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Bruce Lee’s Reading Life

Who knew that Bruce Lee was known to carry a book with him every where he went and that his spare time was consumed with reading and visiting  bookstores? And that before he went all in with kung fu he even dreamed of owning a used bookstore.

The latest installment of The Libraries of Famous Men series at the Art of Manliness is devoted to Bruce Lee and his deep relationship with books and includes this “sampling of Bruce’s favorite authors and most interesting titles.”

Western Philosophy:

  • Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
  • Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes
  • The Undiscovered Self by Carl Jung
  • On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers
  • The Works of Bertrand Russell
  • The Works of Plato
  • Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian
  • Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (and other Campbell titles)
  • Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza
  • Maxims and Reflections by Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Eastern Philosophy:

  • The Works of Jiddu Krishnamurti (whom Polly notes was “one of his more important influences”)
  • Tao-Te-Ching by Lao-Tzu
  • The Way of Chuang-Tzu
  • The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
  • The Works of Alan Watts
  • The Analects of Confucius
  • Art of War by Sun-Tzu
  • Bushido: The Soul of the Samurai
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (and many other Hesse titles)
  • Buddhism by Christmas Humphreys (and dozens of other Buddhism-related titles)
  • The Chinese Classics compiled by James Legge (all 5 volumes)
  • Living Zen by Robert Linssen (and many other Zen-related titles)

Martial Arts/Fencing/Boxing:

  • On Fencing by Aldo Nadi (plus at least 60(!) other books on fencing and fencing theory)
  • Aikido: The Art of Self-Defense by Ko„ichi Tohei
  • Advanced Karate by Mas Oyama (and many other Oyama titles)
  • A Beginner’s Book of Gymnastics by Barry Johnson
  • Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey
  • Book of Boxing and Bodybuilding by Rocky Marciano
  • How to Box by Joe Louis
  • US Army Boxing Manual
  • Efficiency of Human Movement by Marion Ruth Broer
  • Physiology of Exercise by Laurence Morehouse
  • Wing Chun by James Lee
  • Acupuncture: The Ancient Chinese Art of Healing by Felix Mann
  • Esquire’s The Art of Keeping Fit 
  • Combat Training of the Individual Soldier by the US Army
  • Modern Bodybuilding by Oscar Heidenstam

American Self-Help:

  • The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (and many other Peale titles)
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Dynamic Thinking by Melvin Powers
  • The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
  • As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
  • The Success System That Never Fails by Clement Stone
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger

Miscellaneous:

  • Elements of Style by Strunk and White
  • Playboy’s Party Jokes & More Playboy’s Party Jokes
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (one of the few novels)
  • The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
  • The Story of Civilization by Will Durant (all 11 volumes!)
  • The Viking Book of Aphorisms
  • The Works of Shakespeare

and if you needed a little more to convince you that Lee was a true bibliophile take a look at his headstone.

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