The following information regarding the ronin comes from the book The Way of the Ronin: Riding the Waves of Change at Work by Dr Beverly Potter. This information is located in the book's introduction.

A ronin is a masterless samurai. The Japanese characters which comprise the word literally mean "wave-man"-- one thrown about the seas of change. The word ronin had been used in Japan as far back as the 8th Century (page xi).

Ronin have existed as long as the samurai in Japan. However, ronin became more common during the Tokugawa Era (1600-1867) as Japan was moving out of its feudal era and toward being a nation state. The samurai were converted into bureaucrats, civil servants, and courtiers (page xii).

The samurai who wanted to remain warriors became ronin, and by 1700 ronin were forced into outlaw status as a result of the many severe restrictions placed on them (page xiii).

In order to survive in these times, the ronin lived by their wits because any mistake they made meant certain death (page xiv).

The ronin of feudal Japan can be compared to the "free lance" knight of feudal England, the "Renaissance Man" of that era in Europe, and the American "Maverick." The word maverick is Texan for an unbranded steer, and it is used to describe a free and self-directed individual (page xv).

Ronin strive for excellence in their work, and they are task and goal oriented. Ronin are ideal for the business climate of the 1990's because they are able to quickly adapt to whatever changes occur in the workplace as a result of both internal and external influences.