Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rules for a Knight” as Want to Read:
Rules for a Knight
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rules for a Knight

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,141 ratings  ·  481 reviews
From Ethan Hawke, four-time Academy Award nominee—twice for writing and twice for acting—an unforgettable fable about a father's journey and a timeless guide to life's many questions. 

A knight, fearing he may not return from battle, writes a letter to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows. In a series of ruminations on solitude, humility, forgiveness
Hardcover, 175 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Knopf
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rules for a Knight, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rules for a Knight

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,141 ratings  ·  481 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rules for a Knight
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Another self-help guide in disguise. (Not a novel nor diatribe but some hybrid of these.)

But Ethan Hawke is, it must be mentioned, undeniably talented (dude's got not one but two writing Oscar noms. Two! [& two acting ones! =4 total!]). His words & phrases are tender, his examples almost rudimentary yet sublime. Almost.

Also, it's a valuable testament of A Current Hollywood Actor's psyche. It would have made a much better tell all, with all the lessons to his children (on solitude, humility, gra
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a charming book for children that gives advice on how to be a good and noble person. I don't read a lot of children's books, but I saw this on display in the library and it was such a pretty edition that I checked it out.

The story is that Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke wrote this letter to his children in 1483, on the eve of a battle that killed him. Fearing he would never see his family again, Sir Thomas wrote adages and guidelines that could help them throughout their lives. (While the title
Therese Neumann
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was very skeptical of reading this, because of a prejudice that the famous often get undeserved book deals. After reading this sweet little collection of parables, I am very impressed with Ethan Hawke's charming book. The chapters are organized around a list of rules (humility, love, wisdom, etc...) and an accompanying story that shows the rule in practice. I really enjoyed the philosophical and thought-provoking tales. It's the type of book I would love to read to a child. The story of the wo ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This is not the kind of book I typically read, much less buy. But on the weekend before Thanksgiving while in NYC, when getting ready to leave the Strand (not knowing I'd be there the next day too), I stopped when I saw this on a little stand. I picked it up and there was something I liked about its look and the feel of it in my hand. Or maybe I fell for the marketing: "Strand SIGNED Edition" a sticker trumpeted.

It actually turned out to be an adequate transitional read for me. I was also drawn
This handbook for knights is a 6” x 4” hardcover bound with green cloth and a gold ribbon to place as you read. Hawke initially did not intend it for wide circulation: It was begun when his wife and he decided to have some “rules of the house,” which became more like “rules for living” the more he tried to think about what was really important to share with his children.

The format and the content suit one another. Twenty chapter headings address key attributes or phenomena that face each person
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I loved this little book. It caught my eye because of its intentionally retro binding, made in Germany to look like an old, moldy book that has been around for decades. Written by a knight during the eve of a final crusade, we get the vast knowledge of eastern and western philosophy, all the best of our collective religious teachings. It seems to be written for Hawke's own children, but it is written for all children and their parents. I found this in the adult section of the library. ...more
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely book of life lessons. Each chapter starts with a quote about love, humility, death , justice and then backs it up with a story related to it. We also learn the story of Sir Thomas through these parables and how he came to be a knight.This book is full of philosophy useful for everyday life.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-log
Rules for a Knight is a quick and uplifting read. The premise of the book is a fictional letter written by a knight to his children in 1483 on the eve of a battle that would take his life. The letter provides a guideline for living an upright and virtuous life with anecdotes and pearls of wisdom. I would recommend this book especially for a young person.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
"Never announce that you are a knight, simply behave as one. You are better than no one, and no one is better than you."

"Expect nothing, and you will enjoy everything."

"Jealousy, fear, and anger are obstacles to a knight's first goal: a clear mind."

"Sometimes to understand more, you need to know less."

A small book with good pieces of advice.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I like the story it went through all the aspects of what makes people good and decent and the background of how the story came to be is so interesting that I have to read it. I really liked it and it was an interesting read especially when it was a letter to his children on the eve of battle it was kind of sweet and beautiful.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! For such a small book it sure packs a powerful punch... right to the heart. These "rules for a knight" can and should be rules for everyone. Profound, deep, thought-provoking, spiritual... definitely a book to ponder and read over and over again. ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won in the First Reads giveaway.

The writing was clear and lovely. It reminded me of The Alchemist. The illustrations were charming.
Heidi The Reader
Rules for a Knight was very sweet. I had experienced many of the parables before in either Buddhist or Christian teachings, but they are repackaged quite well in this small, green tome. I think that there will always be a place on my bookshelf for stories that teach about inner truths and the journey from apprenticeship to mastery. I also liked that the knight addressed himself to both his sons and his daughters. Probably not historically accurate, but I approve anyway.

Some of my favorite bits:
Julie Bozza
This is really delightful. A nicely written musing on how to live a good life, suitably dexterous even when dealing with the huge matters of life and death. If I had kids, I'd happily read this with them time and time again, and it would probably help me as much as them.

If I have one quibble, it would be that the medieval setting brings with it the distinction between knights and ladies. Even though the 'rules' are written in ways that can obviously apply to everyone, the illustrative narrative
Jun 30, 2016 added it
Recommends it for: you
Suitable bedtime reading for children of all ages who enjoy the reassuring irritation of being told how to be.

Clichés done well enough to warrant multiple skimmings and at least one serious scrutiny.

Collected cosmopolitan wisdom condensed into a single fabrication of a knight's rule (in Medieval life, monks first began to live by rules, as part of a tradition popularised by St. Benedict).

It is most amusing that the promotional slipcover for this tiny tome contains a publicity still of the author
Mary Goble
Aug 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
If I could give this zero stars, I would.

This book is bad. It's woefully anachronistic. The framing device is ham-fisted and nonsensical and smacks of an entitled self-importance on the part of the author that I don't care to speculate the origin of. The writing is of no literary value. The characters are flat and static. That's not even the worst part.

There isn't a single original thought in this entire book. Every little parable is ripped off either from a religious tradition or the email-for
Chase Bragan
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book's message is the type of message people should look to. "There are only two outcomes when you compare yourself to another, Vanity or Bitterness, both are without value"

This book is my bible.
Wart Hill
Sophia El Kerdini
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book, beautiful gift, beautiful heritage to leave for one's children. ...more
Kressel Housman
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The “sweaty-toothed madman” scene between Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke in “Dead Poets Society” is my favorite scene in any movie ever, so I went into Ethan Hawke’s new book with quite a bit of partiality. I was also drawn to it because he wrote it for his teenage kids, and I, too, am the parent of teenagers. The book is written as a letter of advice from the fictional Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke to his children, and it covers such values as humility, pride, justice, courage, and proper speech. Bas ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
Charming, amiable and inimitable.
A knight will see battle in the morning and writes a letter to his young children as a possible “goodbye” should he not return. He fills the pages with his grandfather’s anecdotes and wisdom the knight wishes to impart to his children. Such wisdom, followed by quaint allegorical tales, includes “Solitude,” “Gratitude,” “Patience,” and “Generosity” to name a few rules. This wee novel is akin to Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World, belaying life lesson
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a charming set of live lessons. The premise is that a knight is writing a letter to his children before he goes into battle. He is imparting his wisdom though 20 rules for a knight and then tells additional stories to illustrate the rules.

This is a book that can be read in one sitting. The lessons are simple, but have a big impact. While none of the ideas are especially new and some are particularly modern, the premise and the writing make this short work very powerful. I highly recomme
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
My mom sent this to me as a gift with a little love letter telling me that she wanted to leave me with something that said all the things she would want me to know and learn in my life and said this book said everything she would want to say, only better. It was a sweet little book about a knight writing a letter to his children on what may be his last campaign. It's all the stuff he wants them to know in order to grow up to be decent people in case he doesn't make it back to tell them himself. ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it

This book reminded me a good deal of Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho. Both books are more like manuals on how to live a "good" life than any kind of novel, but written in ways that don't come across as pretentious or preaching. In the case of Rules for a Knight, this is definitely a book I would like to own a physical copy of -- I borrowed this copy digitally from my library -- so I guess I've got a trip to the bookstore in my future.
Nicholas Tamouridis
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I began and completed this feel-good gem all in one afternoon! Behold some of my favourite passages in the form of a list of rules written by a knight in the early 1400’s to guide his children! Genius!

“Create time alone with yourself. The voice of our spirit is gentle and cannot be heard when it has to compete with others. Just as it is impossible to see your reflection in troubled water, so too is it with the soul. In silence, we can sense eternity sleeping inside us.”

“Do you know why K
Chihoe Ho
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
My apologies multiple Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, "Rules For A Knight" just wasn't for me at this time. I say "at this time" because this book is very mood-specific for it to resonate with the reader, and I wasn't immersed in it. It sometimes gets a little preachy for my taste on some very basic common sense on humanity, and with each mini chapter structured around a certain quality, the narrative came across scattered and without purpose. Or perhaps I'll never be enlightened by it, which ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i loved this book, which surprised me, b/c i'm not a big fan of ethan hawke. when i think of the things i want my children to learn, i think to write them down for them, to give to them in the near future, but i don't think i can ever do it eloquently enough, truly conveying what i want. well, ethan hawke did, in the guise of a knight, fearing death is close, but wanting to leave behind everything he had hoped to be able to teach his children in life. both my children will receive this book in t ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
""Why am I alive? Where was I before I was born? What will happen to me when I die? Whatever well our lives are drawn from, it is deep, wild, mysterious, and unknowable..."Rules for a Knight is many things: a code of ethics; an intimate record of a lifelong quest; a careful recounting of a knight's hardest won lessons, deepest aspirations, and most richly instructive failures; and an artifact, a relic of a father's exquisite love."

I really enjoyed this book. It was a pretty quick read and seeme
Jenny Kim
* Based on a reading of ARC

A quick, easy read with some ah moments but overall, basic knowledge and social etiquettes are shared with beautiful illustrations. I felt it was author's social commentary and wish for modern society.

A nerd like me who has interest in knights (Jedis) and what we thought they stood for in the past - Chivalry and Honour will likely pick up this book.

I just wish he made this into full on fantasy-fiction, then I might have like it more.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't resist picking up a signed first edition copy of this at the Strand. I read it immediately after purchasing it while at the coffee shop then on the way home.

It was a fantastic book of insights including patience, discipline, and love. I really enjoyed the stories and lessons portrayed through each rule. I plan on rereading it whenever I need to ground myself. I also plan to read it to my children some day and recommend it to friends and family.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
can actors write 5 19 Jun 03, 2016 05:28AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Think Little: Essays (Counterpoints Series)
  • Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy
  • Harry Potter Therapy: An Unauthorized Self-Help Book from the Restricted Section
  • Picnic, Lightning
  • Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation
  • Free Voluntary Reading
  • Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America
  • Trust: America's Best Chance
  • No Unhallowed Hand: 1846-1893 (Saints, #2)
  • Apeirogon
  • L'Horizon
  • Eat a Peach
  • Topics of Conversation
  • Plunge
  • O Pirotécnico Zacarias e Outros Contos
  • Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?
  • Here in the Real World
  • 往复书简:初恋与不伦
See similar books…
Ethan Green Hawke is a four-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, writer and film director.

In 1988, Hawke was cast in a role in director Peter Weir's Dead Poets Society; the film's success was considered Hawke's breakthrough. He left school and appeared in A Midnight Clear, Alive, Reality Bites, Before Sunrise, Gattaca, The Newton Boys, Great Expectations, and many other movies. In 2001, he

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
18 likes · 0 comments
“You are always in the right place at exactly the right time, and you always have been.” 16 likes
“Pay attention: what you need to know is usually in front of you. There are no secrets, just things people choose not to notice.” 14 likes
More quotes…