“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”
– Miyamoto Musashi
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has become a cliché. Every businessman and adventurer has read it to death. It’s not a bad book, it’s simply a book that’s been over analyzed and copied so many times that you’re better off reading one of its imitators.
In contrast, Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings is a work that’s more informative and more obscure than The Art of War. As such it’s done a much better job withstanding the test of time.
While originally written for students of Kenjutsu, Musashi’s work is still applicable to those outside the martial arts realm. In fact, The Book of Five Rings reads like an incredibly quotable, and militaristic, self-help book with swordplay and samurai. This is Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss, minus the “we’re all winners” attitude.
One of the reasons that I really enjoyed The Book of Five Rings is because of the fact that it doesn’t sugar coat things. This is a guide to training hard and learning self mastery, there are no shortcuts or magic ‘hacks’ that can be preformed. As Musashi explains:
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
At a concise 95 pages and costing less than a dollar, The Book of Five Rings is the perfect read for any aspiring conqueror.