Sun Tzu's Methods

Boxing, Sun Tzu, and how to survive the economic down-turn

Boxing, war, and modern business... what do these three activities have in common? The obvious answer is that all three take place in competitive environments in which there will be clear winners. Sun Tzu's treatise "The Art of War" not only describes these environments, but also asserts a way to win and analytical method to predict a winner. Once one understands these predictable outcomes, then positioning oneself to be the winner becomes easy.

The Warrior Class Table of Contents

Foreword: How to Use This Book viii

1. About Planning: Lessons 1-18  Page 3

2. About Going to War: Lessons 19-33      Page 20

3. About Planning an Attack: Lessons 34-49  Page 36

4. About Positioning: Lessons 50-66  Page 53

5. About Momentum: Lessons 67-85  Page 71

6. About Weakness and Strength: Lessons 86-105  Page 91

7. About Armed Conflict: Lessons 106-126  Page 112

Competitive Arenas: 

Strategy in everyday life: My day with CSI

To educate and entertain my two young sons, I recently took them to our local science museum for an exhibit based on the popular television series, CSI. This exhibit was unlike others we have visited. When you enter, you are given an evidence card and watch a brief video from the star of the show. What struck me during this interview is a statement he made. Let me paraphrase it as I can't recall it as a quote. He said that dead victims are telling you what happened. The crime scene is telling you what happened. His advice? "Listen to the crime scene."

Misconceptions about Sun Tzu and Good Strategy

This article about the current financial crisis brilliant summarizes the skepticism about Sun Tzu in this quote from Lorelei Gilmore, a fictional character on the long-running “Gilmore Girls” sitcom:

“It’s a classic Sun Tzu ‘Art of War’ maneuver. If you’re being attacked from the east, attack whoever’s to your west, and you were the west. I never read the book. It’s full of crap like that.”

Sun Tzu, Hillary Clinton, and Depth of Meaning

Allan Elder sent me this news story about Hillary's recent visit to Beijiing and quoting Sun Tzu regarding our shared danger in the current crisis. The story expresses the quote from Sun Tzu as tongchuan gongji, which probably means literally "together-boat work-river." (Probably because it is impossible to translate Chinese from phonetic representation as opposed to Chinese characters.) This is the shorten proverbial form of the saying, not what actually Sun Tzu wrote.

Competition and Enemies

COMPETITION

Competition, it's pervasive, it's the human condition. Do you consider yourself a competitive person? Have you ever sought to gain something, anything, that another is seeking to gain at the same time? If so, you were competing. When you were a child, did you try to get the attention of your parents, friends, and teachers? Have you ever participated in a sport? Do you find yourself selling your ideas or products to those you meet?

Competitive Arenas: 

Strategy and Scandal: Obama and Blagojevich

Much of traditional strategy involves looking into the future and asking yourself about people's motivations and what they are likely to respond to your actions. Though people's responses cannot be predicted exactly, some responses are more likely than others. For Obama, political scandals like the political pedaling of Gov. Blagojevich are considered environmental attacks, equivalent to Sun Tzu's fire attacks.

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