GaryGagliardi's blog

Seeing Patterns: Real or Imaginary?

Human beings are wired to find patters, but unfortunately, we can see patterns even where they do not exist. A recent study in Science magazine demonstrates the people imagine patterns even where there are none, especially in times of stress. Like all of science, Sun Tzu's strategy uses patterns, models, for making decisions about the chaotic information in the environment, but these models have been proven over 2,500 years in the most unforgiving environment of all: the life and death struggles of war.

Clear Opportunity: Opposing Bailout

Good strategy means looking and using obvious opportunities rather than looking for opportunities that are subtle and clever. The amazing thing about real life is that people overlook the most obvious opportunities, almost purposely avoiding moving into openings simply because no one else is moving into them. Of course, an opening is defined by the fact no one is moving into it, but our herd instinct works against good strategy.

The Future of Strategy: Creating a Home for Students of Sun Tzu

I personally try to contact all the people who download our free copy of Sun Tzu's work, but one of my frustrations in that most readers don't seem to realize that learning strategy isn't about simply reading a book but relearning how they think about success. Thanks to our recent trainers meeting, I realize what people studying Sun Tzu have been looking for home, a place where they can get together with other people who want to master those concepts. I was recently invited to be part of a group setting up a local Seattle chapter of the Association for Strategic Planners.

SOSI Expands Membership Options

The Science of Strategy Institute is opening membership to the general public who want to use the adaptive strategy of Sun Tzu to be more successful. We are offering a home for a growing number Sun Tzu devotees. Since we have grown to serve a diverse community of people including those interested using better strategy in business, military, martial arts, gaming, and as a life philosophy, we will be offering a number of new community features to help our members network and share experiences.

The Natural Balance of Fullness and Emptiness: How Government Bailouts Make Things Worse

As with all sciences, the study of strategy studies the operation of natural systems. All such systems exist as a balance of forces. Sun Tzu abstracted this balance as emptiness and fullness, basing his vision on the concept of complementary opposites that is known as the Chinese concept of yinyang. The dynamics of nature continually shift the balance of forces, but the universe doesn't fly off in chaos or freezing into stasis because of this mainspring built into nature. While we humans can leverage the forces of nature, we cannot control them.

The Limits of Control: Why Bailouts Don't Work

One of the foundations of Sun Tzu's system is that we have to adapt to environment because we cannot control it. I have written extensively about the illusion of control in many posts, especially the mistaken idea that the government is god and can rewrite the rules of nature at will. This has failed every time it has been attempted. As long as our political candidates feel they need to perpetuate the illusion of government control, we are the worse for it. While Wall Street rose briefly on the news of the government bailout, you cannot hold back the tide.

Two Ways to Win: The Presidential Debate

Sun Tzu teaches two key ways to win a battle, that is, a meeting of opponents, of two evenly matched opponents. The first is preparing a surprise beforehand. There is always a risk in this because battle is unpredictable, but the idea is that you will be better prepared than your opponent. If it works, the confusion of surprise creates an opening that you can use. If you aren't prepared to risk a surprise, you have to wait for your opponent to make a mistake and take advantage of it.

The Battle Looms: Upcoming Presidential Debates

Much of Sun Tzu's system is based on choosing the conditions under which we meet our opponents. The term that we translate as "battle" from Chinese means "a meeting." It is not the same concept as "conflict," which is another Chinese character (and the worst case outcome of any meeting). Too often, we prepare for meetings with opponents thinking only in terms of conflict and, since that is what both side prepare for, it is too often the result. We are about to see the first meeting of the presidential race.

Over-Reaction to Attack: the Obama Campaign

In Sun Tzu's adaptive response strategy, the one big no-no in the face of adversity is to over-react. The system is about knowing exactly how to respond. If you don't know how to respond, it is better to do as little as necessary. If you panic, you do the wrong things and leave more openings for your opponents. We can see how this works now in the Obama campaign where they are still reeling for the convention/Palin setbacks. Frantically looking for traction, their latest commercial attacks McCain for not using a computer for email.

Unexpected Opportunities: Our Strategy Radio Network

Sun Tzu teaches that we have to recognize opportunities and make decisions about how to use them in an instant. This is necessary because events creates opportunities in unexpected ways. For example, when Sarah Palin picked for VP, it turns out the Cliff, my brother-in-law, who works for us setting up radio interviews, used to be a next door neighbor of Sarah's.


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