I am an advocate of the self-help book. They might seem cheesy, and they won’t change your entire life, but you always finish up one having learned a thing or two. You may also think that they are all the same, but you are wrong.
The Courage of a Samurai: Seven Sword-Sharp Principles for Success by Lori Tsugawa Whaley is a self-help book with a difference. It is broken into several chapters which focus on the samurai’s code of ethics, and each chapter tells the stories Japanese and Japanese Americans who applied the principles of courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honesty, honour, and loyalty to their own lives.
Why did I like this book? Maybe because it wasn’t condescending. Every piece of advice was offered as a suggestion rather than something considered a “must-do” and forced down your throat. I wasn’t left feeling overwhelmed. This was helped by the examples given, the stories of people who stuck to one or more of these ethics and made a positive change in life. Therefore, Tsugawa offered more so approaches to life rather than a hard set of guidelines which just had to be followed. I was able to take from the information of the page and interpret it to fit my own needs. The recollection of these stories left me really believing in this ethics and making a conscious effort to live by them more.
I babble a lot about learning about points of history from books and this review will be no different. Even without the self-help aspects, I enjoyed the information this book offered me from a new culture. My samurai knowledge was zero before this book; I hadn’t even seen The Last Samurai! But now I feel compelled to learn more about their culture, as well as that of Japanese Americans, especially their treatment during WWII. If I book leaves you wanting to learn more, then I think it is a winner.
So, if you want a self-help book with a difference, The Courage of a Samurai is for you.
I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.