Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Concise 33 Strategies of War - Robert Greene

Read the book 'The Concise 33 Strategies of War' (Viva Books, Rs. 150) by Robert Greene. Suresh Reddy, my friend, gave it to me and asked me to read it because he found it interesting. It is a nice read and deepens, broadens your mind about how it is to be at war consistently - with oneself, with people around, within organisations. The strategies, even if read superficially will remain etched in your mind and you can use them in tricky relationships personal or professional, to gain ground in business or career or relationships or in any place or situation where you wish to gain an advantage. They will certainly leave you thinking a bit more deviously, a bit more proactively. Highly recommended for any circumstance in life. The book is divided into 5 parts - Self Directed Warfare, Organisational Warfare, Defensive Warfare, Offensive Warfare and Unconventional Warfare.
The Concise 33 Strategies of War

In Self-Directed Warfare Greene says that any war starts in the mind and is won only through strategy. Unless the mind has clarity and urgency, the strategies do not work. So he suggests that one declare war on one self to attain clarity, to root out enemies of the mind. Now this is done through the Polarity Strategy (find your mind's enemies and declare war on them), The Guerrilla strategy (new patterns, surprise, guerrilla war on your mind by disturbing past patterns), the Counterbalance strategy (expose mind to adversity, toughen your mind) and the Death ground strategy (get into situations like death ground where you have to fight like hell to survive to create urgency).

In Organizational (team) warfare he suggests the Command and Control strategy (a chain of command to be created, right people in right place, address the team and not the leader), the Controlled Chaos strategy (create speed and adaptability through flexible organization, little independent groups) and Morale strategies (get individuals to think of group, lead from the front).

In Defensive Warfare he suggests the Perfect Economy strategy (pick battles carefully, fight on your terms), the Counterattack strategy (hold back, then counter attack at the right moment), Deterrence strategies (deter the enemy so there is no attack, act unpredictably, scare them and leave hem uncertain) and the non Engagement strategy (gain time by refusing to fight, do nothing).

In Offensive warfare he suggests the Grand strategy (focus on the end not on little twists and turns), the Intelligence strategy (read opponent leader's mind, weaknesses, to use to your advantage), the Blitzkrieg strategy (speed, and catch off guard with full force of your attack), Forcing strategies (control the overall direction by different strategies to control the enemy), the Center of Gravity strategy (search for source of rival's power and strike that), Divide and Conquer strategy (look at joints and links, parts that make the whole and divide into small parts), Turning strategy (attack from the side, at tender spots), Annihilation strategy (psychologically encircle them), Ripening for sickle strategy (confuse, maneuver the enemy to weak positions so they fall), Diplomatic war strategy (take more and give meaningless concessions in negotiations), Exit strategy (avoiding conflict from where there are no exits).

In Unconventional Warfare he suggest Misperception strategies (disturb the focus, create misperceptions and confuse), Ordinary Extraordinary strategy (do some thing ordinary and then follow up with something extraordinary so the enemy is surprised), Righteous strategy (inflict guilt as moral weapon), Strategy of the void (give enemy no target to attack, many side attacks), Alliance strategy (create alliances that fit the need of the moment), One Upmanship strategy (defeat those who seem to be on your side but actually work against you by giving them enough rope to hang themselves), Fait Accompli strategy (take small bites so people do not realise what happened), Communication strategy (infiltrate your ideas behind enemy lines), Inner Front strategy (penetrate the enemy and fight from within), passive Aggression strategy (offer no resistance but dominate the situation)and the Chain reaction strategy (create maximum chaos, terrorise).

You get the idea? It is brilliant and certainly very helpful because it deals with all the grey areas and gives you one or more strategies that you can use anytime. For one it constantly keeps you thinking on the lines you want to, that is to promote your own agenda. Read it.

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