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Thread: Sun Tzu's The Art of War as applied to Business

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    Senior Member Nazreen's Avatar
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    Sun Tzu's The Art of War as applied to Business

    In other posts and threads, a lot of referrals were made to Sun Tzu's The Art of War regarding marketing and business strategies so I think it's only good that a new thread is started on this.

    We'll all be sharing Sun Tzu's quotes/sayings from his book The Art of War and how this applies to business. Okay, I'll start.

    A general that fights a hundred battles and wins a hundred battles in not a great general. The great general is one who finds a way to win without fighting a single battle.
    In this quote, Sun Tzu redefines success as an advance in position while avoiding battles. In business, this can be an increase in market shares while avoiding direct conflicts. Direct conflicts are often costly, so even if you win a market by forking out a lot of money, this is often not profitable for your business.

    A good example of this is Microsoft's takeover bid for Yahoo. As most of you all know, Yahoo has rejected Microsoft's offer even with the threat of a hostile takeover. Microsoft, after careful consideration, withdrew it's proposal to acquire Yahoo basically because it will be too costly for them.

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    That post is making all this business and online business talk a martial art. The way it was added togeather.

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    Senior Member Nazreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEew View Post
    That post is making all this business and online business talk a martial art. The way it was added togeather.
    Well, business is also about competition and a lot of businessmen have actually benefited from Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

    To rely on rustics and not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues..
    Sun Tzu states in this quote that foreknowledge is important in every battle. Same thing is true with business. With foreknowledge, your business will be able to act fast for any contingencies like high inflation, aggressive competitors and negative customer feedbacks. The time it takes to make a critical decision is greatly reduced because of this and keep you one step ahead of the competition.

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    The same thing comes in Ninjitsu.
    Making war is not tough , but making peace is easy.

    He says that to win a war ( talking about the old times), you got to degrade their (the enemy's) gods, religion and practices. You got to turn the young against the old. You got to find every piece of information about your enemy you can , and use it against them.

    Well this piece of information is very well used by Dhirubhai Ambani, the Indian billionaire and legend. Any more

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    Community Manager Fergal's Avatar
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    The movie "Wall Street" spoke about Sun Tzu's The Art of War quite a lot. I read the book some time ago but found it difficult to understand how it applied to business. Now that I've seen this post I'll dig it out and give it another read.

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    I guess I need to read the book to properly understand what all this is about. Fergal, can you link me to the book please?

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    Senior Member Nazreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avi007i View Post
    ...He says that to win a war ( talking about the old times), you got to degrade their (the enemy's) gods, religion and practices. You got to turn the young against the old. You got to find every piece of information about your enemy you can , and use it against them.
    This can actually be seen again from Sun Tzu's quote below.

    "Now an army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoid the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness."

    When going against an enemy (competition), you mustn't attack head-on but attack their weaknesses. You can also turn the enemy's strength into weakness. A very good example of this is that of Coke and Pepsi. Since Coke's strengths is being a classic cola, Pepsi came out with the "Choice of a New Generation" theme to appeal to the younger generation. In here, Pepsi turned Coke's strength into it's weakness. People being people, don't want to say that they're old also took this in. Pepsi appealed to the younger generation and also to the people who don't want to accept that they're old.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEew View Post
    I guess I need to read the book to properly understand what all this is about. Fergal, can you link me to the book please?
    There's actually a lot of business books that are already written about the Art of War as applied to business strategies. There are also a lot of articles written on this in the internet.

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    Community Manager Fergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEew View Post
    ... can you link me to the book please?
    You can buy the book at Amazon or view the book text here.

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    ya do buy it. Its a investment worth of .
    But I also suggest you to read The Secrets of Ninja by Ashida Kim . It contains exercises if you wish to become a Ninja and many deep philosophical concepts, you can use in your business and other areas of life

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    Senior Member Nazreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avi007i View Post
    ...But I also suggest you to read The Secrets of Ninja by Ashida Kim.
    Thanks for sharing this with us avi007i.

    Now back to the Art of War.

    Generally in warfare, keeping a nation intact is best, destroying a nation second best; keeping an army intact is best, destroying an army second best; keeping a battalion intact is best, destroying a battalion second best; keeping a company intact is best, destroying a company second best; keeping a squad intact is best, destroying a squad second best.
    In this quote, Sun Tzu is saying that if you defeat the enemy by destroying his army it's only second best. Defeating the enemy without destroying him is the best. This is inline with Sun Tzu's maxim "To win without fighting is the acme of skill". As applied to business, if abc company takes over xyz company with xyz company still intact, abc company will not waste valuable resources in rebuilding it.

    A good example of this is CDnow which was very successful in online music sales. If you type CDnow.com into your browser, you'll arrive at Amazon website. Amazon bought CDnow a few years ago.

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    Hi guys,

    I read about the first half of the Art Of War book. Then I forgot it at my parents house and it will take some time until I get there to continue reading.

    my point is,
    The book is a nice read, however the advice related to business is very abstract and thin. You will get more out of a book that is directly targeted at the business mind. One book that has been recommended several times here is Napolen Hill's Think and Grow Rich book. Read this one first, read some other business books then. After that Sun Tzu might give You input into business.

    Some quotes floating around the internet are great, however if You want to extract more wisdom out of the book, You have to read it probably several times and bend Your mind.

    Nice read, but limited business connection. I know there are issues of the Art of War out there which have business annotations. Maybe these are better, haven't tried.

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    Senior Member Nazreen's Avatar
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    Napolen Hill's Think and Grow Rich book is also one of the many books that I need to get hold of. Aside from that, I also need Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.

    Yes, I guess it might be better to buy The Art of War with business connotations so it will be easier to link the two together than by just reading the direct translation itself.




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