Along with Hagakure and The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings by Musashi is a modern business classic.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 3, 2009
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"miyamoto musashi" "the book of five rings" "the book of five rings"

Miyamoto Musashi was Japan’s greatest samurai, ever—and then became a great Zen Buddhist meditator, when he authored The Book of Five Rings, a classic book of strategy and sage advice.

musashi samurai

I first fell in love with Miyamoto Musashi, a wild tiger of a wandering ronin (masterless samurai), when I saw The Samurai Trilogy. The following scene, starring my childhood idol Toshiro Mifune, depicts one of the most famous samurai duels in Japanese history. It involves a key principle of strategy: know the terrain you’ll be doing battle upon:

The Book of Five Rings is, like The Art of War, a remarkable resource for entrepreneurs and other leaders seeking an understanding of modern warfare—also known as business, or politics. Buy it new or used. From the Shambhala edition:

“Today’s business people will find Thomas Cleary’s new translation of The Book of Five Rings—Miyamoto Musashi’s 350-year-old martial arts classic—compelling and tantalizingly relevant. Perseverance, insight, self-understanding, inward calm even in the midst of chaos, the importance of swift but unhurried action: Musashi’s teachings read like lessons from the latest business management gurus. Who couldn’t succeed in business by applying Musashi’s insights on conflict and strategy!”—Jeffrey Seglin, Editor, Inc. magazine


The Book of Five Rings is one of the most insightful texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory to emerge from Asian culture. Written not only for martial artists but for anyone who wants to apply the timeless principles of this text to their life, the book analyzes the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction.

The Book of Five Rings was composed in 1643 by the famed duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Thomas Cleary’s translation is immediately accessible, with an introduction that presents the spiritual background of the warrior tradition. Along with Musashi?s text, Cleary translates here another important Japanese classic on leadership and strategy, The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyu Munenori, which highlights the ethical and spiritual insights of Taoism and Zen as they apply to the way of the warrior. 


Bonus. Some fun videos via the History Channel:





About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “Along with Hagakure and The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings by Musashi is a modern business classic.”

  1. […] from LAX to his pad, we talked about love and war (I mean, business) and finally rolled down Abbot Kinney, Venice’s main drag, and parked below […]

  2. debaumer says:

    Wow…I definitely need to read this one. Thanks for the posting!