The Book of Five Rings: The Strategy of the Samurai Book Review

The Book of Five Rings: The Strategy of the Samurai

By Musashi Miyamoto


Published by Arcturus Publishing, Ltd. August 2018

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1788880919

ISBN-13: 978-1788880916

Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.8 x 6.2 inches

Miyamoto Musashi was a legendary Japanese Samurai (or more accurately Ronin) who lived from 1584 to 1645.  He won his first duel at the age of thirteen.  He emerged victorious in  sixty formal duels and participated in several campaigns and sieges.  Throughout his life he strove to improve his martial skills and understand the way of strategy.  In the last few years of his life he secluded himself in a cave and wrote down what he had learned in The Book of Five Rings.

That Musashi’s book is still in print today is a testament to its’ value.  While many of the passages deal directly with specific sword techniques, there are many passages worth studying.  A few of my favorites are these:

“Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.”

“Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things.”

“Do nothing that is of no use.”

“The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions.”

This printing is nicely bound and printed on glossy paper.  The publishers have added several illustrations of period Japanese art which complement the text nicely.  There is also an introduction which explains feudal Japan during the period, and a short biography of Musashi written by Victor Harris.  A very nice package, which I can recommend without hesitation.