Decision Research

Timeline of Sun Tzu's Era

Competitive Arenas: 

The following timeline shows the major political and military events of the "Spring and Autumn" period of China during which Sun Tzu lived before the unification of the Chinese empire under the first Chinese (Qin) emperor. We provide it to illustrate the dynamic environment of the period that led to the writing of The Art of War. The map shown is China at about  about 500 BC.

Decision Science

Many people are in a mess and don’t know how to get out. Why? Because they don't know that there is a whole science dedicated to improving positions and to making better decisions. Sun Tzu's adaptive response strategy is a scientific theory that explains what works in challenging situations. In technical terms, Sun Tzu's strategy is a matrix-based, feedback loop. By "matrix," we mean seeing positions in several dimensions simultaneously.

Competitive Arenas: 

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.

Strategic Perspective: Food for Thought

Foolish ideas seem logical if they are repeated often enough. Sun Tzu's strategy teaches the use of analogies to support logic. For example, do the arguments about energy policy make sense in terms of food policy? Current food technology does a thousand times more ecological damage than any other human activity including using oil. Farming cuts down trees, plows up the land, depletes limited water resources, spreads dangerous chemicals, and intentionally poisons natural plants and animals. Using ecologically unsound food is destroying the planet.

Leveraging Expectations: Prediction Confirmed

In this earlier post on the third of this month, I explained how Sun Tzu's strategy uses subjective perceptions to leverage changes in objective positions. I predicted that if politicians would just start taking actions that would change people's expectations about the FUTURE of oil availability, the price would drop immediately not years ahead when the oil actually becomes available.

A Proven Prediction: The Power Curve

For some time, I have written about how the "power curve" represents many aspect of competition situations better than the "bell curve" that charts controlled situations. Thanks to a reader, we now have some solid scientific research that verifies our observation, providing the first solid proof for a prediction we have made based on Sun Tzu's 2,500 year-old science.

Improving Position: How War Makes Us Happier

Sun Tzu teaches the our perceptions must always different from reality. For example, what is your perception of the increasing happiness of people all over the world? If you follow news media, you would think that people are suffering from record levels of unhappiness. However, the opposite is actually true. The best subjective measure of improving positions is not our perceptions of others, but their perception of themselves. When people are asked about their own happiness, the results are surprising.

First, Do No Harm: The Example of Global Warming

In Sun Tzu's strategy, the goal is always improving your position. A common strategic errors is thinking that, if there is a problem, action is ALWAYS necessary. However, action only makes sense if it makes the situation better. There are many situations that action makes work. For example, Freeman Dyson, one of the world leading mathematicians and physicists, discusses the problem of Global Warming in exactly the context.

New Research on Empowerment

The scientific name for training in Sun Tzu's strategy is "recognition-primed decision making." As Sun Tzu taught a sense of purpose and motivation is key to making better decisions every day. New cognitive research shows that training people to make decisions people who are simply "primed" with a sense of motivation have better concentration, memory, and are better at doing mental simulations than those who are primed to lack a sense of power and authority.


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