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The Art of War

Ok so I went a little back in time for this week’s book review. Over the past few years my friend and lead pastor J.D. Greear has referred to many resources that have helped him become the leader he is today. One of those is a tiny book written around 400 B.C. (best estimate) called The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu was the heir of a clan with generations of skill in fighting, and winning, many battles. I finally found the space to read it myself and I really enjoyed it. This is one of those practical manuscripts that is definitely designed to be read and followed by those leading others into battle. The entire work is only 61 pages and is rich with tactics and principles for success on the battlefield that most certainly translate into many other realms of leadership. Here are a few of those that stood out to me:

  • “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”
  • “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemies resistance without fighting.”
  • There are 5 essentials for victory:
    • He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight
    • He will win who knows how to handle superior and inferior forces
    • He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks
    • He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared
    • He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign (or king).
  • Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

There is plenty more in this short book that gives such great insight to leading people through conflict with wisdom. As one who has much to learn in leadership I will be leaning on some of the principles in tried and true work frequently.

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