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The Book of Five Rings from SmarterComics
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The Book of Five Rings from SmarterComics

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  26 reviews
What can you learn from a 17th century samurai? Plenty, if that samurai happens to be Miyamoto Musashi, the master strategist who started fighting at age 13 and never lost a fight in his sixty match career. His insights on how to defeat any opponent are still relevant 400 years later in a world where winning isnt just a resume builder, but an absolute necessity.

Musashis e
Paperback, 80 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by SmarterComics (first published October 5th 2011)
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Jan 30, 2012 Kay rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kay by: GR giveaways

Full Disclosure: I won this as a GoodReads giveaway.


The purpose of this SmarterComics series is to take the written works of old masters, in this case Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings, and spin it anew with illustrations to make the works more accessible to the public.

However, while I appreciated the concept behind this comic, I'm afraid the execution made me give it 1.5 stars.

The art was simple and generally clear, but the color scheme was a bit dull, espe
This graphic novel shows the strategy lessons of Musashi, a master undefeated Samurai of the 17th century, both as they were initially envisioned and as they have been adapted to modern life situations by the illustrator Mark Dos Santos. I particularly liked the illustrations on pages 45 & 46 of two methods to forestall the enemy from the Fire Book. The first was a series of shots in a ping pong game, and the second a mother bird drawing a cat away from the egg in her nest. My favorite quote ...more
I won this book as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
SmarterComic's adaption of the Book of Five Rings is a quite good introduction to this important Japanese work. The art flits between samurai and other, mostly modern, imagery to show the universal nature of the advice but it it also somewhat distracting. Still, a very good effort and an excellent way to introduce younger readers to Miyamoto Musashi's philosophy.
Yvonne Stegall
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway and it was a great win. The art is colorful and well drawn. The story is timeless, and retold wonderfully in this graphic novel/comic. Fans of ancient arts, classic literature and comic books will all enjoy this read. (received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads)
Nov 26, 2011 Trish rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: won
This is a great comic book. There are real world lessons set in a comic book atmosphere. Very entertaining and fun. My son will love it for Christmas. Thank you very much for letting me read it.
An illustrated version that summerizes the Book of Five Rings and makes it easy to follow the concept. I can totally see how you could apply this to work situations.
Noran Miss Pumkin
This book is from Goodreads free give away.
This is as good as it gets for an entertaining introduction to a classic text that you know you wouldn't read otherwise.

The Book of Five Rings was a fad/underground classic for businessmen in the 1990s or maybe the early Bush years. To make its lessons work for business, you need to imagine your competitors as your enemies, and your first goal, upon picking up your long sword, is to cut them. A worldview that may or not benefit the world, eh? Other titles from SmarterComics are The Prince, by M
I received two books from SmarterComics through the goodreads firstreads program. I read them both, back-to-back, and they perfectly lend themselves to being compared. For this reason, the reviews reference one another and both can be found in a single post on my book review blog on Friday, 12 January 2012.

The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as adapted by Cullen Bunn, with illustrations by Mark Dos Santos, is also a look at a classic martial arts text contextualized in contemporary and re
As a martial artist (sort of), this was especially interesting to me. I've learned a few pointers myself that I will definitely keep in mind. Anyway, as a comic book, the pictures were crisp and beautiful. The writing was concise and very clear.

What wasn't as great was the attempted application to everyday life. Some of them work but there were a few that could've had a better example or didn't make sense. One of the examples was a student yawning which "passes on" to the teacher making her yaw
Miroku Nemeth
In general, I was expecting much more from this. From the first page of the introduction, what should be a razor-sharp katana becomes a dull butter knife. Musashi killed an accomplished swordsman at the age of 13. The illustrations have him breaking his opponent’s shinai and leaving him prostrate but not dead in a dojo match. As someone who has studied Musashi for years, I would have appreciated more respectful research and representation. There are other illustrations with blood, a bit of gore, ...more
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

To be honest, I don't even remember entering to win this book. I have a feeling I was trying to enter one above or below it, and hit the wrong button. But whatevs, I won and read it.

It is a strategy guide for younger teens, at least from my perspective, because even though most of the illustrations featured adults, it was very simplistic and youthful. I appreciated it for what it was, which was a reimagining of Miyamoto Musashi's original essay about strat
Mary Jean Phillips
Having owned a traditional copy for years and years, I was pleased by the arrival of a graphic novel adaptation from Smarter Comics. This edition emphasizes the modern applicability and timeless grace of Musashi's practice through the thoughtful juxtaposition of ancient words and modern images. I would reccomend this to everyone whether or not the reader is familiar with Musashi. It's a great introduction to his work, and it's also a beautiful reinterpretation for the 21st century.
Also, I won t
Jeffrey Getzin
This is a graphic novel approach to the perennial classic of strategy. Illustrations are used to show the parallel between Mushashi's ancient words and modern day sports, business, and combat. While some of the analogies can be a little strained, overall this was an excellent approach. Each illustration helped drive home Musashi's points, often in multiple ways.

I found a single proofing error in the book, and like I said, sometimes that parallels are a little exaggerated, otherwise I would insta
For people who are disinclined to sit down and read an entire book based upon the strategies of success and winning, SmarterComics' illustrated version of "The Book of Five Rings" gives a concise summary of the principals that Miyamoto Musashi believed in and abided by in order to have a completely undefeated streak in his life.

The principals discussed can be applied to any situation in life and it is a good way to strive towards success. Recommended for people who want advice on success but do
What a great concept. Making a book like this that appeals to my teenage son!! I read it and then put it down on the counter and my son picked it up, and came in to discuss it with me. A book discussion with my teenager!! WOW!

Okay, actual review of the book.. ;-) I enjoyed the way the concepts that he used in the battles transferred over to actual 21st century jobs. And the graphics made some of the harder to grasp concepts more understandable. I really enjoyed this book and will definately loo
William Murakami-brundage
This is a pretty fantastic interpretation of the infamous Book of Five Rings, wherein the artist has adapted much of the context to modern life without losing the spirit of Musashi's teachings. It truly deserves a top-notch rating for art and conceptualization.
Kim Castiglia
Goodreads giveaway-

This may be the first comic book I've ever read from cover to cover. I am not a fan of cartoons in general, but I was willing to try this. Ultimately, I did not enjoy it. The book tried to take a deep topic and make it simple. The graphics tried to relate samurai concepts to today and with the simplistic writing of a comic it didn't succeed very well. The writing itself was very low level and not the "Smarter Comics" that its brand portrays. My husband took a look at this (who
This book wasn't bad at all. You should be into the way of the samurai or at least into comics to really appreciate this book. The actual book of the five rings is really popular in Asian culture and Miyamoto Musashi is a legend. This comic is drawn nicely and it explains the way of the samurai in a way close to parables. Don't expect to only read about Musashi. The comic shows his teachings in a modern light. Meaning that he compares the time of then to the time of now and it gives you new mean ...more
May 13, 2012 Kim rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: self
I won this book as part of a giveaway.

I thought this book was interesting, but not as helpful as I thought it would be; I was expecting something different. However, the drawings are lovely and it gives an interesting glimpse of Japanese philosophy. I watch a few anime shows, which helped me relate more to this book and understand what it was talking about; if I had not already been somewhat familiar with Japanese culture, I don't think this book would have made much sense at all to me.
Won this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaways.

Mediocre. I anticipated either a more in depth description of fighting techniques or, barring that, some kind of story. In reality, this provided neither. It gives some vague platitudes and basic tips about fighting, then makes obvious and sometimes forced parallels to modern day. Ultimately, I found it lacking substance and somewhat tiresome to read. Look for it in a used bookstore near you, because that's where my copy is going.
The art in this book is awesome, and I found myself reading something that I probably would not have picked up in traditional format.
I did have to fight my teenager to get to this book. It was a quick read, and a book that can be read many times. I want to read other books from this publisher. Love the comic book medium!
**Won this from a Goodreads giveaway a long time ago**

Seems like something teenagers should read. I liked the illustrations that have short scenes that compared a specific example/scenario in two different time periods.
Peter marked it as to-read
Jan 22, 2015
Aashish marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2015
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Strategies applied to everyday life? 1 6 Oct 11, 2011 02:30PM  
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Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, c. 1584 – June 13, 1645), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was an expert Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style o ...more
More about Miyamoto Musashi...
A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy The Samurai Series: The Book of Five Rings, Hagakure -The Way of the Samurai & Bushido - The Soul of Japan LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGY Four Classics (Four Classics, The Art of War, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, The Book of Five Rings, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius) De strategie van de Samoerai O Essencial de Estratégia

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