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The Tao of Wu
Synopses & Reviews
A unique book of wisdom and experience that reaches from the most violent slums of New York City to the highest planes of spiritual thought by the RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop's most exalted wise man.
The RZA, the Abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture's most dynamic genius, imparts the lessons he's learned on the journey that's taken him from the Staten Island projects to international superstar, all along the way a devout student of knowledge in every form he's found it-on the streets, in religion, in martial arts, in chess, in popular culture. Part chronicle of an extraordinary life and part spiritual and philosophical discourse, The Tao of Wu is a nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation-an engaging, seeking book that will enlighten, entertain, and inspire.
The legions of Wu-Tang fans are accustomed to this heady mix-their obsession with the band's puzzlelike lyrics and elaborate mythology has propelled the group through fifteen years of dazzling, multiplatform success. In his 2005 bestseller The Wu-Tang Manual, the RZA provided the barest glimpse of how that mythology worked. In The Tao of Wu, he takes us deep inside the complex sense of wisdom and spirituality that has been at the core of his commercial and creative success.
The book is built around major moments in the RZA's life when he was faced with a dramatic turning point, either bad (a potential prison sentence) or good (a record deal that could pull his family out of poverty), and the lessons he took from each experience. His points of view are always surprising and provocative, and reveal a profound, genuine, and abiding wisdom-consistently tempered with humor and peppered with unique, colloquial phraseology. It is a spiritual memoir as the world has never seen before, and will never see again.
"This hodgepodge of memoir, spiritual advice and poetry is a sincere attempt by the RZA, Wu Tang Clan founder and producer, to impart his accumulated life wisdom through the lens of hip-hop and idiosyncratic personal religion. To this end, the book opens with a series of paragraphs defining wisdom ('Wisdom is woman,' 'Woman is the word') and continues with the full Webster's Dictionary definition of wisdom. Repetition and generalization are problems, but serious fans of the Wu-Tang Clan, who surely are all of the potential readers for this book, will find some interesting stories of the RZA's early days through some diligent skimming. He writes about saving Method Man's life at the scene of a drug deal gone bad on Staten Island, the emotional connections shared in the projects over viewings of kung-fu movies and the marathon home production sessions during which he created the backing tracks for years' worth of albums for his cohorts. The spiritual message of the book can be hard to parse: the RZA embraces 5 Percent Nation Muslim teachings as well as Zen Buddhism — the latter is the basis for a mind-numbing section of 'Hip-Hop Koans' that includes 'Don't hate the player; hate the game.' Chess tips and a case for vegetarianism also factor into this singular work." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The RZA, founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture's most dynamic genius, imparts the lessons he's learned on the journey that's taken him from the Staten Island projects to international superstar.
The RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan, imparts the lessons he's learned on his journey from the Staten Island projects to international superstardom. A devout student of knowledge in every form in which he's found it, he distills here the wisdom he's acquired into seven "pillars," each based on a formative event in his life-from the moment he first heard the call of hip-hop to the death of his cousin and Clan- mate, Russell Jones, aka ODB. Delivered in RZA's unmistakable style, at once surprising, profound, and provocative, The Tao of Wu is a spiritual memoir the world has never seen before, and will never see again. A nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation from the author of The Wu-Tang Manual, it will enlighten, entertain, and inspire.
About the Author
"RZA is a towering artist and deep thinker who has much to teach us. I salute his courageous vision and compassionate witness-as manifest in this book and his life!"
"I congratulate the world for this beautiful gift, wisdom from the life and travels of RZA, wisdom I truly believe draws from the deepest pools of human thought and spirit...When a wise monk passes away, the monastery builds a pagoda in his memory. Some pagodas get one floor, some get two or three. But if the man was known as the wisest and most enlightened of all monks, his pagoda gets seven. I believe the seven pillars of wisdom in this book are like the seven floors of an exalted monk's pagoda. They represent the wisdom, knowledge, and enlightenment of a soul that has never stopped training, never stopped learning."
-Sifu Shi Yan Ming, thirty-fourth generation Shaolin Temple warrior monk
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