Sunday, April 5, 2009

Scott Bolan's Top 10 Empowerment Books...

My library is vast. Last rough estimate was about 4,000 books. That’s not counting cassettes, CD’s, videos and DVDs. All self-education material.

Why would I have such a vast library? I started this library around the same time I started martial arts: 8 years of age.


Matter of fact, I still have martial arts books I got at that age, with my signature on a “from library of____” sticker I put in the front cover. It’s interesting looking at that from so long ago.

It’s like taking a time-machine back in time!

All learning is self-learning, and though I’ve taken a few winding detours, I’ve always came back to the path I’m on today: The path of enlightenment, wisdom and power.

I intuited at a young age that the systems set up - the schools, the churches, society and culture - were only partial at best, the blind leading the blind at worst. There were lots of good people in those systems of course, but I knew there was “more to it” and I was looking at branches on a tree. I wanted to "strike the root"

So I started with old books and quiet walks and lots of reflection, observing patterns in behavior (my own and others), as well as training outside alone, and inside the dojo with others .... and haven’t stopped yet!

That’s another story for a future newsletter. For today, here is a top-10 list of empowerment books!

Within this year I will be putting up a list of the top 100 books. In the meantime, these 10 are foundational and liberating:

1. Living the Martial Way by Forrest E. Morgan.

By the time I read this book I was familiar with almost every term and concept in it, yet the way in which the author laid it out was so well-organized and proficient, I would call this the number-one manual for intentional and powerful living.

I wish I had been given this book at 10 years of age! I discovered it by accident and it is an absolute goldmine. Even someone with no interest at all in the Martial Arts at all can benefit profoundly by studying and applying these concepts.

If it were required reading in every high school, we would have a very different and far superior world. I have bought dozens of these over the years to give out as gifts, and still give them out to this day.

2. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee.

This is one you read and highlight what jumps out at you, and then read again six months or a year later. Within a year or so it will be battered and tattered and highlighted and underlined
and will be one of your favorite wisdom books. You will also be richer, stronger and wiser for it!

If you think it’s about fighting, think again. It’s also about thinking, behaving, SELF-DETERMINISM, communicating and self-expression. What of these do not pertain to you?

In addition to his own lightning-superb insights, Bruce was also inspired by many similar thinkers including Sun Tzu and Jiddu Krishnamurti. I saw the Krishamurti connection and commented on it, and 6 years after I made that comment a student reminded me and showed me a picture of Bruce’s personal notes and library in an article from the now defunct “Knowing is not Enough” Bruce Lee Eductional Foundation magazine. Synchronicity!

That Bruce distills this wisdom to it’s essence sometimes more effectively and usefully than his predecessors is profound. That he used fencing and boxing concepts in his own martial art was indicative that he was not afraid to “mix it up.” He was the first widespread “MMA” fighter, and a dynamic scholar and philosopher as well. We miss you, Bruce!

I constantly quote his “absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own” in my own studies and in my teachings.

10,000 years from now this book will still be a treasure-trove of applicable wisdom to the wise. The first year I read it in 1993 I literally doubled my income.

Yes, for real.

I can remember I was sitting on my bed reading a passage about “kick the ball out ahead of you” and a few other passages and lifted by ways in which I could apply what I was reading.

I had a “mind-and-energy-shift” while reading those passages right at that moment. Almost immediately I doubled my income and always knew the reason was the insights in that moment which I can still remember vividly to this day.

3. Be Here Now by Ram Dass.

Another amazing manual for living, and someone whom I befriended a year before his stroke in the 90s.

In the beginning of this book he chronicles his experiments with drugs, which is something I wholeheartedly disapprove of, yet he would go on to say that drugs are limiting and a trap as well. It is really only incidental as the entire book is about mindful conscious heart-living and full of compassionate and insightful wisdom.

The “core book” within it is a journey into your own soul, for those who can think outside of the box and intuit beyond their own programming and prejudices (which we ALL have). A fantastic “how-to-live” manual that in a strange way is the perfect Yin to the Yang of “Living the Martial Way”

The term “Be Here Now” is a profound Mastery Key to personal Liberation, applicable in so many situations - it is the one-point centeredness referred to in the anceint samurai and meditation texts, and often referred to in Stanislavski’s “An Actor Prepares” in which he continually implores the actor to “stay in the moment.”

“Staying in the moment” or “being here now” is dynamically powerful and liberating. It is the true essence of effectiveness in any application whether it be a street-fight or boardroom negotiation, or simple peace of mind and self-healing. It is also a key to the “be like water” concept that Bruce Lee talked about in a rare filmed interview. If you’ve ever seen this film, you'll see the connection when you read this book!

I will openly state that once one is no longer a child they are never again truly alive until they discover the secret of "Being Here Now"

A timeless classic and a transforming experience!

4. The Unfettered Mind by Takuan Soho (trans. by William Scott Wison)

A rich and insightful samurai classic on “how the mind works.” Worth several reads as each read reveals new insights into every aspect of our thinking, our reactions, our instincts and the impulses that drive our behavior. I’ve dared to say, and will continue to say, that NLP and Hypnosis’ roots can be found dating back to this and even further into India, Ninpo and others which is the topic for a complete book in itself.

You will see yourself if you delve deeply into this book, and recognize and be able to free yourself up from limiting thought patterns and impulsive behaviors.

5. How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: a Handbook for Personal Liberty by Harry Browne.

I enjoyed this immensely, a more modern expose of cultural and societal patterns and how to free yourself of the subconscious blinds and fetters they place upon us.

Truly liberating!

What’s interesting is that I particularly disdained his passage on leaving his own wife and daughter (I paraphrase) for no reason other than he wasn’t happy and that it was another trap.

I was reading was an anniversary edition written years after the first edition and in the epilogue he writes that he (I paraphrase) regretted that and had sought out his daughter and re-connected.

He regained my respect with that admission in the epilogue, and I was delighted at the synchronicity of how my concern was addressed by the author at the end of the book!

I have found a distinct synchronicity with all of the books I mention in this list, and could name numerous tie-ins to many areas of my success in many endeavors that I can trace back to this.
“How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World” has never been more vital in these Orwellian times of group-think, media-speak and social engineering...

Does a fish know it’s wet?

6. The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

I suppose this choice seemed obvious, but this is such a rich treasure-trove that I cannot over-emphasize it’s usefulness. It has multiple applications for successful daily living, enlightened thinking and powerful results. I could write an entire book about the numerous benefits of this book! Get it and keep cracking it open. Get it on audio and listen to it as well. You’ll be glad you did!

7. Wisdom of the Mystic Masters by Joseph Weed.

I only recently discovered this book and it lives up to it’s title. I haven’t read more by this author, but I sure plan on doing so!

He gives actual mind-drills that work, and has amazing insights into the potential and power of our minds and the conscious use of our own ENERGY for manifestation. Highly recommended!

8. Soul Sword: the Way and Mind of a Zen Warrior by Vernon Kitabu Turner.

This is another liberating and profound book that resonated deeply with me. He understands combat intuition, dynamic application of this intuition in spherical zones, synchronicity, self-determinism and the abolition of fear...sound good so far?


Emphasizing empowering application and instinctive wisdom, interestingly he also sheds light on bible scriptures that correlate with the entire mission and message of this wonderful book (the author is humble and does not trumpet this; those who do trumpet it are almost always not humble and do not truly understand it!)

He accurately conveys the experience of normal people performing miraculous feats, and what gives them the ability to do so. He speaks from experience on this, and is entirely accurate and credible.

I know the author is telling the truth because I too once faced multiple armed attackers while unarmed with only one friend at my back. We were victorious and unscathed and I still cannot explain why. This book explains it.

A “must-read”!

9. The Book of Proverbs. I can’t say the Bible is easy to read. Unfortunately most claiming to understand it are adamantly prideful and oblivious, and sadly inaccurate. Yet you can always crack open Proverbs and get timeless wisdom that will set you on the right path and keep you sharp!

10. Egoefficacy: the New Way to Maximum Personal Effectiveness by H.W. Gabriel.

This unusual book dissects what REALLY happens when people communicate verbally and phsyiologically, how to prevent other from manipulating you, and how to keep yourself razor-keen and effective in all circumstances and relationships while never compromising your integrity, compassion and principles.

He includes several “how-to” “word-for-word” tactics and techniques to handle many different types of agitators, distractors and manipulators - whether it be a salesman, mother-in-law, boss or co-worker!

Easily worth 100 times it’s weight in gold!

Alright my friends, I’ve given you a list of the top 10 empowerment books.

I chose ones that are foundational and fundamental to transformation and liberation. With them, you can soar to new heights in your life. Once you’re there, I have a whole new set for you to get to the next level!

If you'd like the "short-cut to success" (it will require a little work, but not much) get the Martial Mastery course.

To Your Success

Scott Bolan