Disclaimers: This is not a new book, nor have I read it. I have read reviews of it, and am recommending its concept here, but can’t honestly recommend the book, not having read it. OK, that probably sounds awkward, but there you have it.
I found this review of the book The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu’s Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work, which is a modern interpretation an application of the original The Ar Of War by Sun Tzu, now thousands of years old, yet still relevant. The reason I am promoting this book’s view of the original work is simple: It points out that The Art Of War is not just relevant to war. It is relevant in any situation where you are facing one or more parties with conflicting goals, or competing for the same resource. It could be at work, or dating, or politics, or even dealing with your relatives. It’s mostly about finding your strengths and the others’ weaknesses and using both to your advantage. It’s about looking for things in your environment that can help you. It’s about focus and balance.
I have read the entire Art Of War. It was actually very easy. I read it as an e-book on my PDA, and since it’s mostly paragraphs that stand on their own, I read it a paragraph or two at a time without losing context. It was intuitive to me at the time that it wasn’t just useful for what we think about when we hear the word “war”, but I can certainly see how it would be a daunting read taken literally. My main motivation for reading it is that I am a geek. Part of being a geek is having faith that you, and everyone around you, are generally making sound decisions based on the complete set of facts and with the best will of society in mind, stating their true intentions, and care as much for your well-being as you do for theirs. Like the Libertarians. It didn’t take long in the business world (and the dating world) to learn that this was simply not the case. Managers will continue to use and support a crap product because they don’t want to look bad having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on it. Features will be implemented because one very vocal user demands it. People will be let go no matter how valuable they are. I needed to understand this. I am slightly ashamed to admit this is also the reason I watch reality shows like Survivor. And you know? It’s helped. I still feel icky about it, but I know how to do office politics much better now.
If you search for The Art Of War on Amazon, you will get pages of results, including:
- The Art Of War For Managers
- How to Use the Art of War to Master Challenges and Accomplish the Important Goals in Your Life
- Sun Tzu and the Art of Business: Six Strategic Principles for Managers
That pretty much makes my point.