Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu ***

Short, concise, and practical, this little treatise proved much more interesting than I thought it might actually be. I've wanted to take a closer look at it for a long time, and being stuck in a car for hours for several days allowed me to take a listen. Tzu is a master of the metaphor, and much of his advice on war seems, well, like common sense. While listening, I often thought about how Tzu's principles might apply to other things and about which of his principles might not apply today. Interestingly, Tzu argues that a good general doesn't always follow the ruler--he does what is best for the nation. I could see this leading to some problems (coups) but also saving from others (bad decisions based on politics rather than what makes sense on the ground). You can read the text here, or listen to the book here.

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