Monday, November 2, 2020

Review of The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Decision Making, War
Intriguing Connections = 1) War, 2) The Strategies Of Game Theory

Elaborate Description

This book describes the individual’s role to obtain mastery. As the era of the book is encompassed in a warrior culture, the epitome of any individual is to obtain warrior skills as they will help in every endeavor. The martial way is to excel in everything. Most of the book is about proper sword techniques but there are many general lessons. When facing opponents, it is generally recommended that actions are preemptive and are not expected by the opponents. Putting the opponents on the defensive and making sure their actions are useless while making sure to take advantage of all their weaknesses. Missing openings created by vulnerabilities will increase the chance of counterattack. Preventing opponent’s recovery is essential.

Knowledge of the opponents is necessary in the art of war. If there is no information of the opponent, making a pretend powerful attack is a tactic used to obtains information. That information should be adapted to the strategy. Actions should be diverse and nonrepetitive. Manipulating opponent’s attention so as to confuse their ideas about the potential future actions is a way of obtaining advantageous information. Appearances can alter opponent’s mood which can be taken advantage of. Defeat does not mean that any side has gained victory. To win, defeat must be felt with no ambition for retaliate.

The books keep pressing the superiority of a particular method over others. In some parts, the same method can be used to defeat many opponents at the same time. The issue with this logic is that if the method is best and starts to be used by others due to its superiority, that means that the opponents possess the same knowledge and skill which would negate many of the advantageous ideas. The book is fairly easy to read but should be considered in context of the culture.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  0877739986
Pages to read:  156
Publication:     2010
Format:            Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability     5
Content           3
Overall           3