Sun Tzu’ and The Art Of War: Application To Modern Times


Could the war treatise written by Sun Tzu’ in the The Art of War be really used in modern corporate or business life? With a little imagination, perhaps it can be.

Quoted below is one of my favorite passage from the book. I propose that for civilian application, just take note to replace the word “kill” with ” fail”, and “General” with “manager, or president (of a corporation, etc.),  Mayor”, or any executive position nowadays – and it becomes pregnant with new meaning.

According to Mr. Sun Tzu’ :

A General may be at fault in five different ways:

1. If he is reckless, he is easily killed.

(My Comment: How many decisions have we made in the past without proper evaluation and analysis that proves to be disastrous in the end?)

2. If he is afraid of dying, he is easily captured

(My Comment: I have lost many opportunities  because of timidity, and lack of courage or boldness in the past – or maybe of too much preoccupation with the notion of what may others think. In retrospect, one must indeed strike sometimes while the iron is still hot!)

3. If he is quick-tempered, he is easily provoked.

(My Comment: This is a weakness when we let our emotions totally control us, I think. Who has not experienced this all too human emotion? How many relationships were damaged beyond repair because of speaking out in a moment of anger, only to regret it later when we have the time to settle down a bit?

I remembered a lawyer – friend said about a colleague of hers’ – another lawyer: (laughing) ” Its easy to defeat him in court, just insult him a little and he will get angry and be out of control – in the process intimidating the judge, and other court personnel!”)

4. If he is too sensitive about his honor, he is easily insulted.

(My Comment: Another weakness, especially for those who are onion-skinned – and have some illusions of grandeur about themselves. Perhaps it is well to remember that all men are equal: like everyone else, they  put their pants on one leg at a time! (Except for those who wear kilts, lol.)

5. If over concerned about his men, he is easily harassed.

(My Comment: I think this is a weakness for those who have not carefully considered their priorities in leadership. Concern is one thing – but over concern to the point of sacrificing the main objective is entirely different. A leader must draw the line somewhere – even though how painful it is!)

These five common weaknesses can prove disastrous in warfare. When an army suffers a crushing defeat or a general is slain, the cause can often be traced to one of these weaknesses which, should, therefore, be clearly understood and avoided. (Source: James Clavell, 1983).

Intriguing food for thought. Lol


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