This book has been heralded a classic and must-read for any business leader but I find its principles to be the polar opposite to what I believe is good and fair. It condones leadership with absolute control over one's "troops". I feel Sun Tzu's text is designed to 'groom' a thick skinned, heartless leader who's only focus is winning regardless of the tactics used. I'm a 'let's make love not war' type of girl so amongst the lines that I didn't like are:
- "All warfare is based on deception." Personally, I think any business based on "deception" is not a good business and certainly not one to which I would want to give my good custom.
- Of five dangerous faults which may affect a general Tzu includes "Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble." That to me says, think of your men as resources nothing more, don't think about the fact that they have children and families, too much concern will lead to poor decision making. Really?
- "Bestow rewards without regard to rule, issue orders without regard to previous arrangements; and you will be able to handle a whole army as though you had to do with but a single man." Tyrannical much?
- "Ponder and deliberate before you make a move." Fair enough.
- "He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them." A fair warning against complacency.
- "Fight not unless the position is critical." Agreed but I personally think we still fight willy nilly.
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