2,500 Years Old, Still
Chinese classics were written in a very
general universal style. They were meant to be templates for life
experiences – templates to be used by anyone, at any time, in any situation.
The written language of
China lends itself well to this phenomenon.
Each character, or ideogram, is a multidimensional picture of an idea. Each
can be looked at from a number of angles and experienced in a variety of
ways. This mutable quality in the written language somehow triggers
responses that feel personal and timely."1
The Art of War' is one of the world's best books on
competition. It was written in app. 500 B.C. and established itself as the
leading treatise on confronting and defeating opponents through superior
For over twenty-five hundred years, it helped its readers find
using the secrets of Sun Tzu. Its competitive
methods work extremely well. 'The Art of War', the first of the military
classic, offers a distinct philosophy on how to discover the
success. This philosophy works in any competitive environment where people
contesting with one another for a specific goal.
It is a work of subtlety and paradox that shows
how to succeed effortlessly in rising to
life's challenges. Sun Tzu
believed that victory is won long before the confrontation and insisted that
a skilled warrior can observe, calculate and outwit the adversary without
ever engaging in battle.
"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war,
while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
"To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of
skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."
"What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but
excels in winning with ease."
"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious."
Today, many leading business schools around the
world teach their students how to
competitive advantage by applying the methods of Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu's
The Art of War provided a strong basis for the
Positioning School of strategic
management. This school was the dominant view of strategy formulation in
between a warrior and an ordinary person is that
the warrior sees everything as
while an ordinary person sees everything as a blessing or a curse."
~ Carlos Castaneda
"The Art of War"
Going to War
You can fight a war for a long time or you
can make your nation strong. You can't do both.
Doing the right things at the start of war is
like approaching a woman. Your enemy's men must open the door. After that,
you should act like a streaking rabbit. The enemy will be unable to catch
Creating Sustainable Profits:
9 Questions To Answer
Your will find a place where you can win. Don't pass it by.
enemy has a strong position, entice
him away from it...
Planning an Attack
Surprise To Win:
The best policy is to attack while the enemy is
The next best is to disrupt alliances.
The next best is to attack the opposing army.
The worst is to attack the enemy's cities.
5 Strategic Questions
Weakness and Strength
form your strategy, know the
and weaknesses of your plan.
execute, know how to manage both
action and inaction.
When you take a position, know the deadly and
the winning grounds.
When you battle, know when you have too many of
too few men.
3 Strategies of
Do not trust that the enemy isn't coming. Trust
on your readiness to meet him.
Do not trust that the enemy won't attack. Rely
only on your ability to pick a place that the enemy can't attack.
You can deter your potential enemy by using his
weaknesses against him.
You can keep your enemy's army busy by giving
it work to do.
You can rush your enemy by offering him an
Know your enemy and know yourself
– your victory will be painless.
Know the weather and the field
– your victory will be complete.
vs. Red Ocean Strategy
Be the first to seize intersecting ground, that
is ground which lies the intersections of borders or intersections of main
thoroughfares of commerce and travel. Your occupation of it gives you access
to all who border it and all who would covet it. On intersecting ground, if
you establish alliances you are safe, if you lose alliances you are in
You don't know the local mountains,
forests, hills and marshes? Then you cannot march the army. You don't
have local guides? You won't get any of the benefits of the terrain.
We cannot enter into informed alliances until
we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors and the plans of our
adversaries. When entering enemy territory, in order to lead your army, you
must know the face of the country – its mountains and forests, its pitfalls
and precipices, its marshes and swamps. Without local guides, you are unable
to turn to your account the natural advantages to be obtained from the land.
Without local guides, your enemy employs the land as a weapon against you.
The relative size of your force as against that
of your adversary is by itself of no consequence. What controls is the
relative size of your force at the point where you join in battle. You can
strike with the few and be many if you strike your adversary in his gaps.
Seek out places where the defense is not strict, the place not tightly
guarded, the generals weak, the troops disorderly, the supplies are scarce
and the forces are isolated.
Seeking armed conflict can be disastrous.
Because of this, a detour can be the shortest path. Because of this,
problems can become opportunities. Use an indirect route as your highway.
Use the search for advantage to guide you. You must know the detour that
most directly accomplishes your plan.
Do not let any of your potential enemies know
of what you are planning.
Still, you must not hesitate to form
You must know the lay of the land. You must
know where the obstructions are. You must know where the marshes are. If you
don't, you cannot move the army.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong
and to strike at what is weak. Water shapes its course according to the
nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory
in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
You must use local guides. If you don't, you
can't take advantage of the terrain.
You make war using a deceptive position. If you
use deception, then you can move. Using deception, you can upset the enemy
and change the situation.
You must move as
quickly as the wind.
You must rise like the forest.
You must invade and plunder like fire.
You must stay as motionless as a mountain.
You must be as mysterious as the fog.
You must strike like sounding thunder.
What enables the wise sovereign and the good
general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of
ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
The value of time, that is of
being a little ahead
of your opponent, often provides greater advantage than superior numbers
or greater resources.
The essential factor of military success is
speed, that is taking advantage of others' unpreparedness or lack of
foresight, their failure to catch up, going by routes they do not expect,
attacking where they are not on guard. This you cannot accomplish with
Thus, though I have heard of successful
military operations that were clumsy but swift, cleverness has never been
seen associated with long delays.
Today's Success Story
Gary Gagliardy, America's leading authority on
using Sun Tzu's methods in modern competition, writes: 'Before I discovered
The Art of War, I tried starting two businesses. The first consumed money
for almost two years before we closed it down. The second fell apart and was
sold within a year. After I started studying and using Sun Tzu's methods,
the next business that I started went on to become one of the Inc. 500
fastest growing privately owned businesses in