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Book of Five Rings, by Musashi Miyamoto

“The warrior should not have a favorite weapon.” This book’s been represented to me several times as a good complement to Art of War. That’s a somewhat misleading characterization. Musashi’s approach to strategy is through swordsmanship: to fight with an army of ten thousand as you fight with two swords. But though he has much to say about the spirit and principles of a warrior, he leaves blank most of the larger canvas. Certainly, his core precepts are worth remembering:

  • The warrior should not have a favorite weapon.

  • The spirit of is to win.

  • The spirit of fighting is to cut the other man.

  • Study the techniques of others, across all strata of society. Then do your own job well.

I think I would have gotten much more out of this if I knew more of sword-fighting; even so, there was much to learn even from the most sword-focused chapters.

Books read this year: 25