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Conner's Books & Reviews

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Currently reading

The White Tiger
Aravind Adiga
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs
Haruki Murakami
The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
Stephen King, Richard Bachman
The Complete Stories
Franz Kafka
Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami
The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
Dante Alighieri, Robin Kirkpatrick, Eric Drooker
The Purgatorio (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Peter Bondanella, Julia Conaway Bondanella
The Interpretation of Dreams (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Sigmund Freud, A.A. Brill, Daniel T. O'Hara, Gina Masucci MacKenzie

Secrets of the Ninja

Secrets of the Ninja - Ashida Kim I've had a spiral bound copy of "Way of the Mind Gate" and its predecessor "Secrets of the Ninja" since I was about 12, when I begged my parents to get me this so-called "Ninjitsu Training Manual" for my birthday. I had read all about it on the author's since discontinued website, where he made a very good case on the many reasons why I should buy this manual. When it arrived I found that it wasn't what I was expecting, and after reading about half of it I put it up on my bookshelf and forgot about it.

Recently I took it down again and re-read it front to back for the first time.

These two volumes are less about learning to be a warrior of feudal Japan and more about how to handle a real life situation in which you���d have to deal with an aggressor. The second volume is also an implementation of ancient philosophies and spirituality on modern thought. There are some step-by-step instructions on how to do certain physical techniques, but these are mostly useless. The write-ups on meditation, however, are interesting to read and try out.

I've seen a lot of people on the internet calling Ashida Kim a "hack" and basically saying that he isn't qualified to be writing these books, but personally I find his smorgasbord of philosophies inspiring and optimistic. On the other hand, while he demonstrates a wide knowledge of pop culture and customs of the ancient world, his knowledge of modern psychology comes off as somewhat primitive. This is shown by his misuse of terms, for example, repeatedly using the word ���psychotic��� when the behaviors he is describing are actually ���psychopathic���. Also, I���m not sure if it���s just my copy, but the book will frequently reference an image that is not printed, and the images that did make it in are either horrible drawings or low-quality photographs of a man that is presumably the writer in a ski mask that frankly look like they were printed from an internet snuff film. That is to say, these are meant to be displays of the techniques described in the book but it is almost impossible to tell what is going on in these images. Pair that with the fact that the writing is absolutely littered with grammatical and spelling errors, and not only is it distracting, but the instructions are not clear and more than once I found myself having to guess at what he was trying to say.

I���m not sure if by now there is a revised version out that fixes these issues, but that would be essential for me to be able to recommend this.