The Shogun’s Scroll by Hanshi Stephen F. Kaufman – A Review

Shogun's ScrollThe Shogun’s Scroll: Wield Power And Control Your Destiny by Hanshi Stephen F. Kaufman is an interesting and engaging book for those of us who enjoy studying the ancient warrior texts such as The Art of War and The Book of Five Rings. (Both of which Hanshi Kaufman has put out translations and interpretations of.)

Hanshi Kaufman calls this book a work of docu-fiction. It is actually based on his personal investigations into the teachings of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. From his work with these ancient texts, combined with his many years of martial arts and studying warfare, he crafted his own “ancient text” written as a historical document that illustrates the workings of the medieval mindset of conquest attributed to Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun of Japan, who is considered one of history’s most ruthless and savage generals. (He ruled from 1192 until 1199)

I enjoyed reading this book, and feel Hanshi Kaufman did an excellent job of capturing the feel and tone that such a text written during this warring time would embody. The book is advertised as a book that can help a person reach success, and while I do feel that is true, this is not the “feel good” success book that so often line the shelves. (Reviewer note – I like those success books too.)

What I mean by this not being a “feel good” book is that it is written as advice to a shogun in a warring state. There is even a chapter titled “The Application of Cruelty.” But this is just why I like this book, because of its authenticity to the time. And just like the classic texts mentioned above, you cannot take all of the advice and suggestions contained within these pages and literally apply them to modern life. But just like those above mentioned classics, the wisdom contained in this short little book can be applied to modern times with some thought.

The short hardcover book can be read fairly quickly, but to gain the most from The Shogun’s Scroll one will have to ponder the advice and how it might apply to one’s own situation. One lesson that I really liked, and is as applicable today as any time in history started out with, “When a man has accomplished his goals it is easy for him to slip into the morass of three deadly attitudes – arrogance, conceit, and false price.” I liked the lesson on the deadliness of these.

If you like the flavor of the ancient Asian texts based on war, you will most likely enjoy Hanshi Kaufman’s The Shogun’s Scroll.  I liked it, and recommend it to anyone else who studies these kinds of works.

The Shogun’s Scroll from amazon: