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VIDEO: Learning Lessons from the Past: Sun Tzu’s Art of War (10 clips)

July 25, 2010

How do we learn from the past? How do we use those learnings to improve our lives. An excellent example is the work of the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu’s – “The Art of War”. By learning from the experiences of the various kingdoms and validating this in real life, Sun Tzu was able to accumulate a body of knowledge which remains relevant today.

Which begs the question, have we as a nation learned anything from the past. What knowledge have we accumulated to move the Philippines forward – not backward. But that discussion is for another day. It’s a Sunday, I’ll keep it light. I find this more engaging than Wowowee. Or watching “Ang Panday”.

The videos were produced by The History Channel – not TFC. 😆

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The Department of the Army in the United States, through its Command and General Staff College, has directed all units to maintain libraries within their respective headquarters for the continuing education of personnel in the art of war. The Art of War is mentioned as an example of works to be maintained at each individual unit, and staff duty officers are obliged to prepare short papers for presentation to other officers on their readings.[16]

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is listed on the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program (formerly known as the Commandant’s Reading List).[17]

During the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s, both General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and General Colin Powell practiced Sun Tzu’s principles of deception, speed, and attacking the enemy’s weakness.[12]

Mark McNeilly writes in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare that a modern interpretation of Sun and his importance throughout Chinese history is critical in understanding China’s push to becoming a superpower in the 21st century. Modern Chinese scholars explicitly rely on historical strategic lessons and The Art of War in developing their theories, seeing a direct relationship between their modern struggles and those of China in Sun Tzu’s time.

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Sun Wu (simplified Chinese: 孙武; traditional Chinese: 孫武; pinyin: Sūn Wǔ), style name Changqing (長卿), better known as Sun Tzu[1] (simplified Chinese: 孙子; traditional Chinese: 孫子; pinyin: Sūn Zǐ; pronounced [swə́n tsɨ̀]), was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as an author of The Art of War and through legend. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society, and his work has continued to influence both Asian and Western culture and politics.

[iframe: src=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War” frameborder=”1″, scrollable=”yes”, width=”100%” height=”500″]

Without further adieu, here’s the Sun Tzu – Video Playlist.

It’s a Sunday on AP – relax, feed your mind.😉

[myyoutubeplaylist 15l6yJgYAWA, gU0f00LumsY, 6zwSEk-4ctw, yrNH_iA_GIo, KhtwhUzbvcw, jRHWfQ2Uu2Y, KxI7j0T_YxA, bG-YNPYlziA, uo8LYgpROXM, CLNoKot9zOk]

How does this apply to our daily lives, or maybe at work, or in marketing – in selling an idea or selling ourselves to an employer.

Gary Gagliardi, Author of “Sun Tzu’s The Art of War Plus The Art of Marketing” – writes

The Competitive Ethics of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is broadly read within the business world as the basic primer for competitive strategy, which is easily adapted to marketing. In the original Chinese, the original work is an almost mathematical analysis of how competitive systems work. Though a basic translation puts its principles in military terms, its original formulas can be directly translated line by line from military terminology to business marketing terms. When we do this, some fascinating ethical insights emerge.

The most common misconception among people who have not studied Sun Tzu’s work is that is its basic competitive philosophy is Machiavellian, devoid of ethical considerations in advancing its principles of success in competitive arenas. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, Sun Tzu teaches that ethical behavior is the foundation for success in competition.

Sun Tzu’s ethics are pragmatic rather than idealistic. He focuses on the fact that direct conflict is inherently costly. Those who naturally react to competitive situations by wanting to engage in battles and defeat their opponents are doomed to defeat, even if they consistently win their battles. This as true in marketing battles as it is in military ones. He advances the art of war as a strategy for replacing the artless, destructive conflicts that define most competitive battles, including those that too often take place among business competitors.

His analysis is that victorious conflict is so inherently costly that it is never worthwhile. We can win a market by spending too much money, but we cannot make a profit doing so. He says specifically, “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.”

The Art of War teaches us to stop defining successful in terms of winning conflicts or in terms of beating opponents. Sun Tzu redefines success very simply as advancing our position, improving our market share, if you will, while avoiding costly direct conflicts.

By using strategy, as oppose to brute force, we can advance our position in such a way that people do not want to attack us and, ideally want to join us. In warfare and marketing, this means finding openings where we can go around the competitors rather than battling them directly.

[flashvideo filename=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15l6yJgYAWA width=300 /]
This is certainly worth thinking about.

From → Government, Society, Video

11 Comments
  1. Filipinos have some sort of selective memory when it comes to the past. Filipinos rather bask in their former glory(if there ever was) rather than look back at the mistakes and learning what could be done to prevent the wrongs of the past from ever happening again in the future.😐

  2. Hyden Toro permalink

    I am always a Peaceful person. I rather have peace, than conflict. The Art of War was written many centuries ago. When warfare was: lining series of soldiers, on one front. Then, lining another series of soldiers, on the opposite side. These soldiers clash, and fight to death. The line with most of the soldiers still standing; wins the battle. Warfare has already improved thru the ages. Electronic war is the trend. Terrorism and indiscriminate bombing; together with: Improvised Exploding Devices (IED), are the tools. Guerilla warfare has mutated into several strategies.

    Corporate executives, study these warfare strategies; to compete in the world market; to remove their market competitors; and to monopolize the trade. Have we learn to live with each other? To give also your fellow human being: an opportunity to earn and eat his/her daily meal? Life is too short; to have money, or wealth, that you cannot even take with you, after death…I simply don’t subscribe to the principles of the Art of Warfare…It is outmoded, to my opinion…we must all learn to love, every human being on Earth. Because, we all have the right to be here…

  3. @ Hyden, “The most common misconception among people who have not studied Sun Tzu’s work is that is its basic competitive philosophy is Machiavellian, devoid of ethical considerations in advancing its principles of success in competitive arenas. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, Sun Tzu teaches that ethical behavior is the foundation for success in competition.

    Sun Tzu’s ethics are pragmatic rather than idealistic. He focuses on the fact that direct conflict is inherently costly. Those who naturally react to competitive situations by wanting to engage in battles and defeat their opponents are doomed to defeat, even if they consistently win their battles. This as true in marketing battles as it is in military ones. He advances the art of war as a strategy for replacing the artless, destructive conflicts that define most competitive battles, including those that too often take place among business competitors.

    His analysis is that victorious conflict is so inherently costly that it is never worthwhile. We can win a market by spending too much money, but we cannot make a profit doing so. He says specifically, “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.”

    The Art of War teaches us to stop defining successful in terms of winning conflicts or in terms of beating opponents. Sun Tzu redefines success very simply as advancing our position, improving our market share, if you will, while avoiding costly direct conflicts. “

  4. Sun Tzu should’ve called it the Art of the Obvious.😉

  5. Hyden Toro permalink

    I prefer the teachings of the following Great people, living or dead: Buddah; Lao Tzu, the way of the Tao; Confucious, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Jesus Christ…and all Great People, who fostered: peace and love. War and conflicts are the aberration in the mindsets of mankind. We have twisted and corrupted our mindsets: to serve our basic animal instincts; survival of the fittest. We are human beings: thinking and talking human beings. We are not animals: who kill, mate, eat, use other people…in order to survive. These are my guiding Philosophy and principles. If you agree with me. Thanks. If not: Thanks also.

  6. “In warfare and marketing, this means finding openings where we can go around the competitors rather than battling them directly.”

    The Philippines is lagging behind the industrialized nations. India has the Nano cars, Nano computers, solar cells, etc. but the Filipinos can excel in agriculture and tourism. For me, these are the fields where we can compete. We have the soil, the waters and the climate.

  7. Anonylol permalink

    Read the book and you’ll understand.

    And if you’ve read the Teachings of Buddha, you’ll find a section on how a wise king is to wage warfare to protect his people too.

  8. famous wolf permalink

    Sun Tzu advices to not go to war as it is not worth the resources and the men. He views the world in a much more realistic and pragmatic sense compared to ones like Gandhi, Siddhartha Gautama, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ who envisioned an idealistic and hope filled humanity. Although pragmatic, Sun Tzu is one of the men in history that I put my hat off in respect, he was a genius, a general that knew his way around the battlefield. The art of war isn’t solely used in the battlefield, it’s used in economics and politics as well. A good strategist knows how to take advantage of any given situation.

  9. Jay permalink

    @Hyden

    Honestly, read the book. Don’t scoff at it because of the title. As BongV has said, its full of pragmatic wisdom through analysis based on repetition that occurs even in day to day. Besides, war has long been inevitable and is part of human nature. Its certainly not based on animal instinct, considering there is tactics, proper motivation, efficient leadership and above all organization with varying structures which certainly requires a form of cognitive intellect and foresight. The only thing that changes are the goals.

    Much of it is not about actual warfare tactics but conditioning and preparation. Its applications has long been viewed vital not only to businessmen, but lawyers, educators and if one really takes in the wisdom to heart, even their own personal battles. The non-violence concept of the people you mention of has much to do with preparation, conditioning and politics besides the end justifying its means, being peace, social acceptance and awareness. Just another way of pulling diplomacy.

    Besides despite Jesus H. Christ’s motives, he was seen during that time by the Sanhedrin and the small Roman leaders as a rebel and a threat to their order, with his growing amount of followers being added evidence to his rising influence.

  10. Anonylol permalink

    “If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight!… .” Sun Tzu said that, and I’d say he knows a little more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it! And then he perfected it, so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor!

    And then he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on Earth! And then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one!

    And from that day forward, any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it’s called a tzu!

    Unless it’s a farm!

  11. famous wolf permalink

    “There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.”

    Then there’s this:

    “To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

    Badass quote for the second one right there.

    Let me reiterate my statement earlier:

    Sun Tzu does not advice to go to war if it can be helped.

    Fighting is not merely a direct confrontation to which what Pee-nos is doing but it’s also about who trumps the other with the mind first. Sun Tzu does not advice to go to war to needlessly waste resources. I believe they use the Art of War as a subject/course for Military Officers in training in different countries around the world.

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