyamoto Musashi and his accomplishments he achieved in his life. Musashi, although I am nowhere near his level, has a very similar way of thinking that I have been going through as I go into maturity. The text and things he says and describes are very clear if you keep a positive and open mind for anything. I now put his words into my everyday life, which makes me an overall better person, and my family can see that. I highly suggest that anyone reads The Five Rings, for you will see how much of a difference a simple book can make in your life as it did mine.

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