Bruce Lee: Words of the Dragon by John Little

Summary
  1. A compilation of Bruce Lee’s interviews from 1958-1973
Key Takeaways
  1. He simply knows what he wants and with a great deal of care, goes about achieving it
  2. In whatever he does, be it a small action or big decision, he reflects quality
  3. He is every minute of every day discovering new things, adding the essential, hacking away the unessential. Forever growing and expanding
  4. Walk on! – inspirational phrase he turned to often when he was bedridden with a back injury for many months
  5. Lee’s basic philosophy was to grasp the absolute necessity for honest self-expression. Understanding and striving for this is the key to fulfilling one’s potential
  6. The ultimate source of happiness, meaning, knowledge that we each long for from so many divergent sources ultimately resides within us all
  7. Gung fu = mastery in virtually any field
  8. The concept of oneness is expressed often, the Tao, the way. Firmness is concealed in softness
  9. One must learn to react rather than plan his movements
  10. On marriage
    1. The most satisfactory marriage is a friendship caught on fire. Romance dwindles and in its place must grow the day-to-day companionship that would endure throughout the couple’s life
    2. A successful marriage takes two halves which are more efficient whole than either half would ever be alone
    3. A husband and wife must simultaneously have both similar and different interests
  11. Only sober moderation lasts and persists through all time. Only the mid-part of anything is preserved because the pendulum must have balance, and the mid-part is the balance. The almighty oak cracks in the wind but the fragile and flexible bamboo simply bends and survives
  12. Each man blinds himself – the fetters are ignorance, laziness, preoccupation with self and fear.
  13. Gung fu is deadly simplicity which concerns self-defense and self-mastery, an empty mind
  14. Key life philosophy – look at things and draw from them the essence that made for its effectiveness
  15. Man is at his worst when he does not understand himself
  16. Victory gained by force is no real victory
  17. Worst opponent to face is one who’s aim has become an obsession
  18. Inability to adapt brings destruction
  19. “Self-actualization is the important thing. And my personal message to people is that I hope they will go towards self-actualization rather than self-image actualization. I hope they will search within themselves for honest self-expression.”
  20. Quality comes from never accepting less than your best. Quality > outcome
What I got out of it
  1. Good, broad overview of Bruce Lee’s career, philosophy and impact