The Art of War – SunF Tzu

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There are several books that give you bragging rights as soon as you have read them. Such as Machiavelli’s Il Principe or Plato’s Republic. In that same vein is Sun Tzu’s the Art of War. But how relevant is it? Sure it is recommended by politicians and CEOs alike. But are hints and tips about army formations in the 6th century BC still relevant when applying the bullshit filter? I think it is. Sun Tzu wrote in brief notes and details about war, but also war dynamics. Quotes like “the worst policy of all is to besiege a walled city” hold true even when applied metaphorically. But also other wisdom like “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight” tell us a lot about priorities and focus. My personal favourite: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” is telling for anything from lobby files, to campaigns and even (or especially) event management. The strength of the book is that it breaks it down to a simplicity that we rarely see nowadays.

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