Read Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke Online


From Ethan Hawke, four-time Academy Award nominee—twice for writing and twice for acting—an unforgettable fable about a father's journey and a timeless guide to life's many questions. A knight, fearing he may not return from battle, writes a letter to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows. In a series of ruminations on solitude, humility, forgivenessFrom Ethan Hawke, four-time Academy Award nominee—twice for writing and twice for acting—an unforgettable fable about a father's journey and a timeless guide to life's many questions. A knight, fearing he may not return from battle, writes a letter to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows. In a series of ruminations on solitude, humility, forgiveness, honesty, courage, grace, pride, and patience, he draws on the ancient teachings of Eastern and Western philosophy, and on the great spiritual and political writings of our time. His intent: to give his children a compass for a journey they will have to make alone, a short guide to what gives life meaning and beauty. ...

Title : Rules for a Knight
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780307962331
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 175 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Rules for a Knight Reviews

  • Diane
    2019-04-23 21:38

    This is a charming book for children that gives advice on how to be a good and noble person. I don't read a lot of children's books, but I saw this on display in the library and it was such a pretty edition that I checked it out.The story is that Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke wrote this letter to his children in 1483, on the eve of a battle that killed him. Fearing he would never see his family again, Sir Thomas wrote adages and guidelines that could help them throughout their lives. (While the title is about being a good knight, the advice also applies to girls.) The letter was preserved over the generations and ended up in the care of Mr. Ethan Hawke, who said he had help translating it from the original Cornish.The advice draws from a variety of sources, including religious parables, literary quotes and famous speeches, and they are written in short tales designed to be accessible to children. At the end of the book the author acknowledges the "other knights" whose ideas were paraphrased, including Marcus Aurelius, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.Some of my favorite adages were:Solitude: Create time alone with yourself. When seeking the wisdom and clarity of your own mind, silence is a helpful tool. The voice of our spirit is gentle and cannot be heard when it has to compete with others. Just as it is impossible to see your reflection in troubled water, so too is it with the soul. Grace: Grace is the ability to accept change. Be open and supple; the brittle break.Forgiveness: Those who cannot easily forgive will not collect many friends. Look for the best in others and yourself.Speech: Do not speak ill of others. A knight does not spread news that he does not know to be certain, or condemn things that he does not understand.Equality: Every knight holds human equality as an unwavering truth. A knight is never present when men or women are being degraded or compromised in any way, because if a knight were present, those committing the hurtful acts or words would be made to stop.After each introductory adage, which are accompanied by lovely illustrations of different birds, a longer story is told. While the tone of the writing isn't historically accurate, I appreciated the spirit of what the author was trying to do in making these knightly ideals more available to younger generations.The book itself is handsome, with an old-fashioned green fabric cover and a pretty typeface, and it's in that delightful pocket size that publishers used to commonly produce in the 19th century. I expected this to be a fun, fast read, but some of the stories were surprisingly thoughtful and I paused to reflect several times. This is a book I would happily give to my nieces and nephews.More Favorite Quotes"There are only two possible outcomes whenever you compare yourself to another, vanity or bitterness, and both are without value.""Every knight has weaknesses. You will be no different. Where there are peaks, there will be valleys. You can be angry with yourself when you have disappointed, but let those feelings pass over and through you. Like a dead branch falling from a tree, which then decomposes and nourishes the soil, your disappointments can transform into the elements of change and growth.""As you grow into maturity, do not concern yourself with aging. A rose is striking in full bloom only because it will never be so again, but a budding rose is also stunning, as are the dark petals of autumn. It is the fact that time is passing that creates its preciousness. A preoccupation with aesthetic beauty can be a distraction that leads young people away from pursuing a sincere exploration of their inner lives.""There have always been two ways to be rich: by accumulating vast sums or by needing very little.""Often we imagine that we will work hard until we arrive at some distant goal, and then we will be happy. This is a delusion. Happiness is the result of a life lived with purpose. Happiness is not an objective. It is the movement of life itself, a process, and an activity. It arises from curiosity and discovery. Seek pleasure and you will quickly discover the shortest path to suffering.""You are not fragile. Engage. Being timid is often the result of being too self-critical and too self-concerned. A knight does not stop at each victory; he pushes on to risk a more significant failure."

  • Fabian
    2019-05-03 16:42

    Another self-help guide in disguise.But Ethan Hawke is, it must be mentioned, undeniably talented (dude's got not one but two writing Oscar noms. Two! [& two acting ones! = 4 total!]). His words & phrases are tender, his examples almost rudimentary yet sublime. Almost. Also, it's a valuable testament of A Current Hollywood Actor's psyche. It would have made a much better tell all, with all the lessons to his children (on solitude, humility, gratitude, pride, cooperation, friendship, forgiveness, honesty, courage, grace, patience, justice, generosity, discipline, dedication, speech, faith, equality, love & death) in form of actual life parables, not imagined ones. Hawke is a knight in Hollywood's round table already, so a modern approach would have been best. One that speaks of celluloid victories... & not (superwhite) Renaissance fare.

  • Therese Neumann
    2019-05-15 01:00

    I was very skeptical of reading this, because of a prejudice that the famous often get undeserved book deals. After reading this sweet little collection of parables, I am very impressed with Ethan Hawke's charming book. The chapters are organized around a list of rules (humility, love, wisdom, etc...) and an accompanying story that shows the rule in practice. I really enjoyed the philosophical and thought-provoking tales. It's the type of book I would love to read to a child. The story of the wolves is especially moving. I'm really disappointed by the Goodreads community reviews of this book. I think people have judged this book by Ethan Hawke's film career and less by the content.

  • Teresa
    2019-05-13 18:45

    This is not the kind of book I typically read, much less buy. But on the weekend before Thanksgiving while in NYC, when getting ready to leave the Strand (not knowing I'd be there the next day too), I stopped when I saw this on a little stand. I picked it up and there was something I liked about its look and the feel of it in my hand. Or maybe I fell for the marketing: "Strand SIGNED Edition" a sticker trumpeted. It actually turned out to be an adequate transitional read for me. I was also drawn to most of the simple illustrations that lead each chapter, as they are all of different types of birds.It's a sweet vanity project in that it's obviously written for Hawke's children and all royalties go to groups that "help young people overcome learning disabilities".

  • Trish
    2019-05-11 20:43

    This handbook for knights is a 6” x 4” hardcover bound with green cloth and a gold ribbon to place as you read. Hawke initially did not intend it for wide circulation: It was begun when his wife and he decided to have some “rules of the house,” which became more like “rules for living” the more he tried to think about what was really important to share with his children. The format and the content suit one another. Twenty chapter headings address key attributes or phenomena that face each person as they grow, accompanied by a pen-and-ink drawing of a long-lived bird and a short statement around the concept. This is followed by a longer story, parable, lesson, or illustration of the concept in action. For instance, one of my favorites was “Discipline,” pictured with a grey heron: ”In the field of battle, as in all things, you will perform as you practice. With practice, you build the road to accomplish your goals. Excellence lives in attention to detail. Give your all, all the time. Don’t save anything for the walk home.The better a knight prepares, the less willing he will be to surrender.”The story that follows sounds like eastern philosophy: “Often we imagine that we will work hard until we arrive at some distant goal, and then we will be happy. This is delusion. Happiness is the result of a life lived with purpose.” Hawke goes further, articulating the need for discipline: “Without it, locating your saddle may take all morning.”On that tricky question of “Honesty” illustrated by a little owl, Hawke tells us that often “people lie because they feel the truth will cause pain to themselves or others. Do not fear suffering. The strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire. The facts are always friendly. Without a little agony, none of us would bother to learn a thing. The earth has to be tilled before the seeds can be planted.”Hawke adds chapters on surprising things, like "Equality" (tawny owl), and his chapter on "Love" (mute swans) is heartfelt and personal. His chapter on "Death" (blackbird skull) shares a wisdom we can all use. "Life is a long series of farewells, only the circumstances should surprise us."In this small book we sense naked emotion and lived experience at the same time it is charming, and useful. Perhaps it is his actor's gift, to do that. Hawke’s stories are often not his own: he has chosen stories and lessons he learned from Native American myth, Buddhism, high school coaches, Bob Dylan, among others and has turned them to his own purpose. Hawke adds a list of those he considers knights at the end of the book, in which list we find the names of Julian of Norwich, John Keats, and Martin Luther King, Jr. along with Thich Nhat Hanh, Joseph Papp, and River Phoenix.In a New Yorker interview about this book, Hawke says that he learned just enough to entertain rather than be scholarly. I sensed that lack a depth just a little at times, but we can all use what he has collected. We can imagine how purposeful and meaningful it must have been for him to pull together the more constant precepts he has encountered in his life and to have pared them all down to a few short pages. Very satisfying indeed, and an admirable attempt. We may not always agree with what Hawke has chosen to highlight or his interpretation, but placing our thinking next to his raises his challenge. This collection is well worth the perusal for teachers, parents, novelists, poets as well as middle-graders and teens.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-07 19:55

    Rules for a Knight is a quick and uplifting read. The premise of the book is a fictional letter written by a knight to his children in 1483 on the eve of a battle that would take his life. The letter provides a guideline for living an upright and virtuous life with anecdotes and pearls of wisdom. I would recommend this book especially for a young person.

  • Tara
    2019-05-08 16:37

    4.5 stars. I loved this little book. It caught my eye because of its intentionally retro binding, made in Germany to look like an old, moldy book that has been around for decades. Written by a knight during the eve of a final crusade, we get the vast knowledge of eastern and western philosophy, all the best of our collective religious teachings. It seems to be written for Hawke's own children, but it is written for all children and their parents. I found this in the adult section of the library. I plan to buy lots of copies at Christmas for friends and family. In this day and age of internet bullying and trolls, and horrid news of beheadings and shootings for kids to wake up to every day, this is an important, accessible, but hugely intelligent collection of brief ethical parables. Highly recommend. I wish I knew Hawke and could tell him how important and timely this book is. Illustrated by his wife with lovely bird drawings, playing on the hawk theme.

  • Steph
    2019-05-01 20:59

    I like the story it went through all the aspects of what makes people good and decent and the background of how the story came to be is so interesting that I have to read it. I really liked it and it was an interesting read especially when it was a letter to his children on the eve of battle it was kind of sweet and beautiful.

  • Terri
    2019-04-20 18:37

    What a lovely book of life lessons. Each chapter starts with a quote about love, humility, death , justice and then backs it up with a story related to it. We also learn the story of Sir Thomas through these parables and how he came to be a knight.This book is full of philosophy useful for everyday life.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-16 22:49

    Won in the First Reads giveaway.The writing was clear and lovely. It reminded me of The Alchemist. The illustrations were charming.

  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    2019-05-18 21:47

    Rules for a Knight was very sweet. I had experienced many of the parables before in either Buddhist or Christian teachings, but they are repackaged quite well in this small, green tome. I think that there will always be a place on my bookshelf for stories that teach about inner truths and the journey from apprenticeship to mastery. I also liked that the knight addressed himself to both his sons and his daughters. Probably not historically accurate, but I approve anyway.Some of my favorite bits:"...the first thing you must understand is that you need not have gone anywhere. You are always in the right place at exactly the right time and you always have been."pg 11"There are only two possible outcomes whenever you compare yourself to another, vanity or bitterness, and both are without value." pg 39"Pay attention: what you need to know is usually in front of you. There are no secrets, just things people choose not to notice."pg 63"Later he told me when he was younger he learned the secret to performing under pressure: don't do it for yourself. Do it for someone else."pg 67If you enjoyed Rules for a Knight, you may want to read Zen Seeds: Reflections of a Female Priest by Shundo Aoyama or After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield.

  • Rand
    2019-05-18 19:39

    Suitable bedtime reading for children of all ages who enjoy the reassuring irritation of being told how to be.Clichés done well enough to warrant multiple skimmings and at least one serious scrutiny.Collected cosmopolitan wisdom condensed into a single fabrication of a knight's rule (in Medieval life, monks first began to live by rules, as part of a tradition popularised by St. Benedict).It is most amusing that the promotional slipcover for this tiny tome contains a publicity still of the author from the film Reality Bites , at the height of his slackerdom.

  • Karen
    2019-04-24 16:38

    Wow! For such a small book it sure packs a powerful punch... right to the heart. These "rules for a knight" can and should be rules for everyone. Profound, deep, thought-provoking, spiritual... definitely a book to ponder and read over and over again.

  • Wart Hill
    2019-05-11 01:00


  • Julie Bozza
    2019-05-15 22:37

    This is really delightful. A nicely written musing on how to live a good life, suitably dexterous even when dealing with the huge matters of life and death. If I had kids, I'd happily read this with them time and time again, and it would probably help me as much as them. If I have one quibble, it would be that the medieval setting brings with it the distinction between knights and ladies. Even though the 'rules' are written in ways that can obviously apply to everyone, the illustrative narrative tends to focus on the more exciting adventures and 'outdoor' roles of knight and squire - which undermines the author's assurances that ladies must be chivalrous, too. Ethan Hawke can obviously write. He'd probably see no need for it, but I'd love for him to give this another go and see if he can't take traditional gender roles out of the thing entirely. Having quibbled all that, I'd still read it with my kids. I imagine it as being our go-to comfort read.

  • Evi
    2019-05-15 22:06

    Gisteren kon ik niet slapen. De volle maan straalde op mijn verhitte lijf, een hittegolf die 's nachts voortzette. Mijn hoofd was al even heet en kon zich niet ten ruste leggen. Ook al zat mijn week er op en kon ik mijn gedachten laten gaan. Ik kroop stiekem naar onze zolder, waar het lekker zwoel en donker was, knipte een lampje aan en begon te lezen hoe een edele jonkvrouw dient te leven. Meteen was ik in de helft. Het begon me te dagen dat Ridderschap en nobel leven altijd al van belang is geweest. Iedere generatie heeft gezocht naar manieren om te leven en hoe dit vorm te geven. Zo ook deze ridder: Een vader schrijft aan de vooravond van een veldslag zijn vier kinderen een brief, met daarin vervat de regels om nobel te leven. Dezelfde regels die hij op zijn beurt van zijn grootvader - waarvan hij schildknaap was - overgeleverd kreeg. Eigenlijk net als een hedendaagse overwerkte vader op zakenreis zou kunnen doen. Iedereen kan ten slotte plotseling 'geveld' worden. Iedere eeuw heeft daarvoor zijn ziekten en ongevallen. "Als jullie vader was ik aanwezig bij elk van jullie geboortes, en ik kan beamen dat in ieder van jullie iets magisch schuilt. Uit welke bron jullie leven ook is ontstaan, hij is diep, mysterieus, ongetemd en onbevattelijk. Ik heb er geen controle over, jullie evenmin. Sterker nog: we hebben maar heel weinig dingen in de hand, alleen onze keuze in de manier waarop we elke situatie aanpakken die zich voordoet. Vergeet niet dat sommige dingen zo mooi zijn, zo schitterend, dat er niet over gesproken kan worden, dat we ze alleen maar kunnen ervaren."Evenzo zal u het boek zelf moeten ervaren om de ridder in u aan te spreken.Hoe verder in het boek ik kwam hoe meer ik me een bekwame ridder begon te voelen. Mijn therapeutische idealen komen erg dicht bij deze beschreven voor de nobele jonkheren- en vrouwen. Met enige trots kon ik bij de epiloog dan ook vaststellen dat mijn trouwe Koning Carl Rogers vernoemd werd als één van de hedendaagse ridders waar het boek op gebaseerd was. Pluim dus mijnentwege voor Ridder Hawke. Wie was hij ook alweer?Ik moet hem googlen om te weten wie hij is. Acteur Ethan Hawke. De vader in 'Boyhood', geen goede film wat mij betreft overigens, maar wel weer één met een thema om u tegen te zeggen. Ook de 'Before'-reeks, dewelke ik graag binnenkort wil zien, staat op zijn palmeres. Laat ons dan maar concluderen dat ik duidelijk door zijn thema's wordt aangetrokken.Het boek is doorspekt met prachtige metaforen (De blauwe stenen mokken thee, de twee wolven in jezelf,...) Niet volledig onbekend, tonen dezelfde Ridders aan het einde van het boek aan. Hedendaagse ridders doen hun zegje in oude taal en liederen. Ieder hoofdstuk is voorzien van een prachtige vogel-tekening uit het Hawke-repertoire.Nog een laatste:"Laat je niet misleiden en laat je niet opjagen. Fouten maken kan altijd nog."Wanneer ik vanmiddag bij een ijsje alweer in gedachten een zak chips kocht en tijterwijl de lessen rond nederigheid en toewijding las betrapte ik me erop dat ik net als iedere wanabe-ridder nog veel te leren heb... Leze u het boek vooral zelf.

  • Kressel Housman
    2019-04-28 23:54

    The “sweaty-toothed madman” scene between Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke in “Dead Poets Society” is my favorite scene in any movie ever, so I went into Ethan Hawke’s new book with quite a bit of partiality. I was also drawn to it because he wrote it for his teenage kids, and I, too, am the parent of teenagers. The book is written as a letter of advice from the fictional Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke to his children, and it covers such values as humility, pride, justice, courage, and proper speech. Basically, it’s everything a knight (or a human) needs to know in order to live an honorable life. I hoped the book would be something I’d want to share with my kids, and I thought it might have particular appeal to my D&D player. But alas, there’s no dragon-slaying in this book. I think my chess player might like it more.Having said that, I still intend to share this book with my kids. It teaches positive values that are consistent with Judaism, particularly the metaphor of the two wolves, but it’s not a religious book, so they’ll be more open to it than they would a mussar bichel. It’s also a short, fast read, and quite pretty, too, so it would make a nice gift, not just for teenagers, but for anyone. Animal rights activists will love the ballad poem at the end, and the list of knights was fascinating. I highly recommend it.

  • John
    2019-04-25 23:00

    ""Why am I alive? Where was I before I was born? What will happen to me when I die? Whatever well our lives are drawn from, it is deep, wild, mysterious, and unknowable..."Rules for a Knight is many things: a code of ethics; an intimate record of a lifelong quest; a careful recounting of a knight's hardest won lessons, deepest aspirations, and most richly instructive failures; and an artifact, a relic of a father's exquisite love." I really enjoyed this book. It was a pretty quick read and seemed steeped in eastern philosophy. The book reminded me of the little books of knowledge from Thich Naht Hahn or the Dalai lama

  • Kristina
    2019-05-09 00:52

    My mom sent this to me as a gift with a little love letter telling me that she wanted to leave me with something that said all the things she would want me to know and learn in my life and said this book said everything she would want to say, only better. It was a sweet little book about a knight writing a letter to his children on what may be his last campaign. It's all the stuff he wants them to know in order to grow up to be decent people in case he doesn't make it back to tell them himself. It's accompanied by some really cute pencil drawings of birds and bird related things.

  • Madeleine
    2019-04-25 22:00

    *3.5/5This book reminded me a good deal of Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho. Both books are more like manuals on how to live a "good" life than any kind of novel, but written in ways that don't come across as pretentious or preaching. In the case of Rules for a Knight, this is definitely a book I would like to own a physical copy of -- I borrowed this copy digitally from my library -- so I guess I've got a trip to the bookstore in my future.

  • Chase Bragan
    2019-05-18 00:04

    This book's message is the type of message people should look to. "There are only two outcomes when you compare yourself to another, Vanity or Bitterness, both are without value"This book is my bible.

  • Sophia El Kerdini
    2019-05-10 22:40

    Beautiful book, beautiful gift, beautiful heritage to leave for one's children.

  • Sarah83 L
    2019-05-16 17:00

    Ein wunderschönes Werk über die Lehren des Rittertumd und ihre Aufgaben in der heutigen Zeit.

  • Chihoe Ho
    2019-05-19 21:53

    My apologies multiple Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, "Rules For A Knight" just wasn't for me at this time. I say "at this time" because this book is very mood-specific for it to resonate with the reader, and I wasn't immersed in it. It sometimes gets a little preachy for my taste on some very basic common sense on humanity, and with each mini chapter structured around a certain quality, the narrative came across scattered and without purpose. Or perhaps I'll never be enlightened by it, which by definition means I won't ever become a knight.The Editor's Note does put a lot of things about this little fable into context, making it more personal for Hawke and personable for me. The reconstructed illustrations of various birds by his wife for each "rule" - a cockerel for Pride, a robin's eggs for Patience, amongst others - were winning touches as well. So, I can see the agreeableness of "Rules For A Knight" for anyone looking for some in-the-moment inspirational hodgepodge.

  • JoLene
    2019-05-07 22:01

    This is a charming set of live lessons. The premise is that a knight is writing a letter to his children before he goes into battle. He is imparting his wisdom though 20 rules for a knight and then tells additional stories to illustrate the rules. This is a book that can be read in one sitting. The lessons are simple, but have a big impact. While none of the ideas are especially new and some are particularly modern, the premise and the writing make this short work very powerful. I highly recommend this to anyone, but could see parents getting a lot of mileage reading this to their kids as a bedtime story. Who doesn't like a good tale of Knights?

  • Jenny Kim
    2019-05-02 22:04

    * Based on a reading of ARC A quick, easy read with some ah moments but overall, basic knowledge and social etiquettes are shared with beautiful illustrations. I felt it was author's social commentary and wish for modern society. A nerd like me who has interest in knights (Jedis) and what we thought they stood for in the past - Chivalry and Honour will likely pick up this book.I just wish he made this into full on fantasy-fiction, then I might have like it more.

  • Katja
    2019-04-24 00:55

    Ritter Thomas schreibt seinen Kindern einen langen Brief am Vorabend einer entscheidenden Schlacht, in dem er ihnen Ratschläge und Lektionen in kleinen wunderbaren Geschichten lehrt. Ethan Hawke beweist in diesen kleinen Anleitungen an das Leben einmal mehr sein großes schriftstellerisches Talent. (Dezember 2016)

  • Lani
    2019-04-29 19:00

    Good if your looking for some life inspiration. It's kind of like The Lecture but a fictional short story with the same lessons. Summed up, "Just be nice and do the right thing".I might even try to be a better person after reading it! OK, I'm sure sarcasm doesn't count, right?

  • Nicole Karlson
    2019-05-20 22:38

    Sweet and charming book filled with life lessons and advice. I thought it was great.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-16 23:43

    i loved this book, which surprised me, b/c i'm not a big fan of ethan hawke. when i think of the things i want my children to learn, i think to write them down for them, to give to them in the near future, but i don't think i can ever do it eloquently enough, truly conveying what i want. well, ethan hawke did, in the guise of a knight, fearing death is close, but wanting to leave behind everything he had hoped to be able to teach his children in life. both my children will receive this book in the near future. i don't want them to have to wait to learn some of these life lessons as i did. and i loved that he did it in the romantic medieval times. and i love that he ended with the beautiful ballad that was referenced in the father's writings to his children.