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The Art of War
by Sun Tzu

Central Theme:: "Know the enemy and know yourself."

Show examples of 7 of these Concepts used in business.

  1. All warfare is based on deception.
  2. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
  3. Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistence without fighting.
  4. Know your enemy and know yourself. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
  5. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.
  6. Rapidity is the essence of war.
  7. If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.
  8. Be subtle, be subtle and use your spies for every kind of business.
  9. Spies are the most important element of war, because on them depends an army's ability to move.

  10. The Book

    1. Laying Plans
      • Moral Law: is the rule in harmony with his subjects?
      • Heaven: day-night; cold-heat; & times-seasons
      • Earth: distances; danger-security; open ground-narrow passes; & risk
      • Commander: virtues of wisdom; sincerely; benevolence; courage; & strictness
      • Method and Discipline
        • marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions
        • graduations of rank among the officers
        • maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army
        • control of military expenditure
    2. Waging War
      • When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.
    3. Attack By Stratagem: Five essentials for victory:
      • Knowing when to fight and when not to fight;
      • Knowing how to handle both superior and inferior forces;
      • The army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks;
      • When prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared;
      • Has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
    4. Tactical Disposition
      • To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands,
      • but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
    5. Energy
      • The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers.
      • The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals.
    6. Weak Points and Strong
      • The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
      • Force the enemy to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.
      • Do not repeat the tactics which gave one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
    7. Manuevering
      • The difficulty consists in turning misfortune into gain.
      • An army without provisions and bases of supply it is lost.
      • When you surround an army, leave an outlet free.
    8. Variations in Tactics: 5 faults may affect a commander
      • Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
      • Cowardice, which leads to capture;
      • Hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
      • Delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
      • Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.
    9. The Army on the March
      • All armies prefer high ground to low.
      • and sunny places to dark.
    10. Terrain: Knowledge of three things will bring victory
      • The affairs of men;
      • the seasons of heaven;
      • the natural advantages of earth.
    11. The Nine Situations
      • Confront your soldiers with the deed itself; never let them know your design.
      • It is precisely when a force has fallen into harm's way it is capable of striking a blow for victory.
      • Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves to the enemy's purpose.
      • Generate the ability to accomplish a thing by sheer cunning.
      • Be stern in the council-chamber so that you may control the situation.
      • If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.
      • Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear,
    12. The Attack by Fire
      • The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.
      • Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.
      • The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.
    13. The Use of Spies
      • What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is FOREKNOWLEDGE.
      • Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.
      • Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men.
      • There are five classes of spies:
        • Local spies: Inhabitants of a district;
        • Inward spies: Officials of the enemy
        • Converted spies: The enemy's spies and using them for our own purposes.
        • Doomed spies: Doing certain things openly for purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know of them and report them to the enemy.
        • Surviving spies: Those who bring back news from the enemy's camp.
      • Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports.
      • Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind
      • of business.