From one thing know ten thousand

Musashi's central message is one of "wider application," of "transferability." Achieving mastery in one discipline arms you with the weapon to transfer those skills to all other areas of life. Although on the surface Musashi's book is specifically a guide to Samurai swordsmanship, at deeper levels it provides a blueprint tor strategy, decision, and action in the home, on the battlefield, in the corporate boardroom —in fact, wherever you choose to apply it.

Musashi summarized its essence thus, stating and restating his theme throughout the book: "From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy t here will not be one thing you cannot see. . , , If you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything."


In spite of its undoubted brilliance, Musashi's book has two drawbacks for a modern audience. First, Musashi frequently expresses himself in a sometimes obscure and often impenetrable Zen terminology. Secondly, the late-twentieth-century reader will find it difficult, if not impossible, to participate at any meaningful level in Musashi's prime metaphor, that of Samurai swordsmanship, when with a real blade you face an opponent whom you must kill before lie kills you. We are not likely to wield a Samurai sworcl in a life-or-death situation. Samurai swordsmanship will always remain beyond our personal experience.

Accordingly, this book turns to the easy-to-leam game of chess, already well established as an important thinking and business metaphor. It reinterprets and updates Musashi's martial arts message and extends it through a new dimension, a martial art of the mind.

In its various manifestations (Western, Japanese, and Chinese) chess is the world's most popular mind sport, with well over 400 million devotees. Chess is also at the cutting edge of the quest for artificial intelligence. World Champion Garry Kasparov regularly faces off in matches in New York and Philadelphia against IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer in which million-dollar prize funds are at stake.

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