Strategy Institute

Attack Weak Points, Not Strong: Wesley Clark's Mistake

Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that you attack the weak points not the strong points of your opponent. Politicians (and business people) make this mistake constantly, but military people usually know better. Wesley's Clark's recent criticism of McCain's military service demonstrates that he is more of a politician than a strategist. What can be gain by attacking McCain on the basis of his resume? Such attacks only draw attention to Obama's much weaker resume, especially in regards to being commander-in-chief of the military.

New Business War College Site

We have just created a new site, called the Business War College, where we bring together a number of our materials under a little different label. Of the years of working in the book store market, I became shy about marketing "war" especially since Sun Tzu teaches winning while avoiding conflict. However, since the business world really is increasingly the focus of the world's competitive between ideas, which is a very good thing, it seems appropriate to acknowledge the fact, especially since business people are our main customers.

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.

The Pace of Change as a Business and Political Weapon

Climate is the strategic factor that Sun Tzu associates with change, but change itself can change, for example, technology has rapidly increased the pace of change over the last few decades. This increase in the pace of change is one of the key reasons why people need to better understand the principles of Sun Tzu so they can make better decisions faster. Businesses who want to leverage the increasing pace of change against their opponents should be promoting Sun Tzu's ideas about adaptability to their customers.

The Power of Position: Justice Kennedy as America's Most Powerful Man

Science defines nature as a near balance of opposing forces. The interesting stuff occurs as the boundaries. In Sun Tzu's strategy, we called these forces complementary opposites. One way to leverage those forces is to sit at the pivot point between them. However, by leveraging this point to much in one direction, you tip the balance, destroying the power of your position. A good example of this idea is the current position of Justice Kennedy as the pivot point of the Supreme Court.

The Balance of Perspective: Chicken Little Media

One of the main benefits of learning Sun Tzu's system is that it forces you to think about the natural balance of reality. From Sun Tzu's perspective, nothing is good or bad in itself. Every development can be leveraged if you understand it. You can sail into the wind if you know how to tack. For example, the mainstream media has redefined its role in modern society as that of "Chicken Little," constantly running around claiming that the sky is falling.

The Power of Combination: VP Selections

Sun Tzu's Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that groups are stronger than individuals because we can combine our individuals strengths to negate our mutual weaknesses. The stability of a group depends on two factors: 1) a strongly shared mission (goals and values) and 2) a number of strengths in the other four key areas: climate, ground, character, and methods.

Five Factors: 2008 Election Snapshot

Positions are the starting and ending point of good decision-making. The five factors provided by the Art of War for defining positions allow us to understand the complete nature of relative positions and this map helps us discover the path between our current position and a better one. Our natural reflex is to look at positions too narrowly. We must retrain our reflexes to see them more broadly. For example, let us take a non-partisan look at the positions in the current US presidential race now that the two candidates are chosen.

The "Control" Mentality

This article about getting Russia's help as an "answer" for a nuclear Iran by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) illustrates a number of the classical strategic mistakes commonly made by politicians. Of course, his most consistent mistake is viewing the world to fit his politics rather than fitting his politics to the world.


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