Oct 28, 2012

Review: The Way Of The Bow

The Way Of The Bow
The Way Of The Bow by Paulo Coelho

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The way of the bow is a story of an archer who had mastered not only archery, but how to use the skills he had learned to live at peace. The story begins with a stranger asking for a man named Tetsuya at a boy who probably lived in the neighborhood. The boy was startled when the stranger asked for Tetsuya, the most famous archer. All these years the boy and the neighborhood knew Tetsuya only as a carpenter.

When the stranger finally met Tetsuya, he challenged Tetsuya to prove that he had perfected the art of archery and so he be announced as the best archer in the world. Tetsuya observed the stranger's posture, the way he held the bow, drew the arrow, set an eye on his target and the way he released the arrow towards the target. He immediately understood that the stranger had perfected the art, but failed to control his mind. In order to prove his point, Tetsuya took the stranger to a broken wooden bridge in a mountain, went to the middle of the bridge, balanced himself, took his bow and with a borrowed arrow shot at a target he had set at 20 meters distance. He then asked the stranger to repeat what he did in order to be accepted as the world's best archer.

Failing to do so, the stranger accepted his failure, bowed in front of him and left with the promise that he would never reveal the identity of Tetsuya to anyone. On the way back home, the boy led with his curiosity, asked Tetsuya to teach him the real art of archery.

Tetsuya taught the boy about the bow, the arrow, the target, the posture and finally the flight of the arrow in a philosophical way. The teaching ended when both the boy and Tetsuya reached the carpentry workshop. When Tetsuya bid a goodbye to the boy, the boy asked him to share his own story.

Long ago, when Tetsuya was working for a great nobleman, he spent most of his time with booze and girls to the extent that he fell down one day and was almost dying. An archer saw Tetsuya in an unconscious state, took him to his place and medicated him. Upon recovery, Tetsuya asked his saviour to teach him archery as he had found the art to be meaningful than whatever he had done in his life so far. After teaching archery to Tetsuya,the man took his arrows leaving the bow as a souvenir and asked him to leave and do what he loved to do. Tatsuya realized that he loved carpentry and that's how he ended up starting a carpentry workshop.

After reading the book, every reader would find himself at peace, draw inspiration from the story to love what he/she does and strive to evolve into a better archer. For archery, as Paulo Coelho writes, is not just about leaving the arrow from its bow with precision, but with soul.

The Way of the Bow is available for free download from here.