My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Review: The Master of Strategy Collection: The Art of War & The Book of Five Rings, AOG Edition

The Master of Strategy Collection: The Art of War & The Book of Five Rings, AOG Edition The Master of Strategy Collection: The Art of War & The Book of Five Rings, AOG Edition by Sun Tzu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Performance: ***
Story: ***

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a famous military/strategy treatise composed of 13 chapters devoted to various skills related to war. While the translation appears to be good, the advise provided is primarily general (and somewhat obvious) maxims, without any specific or practical information or examples on how to execute each stratagem … making this very small manual more of an outline/checklist that is of marginal use by itself (IMHO the reputation of this work far exceeds its utility; however, it works as an introduction and/or entertainment). After each chapter, the author adds a few discussion questions that are also interesting and points to some of the hidden concepts within each precept, but are difficult to fully take advantage of in the audible format. The narration is actually pretty good for such an academic and dry topic (so only one “voice” / character that you would expect within a story/novel).

The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi is another famous martial treatise that attempts to extend sword tactics into battle strategies (bottom up vs top down from Art of War). As such, there are more specific or practice instructions, but very little help in how to apply this knowledge more generally on the battle field. Here Musashi’s primary focus appears to be individual/internal disciple and the superiority of the sword over all other weapons (except the gun). The treatise is divided into five (5) books: Earth (Training), Water (Style), Fire (Timing), Wind (Flaws), Void (Mind). Over all, the work was interesting and interesting; although, I puzzled a bit over some of the translation choices.

Over all the complete package was short and entertaining, but not really something I would use to learn strategy beyond a basic introduction. For that I was turn to more contemporary sources for modern warfare such as Von Clausewitz.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ArtOfWar #BookOfFiveRings #FreeAudiobookCodes

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.