Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review of The Book Of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musahi

The Book Of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musahi, written in 1645, is about the "Way of Strategy,"which is using certain techniques to take down the enemy.

Because of when the book was written,you have to be aware of the imagery and language used - enemy, weapon, combat, sword, cutting and so on. Once you get beyond that, and use those words as metaphors, a lot can be gleaned from the book.

To adapt the book to our time, an enemy could be a metaphor for competitor.

The Book Of Five Rings emphasizes the importance of practicing and mastering your art - becoming adept at what you do. Your strategy should either be decisive or fluid. You have a fluid strategy when you have obstacles in your way. Musahi outlines Principles of the Way of Strategy. Though the principles are over three and a half centuries old, they are still applicable.

Do not think dishonestly, The Way is in training, Become acquainted with every art, Know the Ways of all professions, Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters, Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything, Perceive those things which cannot be seen, Pay attention even to trifles, Do nothing which is of no use.

From the book, I found the following to be insightful nuggets: Lay your plans with true measure and then perform the work according to plan, thus you pass through life. The strategist makes small things into big things. The principle of strategy is having one thing, to know ten thousand things. Everything is difficult at first. If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy. Do what you have to do, even if it means doing it alone.Discern your competitor's capability and know your strong points.Do not show your hand. Do not let everybody know what you're doing. If your strategy doesn't work change it. When you're in a deadlock change your technique.Abandon efforts that do not work, think of your situation in a fresh spirit. Whenever we have become preoccupied with small details, we must suddenly change into a large spirit, interchanging large with small

Five Great Ideas: You must train day and night to make quick decisions. In strategy it is necessary to treat training as a part of normal life with your spirit unchanging. There is timing in everything. Timing in Strategy cannot be mastered without a great deal of practice. In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. The Way to Understanding is through experience.

People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This not true void. It is bewilderment. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear way, there is the true void (By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist; that is the void).

If you can get past some of the disturbing imagery you could gain a lot from The Book Of Five Rings. This is a book where you can take its concepts and apply them to your work and life. I recommend The Book of Five Rings. Avil Beckford, Chief Invisible Mentor, writer and researcher with over 15 years of experience is the published author of Tales of People Who Get It and its companion workbook Journey to Getting It. Subscribe to the Invisible Mentor Blog for great information to ignite your hidden genius, and explore the Resources page for free whitepapers and an e-book.

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