When you think of Bruce Lee, images of kung fu and peak physical condition come to mind, but behind the movie star who opened up the west to the beauty of asian martial arts, was a man divided. Bruce Lee’s pursuit of physical perfection was equally mirrored by his profound love of philosophy. He was known to have had over 2500 books in his own personal library. Let us share a few with you now.
He had books on many topics: from nutrition to bodybuilding, to guides on mental mastery to fencing; and books on all types of martial arts but he also had an extensive collection of books dedicated to self exploration and personal success.
Some of the more well known books in his collection were books on philosophy (such as Jiddu Krishnamurti’s books) and the Chinese Classics (such as Tao Te Ching, I-Ching, Art of War by Sun Tzu); so we have looked through his book shelf for some lessons from one of the world most influential men.
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- At the Feet of the Master by Jiddu Krishnamurti
- The Book Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
- Concentration: A Guide to Mental Mastery. By Mouni Sadhu
- The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
- Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes
- Dynamic Thinking by Melvin Powers
- Ethics by Baruch Spinoza
- Gorgias by Plato
- The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
- The Master Key to Riches by Napoleon Hill
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
- The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
- Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Undiscovered Self by Carl Jung
- The Way of Zen by Alan Watts
- The Works of Socrates
EXTRACT FROM THE BRUCE LEE FOUNDATION
Many people quote the “Be Water” phrase, and up until recent years, few had truly studied it and applied it to their lives. Thankfully more and more people across the world are beginning to understand the depth of Bruce Lee’s words, and practice the daily application of them. This is a story of at least one person who studied, understood, and applied the principles to his life.
Be like water my friend
The “Be Water, My Friend” philosophical tenet encourages a person to empty the mind, but this does not mean to remove the thinking process, rather to clear it from distracting negative thoughts in order to reach a heightened awareness in light of the fact that life is a revolving and evolutionary process. It must not be cluttered, nor passive, and like a flowing river which is not stagnant. People should discover their true selves, not attempt to be someone else, and realize that peace of mind comes from within.
Bruce encouraged people not to “pray for an easy life, but to pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”. Bruce applied these principles to his own life, and modeled them for others to benefit from, since life can be lonely and tough at times.
by Bruce Lee
Compiled from Bruce Lee’s notes and essays and originally published in 1975, this iconic volume is one of the seminal martial arts guides of its time. The science and philosophy behind the fighting system Lee pioneered himself—Jeet Kune Do—is explained in detail, depicted through hundreds of Lee’s own illustrations, covering topics such as Zen and enlightenment, kicking, striking, grappling, and footwork.