Thursday, July 8, 2010


When putting together the team, my current employer stated two prerquisites: prior service on a Special Forces Operational Detachment ‘Alpha’, and a working knowledge of the principles of Sun Tzu. When I began studying Sun Tzu - as a private in the 82d Airborne - the connection between this ancient general's philosophy and the modern corporate world mystified me. Nowadays it makes so much sense; the battlefield changes from forests and mountains and deserts to the corporate meeting rooms; swords and rifles are laid down for computers and . . . well, we still have use for firearms, but only for when we are physically defending corporate lives and property. - Sean Linnane

If the goal of the kingdom (or in this case, the corporation) is to survive and prosper, then what is the goal of its strategy? Sun Tzu offers this advice:

“Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.”

This is the over-arching principle of the great Chinese philosopher-general; the greatest victory is the one you win without having to fire a shot, i.e, you are so well-prepared on the pathway to war, that your enemy declines combat.

The great warrior / philosopher Bruce Lee describes his style as “the Art of Fighting Without Fighting” - that is, to achieve one’s objective without undue cost, or self-destruction.


  1. Bro. Sean,

    I would also recommend to you Thomas Cleary's translation of "Thunder in the Sky", a very good parallel to "The Art of War".

    A.S. Layman

  2. To "take all-under-Heaven" without hostility...Sun Tzu was quite ambitious!
    But wise? Let's examine....
    (If he really ever existed at all. Let's assume he did, it really doesn't matter.)
    Why do you suppose Heaven was not included? Do you think Heaven meant God? Or just sky?
    Either way, I submit Sun Tzu actually was quite narrow minded.
    Greed is an excessive desire to possess wealth or goods.
    Sun Tzu was greedy...that is the flaw. Who cares if he believes in God or not!

    The Chinese have a long history of atrocities. To pretend they are any wiser than anyone else is a trick of the the way the guy was tricked into getting in the boat. Only a moron would have walked into that obvious trick. It is shit like that which actually starts wars...not prevents them.

    Ok I will climb off my soapbox now!

  3. Great scene, greater philosophy.

    Lord Whorfin

  4. FSJ-
    You have no understanding of which you speak.
    Go read Sun Tzu.
    It's called a library, it's free, and informative!
    That is, unless you prefer to remain so ignorant and talkative at the same time.

  5. The Spillers of Soup say:

    he talks like a sausage

  6. Great recent example of this wisdom is Sarah Palin's resignation of the Governor's office. She removed herself as a vulnerable target and chose a more advantageous battlefield.