Why This Book Was Written
I had been approached by many corporate leaders, businesspeople, and attorneys to interpret the teachings of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s Art of War specifically for the business community. These previously published works written for military and martial arts establishments did not include practical exercises vital for the information to be placed firmly in the business and determined readers’ consciousness as this volume does. The principles contained in those works and the present volume is the same that I use in conducting my daily business affairs—and they work. In this book I use the format of the Book of Five Rings: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and No-thing-ness for structure to synthesize the ideas of the masters.
Musashi, Sun Tzu, and Kaufman
Miyamoto Musashi is considered to be the greatest warrior Japan has ever produced. He is referred to in many circles as a kensei, a sword saint. His Book of Five Rings is considered the essential work on mortal combat and is readily translated into a manual for conducting business affairs of any type. The Book of Five Rings was not originally intended to be a business book, but the principles of strategy are, and so the ideas expressed through commercial endeavor become obvious. The Japanese business community uses the Five Rings as a guide for their corporate officers. They consider business to be “war” and have used the Five Rings for generations considering it to be a business bible. It is required study for all management personnel involved in decision-making. Musashi’s thoughts and attitudes are clear and concise. The reader will find examples of how he would have handled specific situations. Many previous interpretations have been hoi polloi and have not taught the proper means of the attack mentality during negotiations. The Sword in the Boardroom does.
Sun Tzu’s philosophy must be understood in broader terms than just as a guide to dealing with conflict and doing whatever you have to do to destroy the enemy without concern for future developments. It too has become the “book of choice” for the business community. The Art of War has been read by countless people in their endeavor to attain heights of success they may only have dreamed of, and some have actually accomplished their goals. In proper context, Sun Tzu’s work explains in depth the rules of management expressed through military campaigns that are easily seen as business negotiations. Sun Tzu deals with matters concerning the proper selection of personnel, understanding motives and intentions, preparations for conflict and the maintenance of supplies, dealing with conquered domains, etc. It is the most highly regarded treatise on strategy yet written and must be understood emotionally as well as intellectually.
Stephen F. Kaufman is a world-renown author and martial arts master. He is widely sought out as a speaker and consultant on strategy and motivation. He has many years of experience in business. He was CEO of a large commercial collection firm where intelligent negotiations were the only way to resolve major financial problems. He was also CEO of a computer networking organization that dealt with large corporate expenditures. He details, with direct questions and specific examples for the reader, how to control the entire realm of the negotiation. His ideas convey very explicit examples that contain intense messages.
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