The Swordless Samurai Leadership Wisdom of Japan's Sixteenth-Century Legend---Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Kitami Masao; Edited and with an Introduction by Tim Clark

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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During the Age of Wars, a time of endless chaos and bloodshed, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a Japanese peasant who dreamed of becoming a samurai. Without physical strength or social status, Hideyoshi had to rely on wits and ambition to realize that dream.

A keen student of human nature, he learned to outthink and outmaneuver every foe. Not only did he become a samurai, be he also commanded vast armies, and finally, became ruler of an entire nation. Hideyoshi far surpassed his childhood ambition—this son of a penniless farmer became one of the greatest military and civic leaders in history.

Hideyoshi left an impact on Japanese society, but his global legacy is the skilled leadership that he used to conquer and subdue superiors until he reached the pinnacle of power. Hideyoshi fought battles with hard work, bold action, gratitude and devotion instead of a sword. These ideologies of leadership skills are printed for the first time in English in The Swordless Samurai.


Praise for The Swordless Samurai

"By peeling back the curtain on one of Japan's most famous leaders, Tim Clark has given English language readers insight into one of the country's most widely admired and imitated heroes. Hideyoshi is no typical business guru, but his lessons have inspired generations of countrymen. The book is valuable reading for anyone doing business in Japan or looking for a deeper understanding of what makes leadership tick."—Ken Belson, The New York Times

"A guide to sage leadership and a political thriller rolled into one, Swordless Samurai is a must-read for anyone trying to steer their organization down the right path. The pages brim with lessons on how to inspire loyalty, mitigate weaknesses, and build trust-tactics used by the legendary Toyotomi Hideyoshi to unite feudal Japan's warring clans. But this is also a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of hubris, the downfall of empires and corporations alike. Hideyoshi's story, with its rollicking accounts of bloody battles and ingenious subterfuge, reveals how leaders can accomplish the seemingly impossible, and how they can avoid the darker consequences of success."—Brendan I. Koerner, contributing editor, Wired
"The wisdom of this sixteenth-century century samurai is astonishingly prescient and pertinent for twenty-first century leaders. Practical wisdom at its best."—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, USC, and author of On Becoming a Leader

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Gratitude, Hard Work,

Bold Action, and Devotion

So, boy. You wish to serve me?"

Silhouetted against the blue-black sky, the man on horseback, with his horned helmet, towered over me like a demon as I knelt in...

Read the full excerpt




  • Kitami Masao; Edited and with an Introduction by Tim Clark

  • Tim Clark spent a decade in Japan as a translator, writer, and founder of a consultancy that was acquired by a public corporation. Today he lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches entrepreneurship at Portland State University and serves as an adviser to SunBridge, a Tokyo-based venture-capital firm.

  • Tim Clark