Sunday, May 07, 2006

People Notes: Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu wrote the earliest recorded military treatise in the world, he was a General in China around the 6th Century BC. Although there has always been some question as to whether he did exist or is merely a representative of a group of writers.

His book although primarily focused on warfare contains much that can be applied to other areas of life; indeed anywhere you might find enemies or a need for strategy. It has found favour in diverse situations such as business, politics and sports.

Lionel Giles translated the book into English in 1910.

Sun Tzu believed all warfare was based on deception, to unsettle the enemy and lead them to not expect your attack.

He details the relationship between an army, the state and its people. He did not believe in prolonged battles or unnecessary draining of state resources. His armies were expected to forage off the land and the enemy and the object of warfare was victory not prolonged campaigns.

The treatment of prisoners is also described and they were required to be "kindly treated and kept".

Sun Tzu made several lists such as the five dangerous faults, which may affect a General:

1. Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
2. Cowardice, which leads to capture;
3. A hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
4. A delicacy of honour which is sensitive to shame;
5. Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.

From his writing it is easy to see how it translates into the world of management, the simple descriptions and categorisation of tactics and strategies can be readily applied to boardroom battles.

Sun Tzu left a legacy, which simplifies the battles of humanity and equips the reader with methods of dealing with any enemy on a battlefield or elsewhere.


Wikipedia entry

Project Guteberg e- book -The Art of War

No comments: