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July 23, 2010


Giovanni Lanzani

Great article Garr,

I really enjoyed this article (along with almost every other you wrote).



I liked this post. May we be like bamboo!

Jose Arriaga

Great post! We should all strive for creative and simple solutions for audiences and clients.

Thanks Garr

Mike Sporer

Real words of widsom, Garr. Perfect timing for me...just what I needed.


I was really impressed the article.

In Japanese, when we say your personality as 'split bamboo', that means you are openhearted and a straight talker - just like you found!

The notion of the bamboo's emptiness was very interesting. Maybe, that is the reason why bamboo is so flexible.

Thanks for the post!


Amazing analogy Garr ..Just perfect and highly inspirational.. Your posts about Focus, Zen garden & many many out of japanese culture are very inspiring !
A BIG Fan :)

Nora O'Neill

Thank you for such a beautiful refocusing on the deeper values of living well in a complex world.


Good article on presentations, life. It made me feel natuskashii as I lived in Nara a few years back.


while I understand your ideals in saying this....it's, well, too idealistic based on simplistic philosophy.

reality is, steal and concrete trump bamboo by a long shot :) complex engineering beats it.

bamboo doesn't adapt, it splinters all too easily,

basically, like aikido, its completely useless for real pragmatic purposes beyond some simple forms in which it excels.

if you want to be a good startup, a good company, might be better to model yourself after an MMA fighter :)


Thanks for your input, Keith.

<< it's, well, too idealistic based on simplistic philosophy.

Mine was a simple observation and analogy. No attempts at philosophy here I am afraid, "simplistic" or otherwise.

<< reality is, steal and concrete trump bamboo by a long shot

Well, the point is not merely to think of all the things that can destroy bamboo, but to see what, if anything, it has to teach us by analogy -- but since you mentioned it. Even steel and concrete are no match for the elements (i.e., nature).

When the humans abandon their steel and concrete buildings, nature quickly takes over. See for example Battleship Island off Nagasaki or read the book The World Without Us. Steel and concrete have good utility, but they are ephemeral. Personally, I find inspiration and teachings in the nature around me. In the words of Kensho Furuya "Don't try to conquer Nature; try to learn from Nature. Nature is the great teacher."

<< like aikido, its completely useless for real pragmatic purposes

The lessons from nature are there for those who will see them. As for Aikido being "useless," I think you may be missing the point. The main point of martial arts training is not competition nor even mastery of technique. Isn't the real lesson of budo the mastery of self? The real lessons of the martial arts are very practical and extend far beyond the dojo. One of the real lessons is surely cultivating inner strength.

Thanks very much for taking the time to comment.

Marco Caressa

Good article and interesting input. Elegance through semplicity.

I completely agree with you about learning from Nature and discovering analogies. Practically all we've learned comes from Nature (i.e. importance of feedback in control of dynamic systems, power of net structures as in living systems, etc.)

Thanks for your work

P.S. talking about complex engineering and material resistance, the material of a spider web is 4 resistant than steel and 3 times elastic than kevlar :-)


You are more ‘Japanese’ than ordinary Japanese people(including me).
You are like an egg. Outside is white, but inside is yellow.As a Japanese, I'm glad to see how deeply you love Japan.

Jude Rathburn

Hi Garr. Thanks for the wonderful post - I have also been attracted to the simple beauty of bamboo. Your analogy helped me to understand the many lessons that bamboo has to offer. Is it possible for you to post a PDF version of your post to make it easier to print and post on my inspiration board in my office? Thanks.


Hello Garr,

thanks for your inspiring post. I've been following your blog for a couple of years and I want to tell you that is wonderful.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Olga from Barcelona, Spain


Good article.

Nikki Ty-Tomkins

A beautiful piece. I was searching for the quote " I am the hollow reed through which life flows" and was unable to locate the source. But instead I found this moving article which shares many other wise observations on bamboo.

Thank you, Shukriya and Mahalo. We can all learn from the bamboo forest no matter what culture we are born or adopted into.

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