An extraordinary tactician and samurai (Japanese swordsman) had a late-life crisis and retired into monkhood. Over time, he allowed a scribe to record advice from his experience. Though meant to be extremely-selectively passed-on, it ultimately found itself in the hands of enough people to survive to today. It is a book on the martial use of the sword, the way of swords, the way of personal and mass martial strategy, and the Way.
I haven't read broadly and deeply enough, and I doubt anyone has, to truly judge this work in the context of what humanity has to offer (what has survived, that is), but I feel comfortable saying this is one of the Great works. I should say I highly recommend it, but I fear most people wouldn't even begin to comprehend it even in any vague sense. This is not a beginner's book, whatever "beginner" means with this book in that context. At the very least, this ought to be read by people who are deeply passionate about philosophy (of the armchair variety).
My edition of this book has an unfortunately-shiny fabric hardcover, with glossy full-colour pages with photographs which give it an impression of high quality. It even has an integrated ribbon bookmark. When reading it at length, I get the impression that the pages will eventually pull out. I hope this is not true.
- Translated by David K. Groff
- 五輪書 (Go Rin No Sho) in the Japanese language.
- Miyamoto Musashi
- 2012-05-01 (third edition)
- ISBN-10 178028120X
- ISBN-13 978-1-78028-120-9
Some years ago, I also read A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy, translated by Victor Harris (1982)