Sun Tzu: What Kind of War Will You Lead Today?

 

Timeless strategies for smartest battles that lead you to victory. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

I postponed reading Sun Tzu ’s book – The Art of Warseveral times. I wasn’t very sure that this is the kind of lecture I was looking for. After reading it, I discovered impressive ideas and timeless advices in The Art of War written by Sun Tzu. I selected best nuggets (visual quotes from books) and put them in the summary below.


STRATEGIES / THE ART OF WAR

“Disorder came from order, fear came from courage, weakness came from strength.”


Of course, I heard in many contexts talking about Sun Tzu ’s book – The Art of War. I’m not a big fan of military field – so definitely this was not my main source of information. What really surprised me was the fact that I heard or read about it in various contexts. So much different from the military type.

And these different approaches convinced me that maybe it’s time to have a look of my own. To create my own opinion.

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So, allowed me to start with one small conclusion: you don’t have to be a warrior or to work in military services to be interested in reading this book.

Passionate by history? This is the book you should definitely read.

Business. Sports. Philosophy. Economics. Psychology. You’ll find The Art of War useful in various fields.

13 chapters will keep you awake, strongly connected to your full capacity of mind. Developing a sharp attention to the others. But even much more attention to yourself.

I’ll put below a brief description to help you have a small preview about what are you going to find in this book.

  1. Detail Assessment and Planning: Be prepared to deal with five fundamental concepts: the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership and management.
  2. Waging War: Decision making process is a challenging one. So, you have to take into account which will be the costs for engaging into a conflict.
  3. Strategic Attack: is defined by Sun Tzu through five factors that are needed to succeed in any war: Attack, Strategy, Alliances, Army and Cities.
  4. Disposition of the Army:This chapter is a lesson about the importance of defending and also about the relevance of recognizing strategic opportunities.

“The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

  1. Forces: Time, creativity and sharp minds. Those are the main tools for leading an army
  2. Weaknesses and Strengths: Sun Tzu is playing with these two key-concepts in order to underline that there is an extraordinary powerful tool that may help you turn everything in your favor: seeing the opportunities.

 

So, relating to the enemy you’ll learn from this book that:

“The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

And, relating to your own army, you’ll find out that:

“Disorder came from order, fear came from courage, weakness came from strength.”

Sun Tzu  Disorder came from order,

  1. Military Maneuvers: Which will be the risk of a direct conflict? How can you win this kind of confrontations? The “Military Maneuvers” chapter will provide you the answers to you questions.
  1. Variations and Adaptability: A war is full of unexpected. Maybe you cannot anticipate which will be the next move of your enemy. But what you can do is to expect the unexpected and be prepared for it

 “He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.”

  1. Movement and Development of Troops: focusing on your enemies’ intentions. This should be part of your strategy. Analyze and anticipate will help you understand better the situations you’ll may find yourself and to make intelligent moves through new enemy territories.
  2. Terrain: You’ll find out here which are: the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers and barriers) and the six types of ground positions that arise from them.
  3. The Nine Battlegrounds: In this chapter Sun Tzu describes the nine common stages in a campaign, and explains how a commander should act in order to successfully navigate them.
  4. Attacking with Fire: Are the weapons the only tools in order to obtain the victory? A strategic mind will see further than this. The general should use weapons but also he should take into account using the environment as a weapon, too.
  1. Intelligence and Espionage: Information and intelligence are in perfect harmony and complementarity. In this chapter, Sun Tzu specifies five types of intelligence sources and which will be the best approach on managing each of them.

A great lesson I learned from this book is that a strategic mind derives from a complex introspection.

It doesn’t matter what kind of battle you take. The rules remain the same. The enemies are still enemies. The victory will still taste the same.

It’s up to you the strategy you choose. The weapons you use. But, above all this it’s up to you to avoid the mistake you may be able to make.

“There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
(2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
(4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.“

Even if I was fascinated by the historical part of this book, what I really loved was to see the other face of this coin. The other interpretation of Sun Tzu’s approach. His advices are not only timeless, but also priceless.

How useful The Art of War has proving to be during the time?

Maybe you’ll not be surprised to find out – but definitely you’ll find this at least interesting – that during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, General Vo Nguyen Giap successfully implemented tactics described in The Art of War. On the other hand, it seems that the strategy of deception from The Art of War was also studied and widely used by the KGB.

Far from being too classic or too specific, The Art of War will definitely captivate your attention and find a special place on your bookshelf.

Until you start reading it, I put below a nugget that I bet that it will awaken your interest:

“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”


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