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Be Water, My Friend

The Teachings of Bruce Lee

Shannon Lee

Flatiron Books

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ISBN10: 1250206685
ISBN13: 9781250206688


240 Pages



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"Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless like water."

Bruce Lee is a cultural icon, renowned the world over for his martial arts and film legacy. But Lee was also a deeply philosophical thinker, learning at an early age that martial arts are more than just an exercise in physical discipline—they are an apt metaphor for living a fully realized life.

Now, in Be Water, My Friend, Lee’s daughter Shannon shares the concepts at the core of his philosophies, showing how they can serve as tools of personal growth and self-actualization. Each chapter brings a lesson from Bruce Lee’s teachings, expanding on the foundation of his iconic “be water” philosophy. Over the course of the book, we discover how being like water allows us to embody fluidity and naturalness in life, bringing us closer to our essential flowing nature and our ability to be powerful, self-expressed, and free.

Through previously untold stories from her father’s life and from her own journey in embodying these lessons, Shannon presents these philosophies in tangible, accessible ways. With Bruce Lee’s words as a guide, she encourages readers to pursue their essential selves and apply these ideas and practices to their everyday lives—whether in learning new things, overcoming obstacles, or ultimately finding their true path.

Be Water, My Friend is an inspirational invitation to us all, a gentle call to action to consider our lives with new eyes. It is also a testament to how one man's exploration and determination transcended time and place to ignite our imaginations—and to inspire many around the world to transform their lives.


Praise for Be Water, My Friend

"Bruce Lee's daughter breathes life into her father's enduring lessons and philosophies. 'Empty your mind,' as Lee would say, and let his words wash over you."Newsweek

"'A good book,' John Milton once wrote, 'is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to life beyond life.' That is what we’re talking about here. The beauty of this work goes beyond the clarity in which the subject is seen—it’s also in the deep look you get within yourself, which, I suppose, is the hallmark of every profound book."—Cal Fussman, New York Times bestselling author and host of Big Questions podcast

"In Be Water, My Friend, Shannon Lee reveals her father’s genius behind all the on-screen exploits. Through excerpts of his private writings and intimate stories of his personal life, she reveals his philosophies for mindful living. Best of all, she writes the way her father moved—in a way that is direct, poetic, and powerful. A wonderful guide to Bruce Lee’s timeless insights."—Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

"Look, I'm sorry that you can't be Bruce Lee. But that's okay, because you can become a better version of you the same way Bruce Lee did. And no one is better at walking you down that path than his daughter Shannon. The same clarity, vision, and life force that the world connected to when Bruce was on screen comes through Shannon. And these pages are filled with all that energy and more. Shannon is both the rightful inheritor of his legacy and the person who understands it best. We are lucky she is sharing this version—the most human version—of her father with us."—W. Kamau Bell, host of "United Shades of America"

"Thematically arranged by life lessons, the text is filled with sage instruction on a variety of themes . . . An inspirational commemorative for Lee aficionados and those sharpening their personal-growth skills."Kirkus Reviews

"An essential book for fans of Lee and those looking for find purpose in life. Highly recommended for all readers."Library Journal (starred review)

"This inspired guide will remind any reader that, while one cannot control external circumstance, how one responds is always a choice."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


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When I was growing up, my mom used to tell my brother and me not to tell people that Bruce Lee was our dad. She said, “Let people get to know you for who you are without that information.” It was great advice, and for...

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About the author

Shannon Lee

Shannon Lee is the CEO and Owner of the Bruce Lee Family Companies and President of the Bruce Lee Foundation, as well as the daughter of the legendary martial artist and cultural icon, Bruce Lee. Shannon’s mission is to provide access to her father’s philosophy and life through education and entertainment. She is the creator of Camp Bruce Lee through the Bruce Lee Foundation, and has spoken at TED, TEDx, and Creative Mornings, to name a few. Shannon lives in California with her daughter, Wren, where she co-hosts the Bruce Lee Podcast and executive produces Cinemax’s Warrior.

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