Archive for May, 2010

“Business Is a Battlefield”

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

People have said that “business is a battlefield.”  Corporations compete ruthlessly with each other to gain the market share by whatever means necessary.  The victor takes the spoils of the profits.

The lone individual seeking to take on Wall Street by investing in the Stock Market without adequate preparation is at risk of being slaughtered.  For example, on May 6, 2010, the Market went down 900 points within 15 minutes.  The unprepared investors ended up as casualties of the day.

In my own quest to take on Wall Street, I discovered that the military concepts of The Art of War were invaluable.  They enabled me to discipline myself to follow certain principles that gave me confidence to make the best decisions.

The Art of War Applied to Wall Street is the outcome of my years of experience in the financial field, investing in stock, as well as close observation of national and international political and business trends.

During my youth in China, the teachings of Sun Tzu were common topics of discussion.  Later on, I became aware that as I was confronted with a business or financial decision, some of the precepts of Sun Tzu that I had internalized gave me a perspective that enabled me to have an insight that catalyzed a solution to a problem.

This was so consistent an experience over time, that I decided to see how I could apply the principles to investing in the Stock Market. I was not surprised to experience very positive results. I soon realized there was a void in the published materials intended to assist investors, that could only be filled by applying the principles of The Art of War.

I began a detailed study of the original Chinese text of The Art of War, looking for correlations between Sun Tzu’s philosophy of “Know yourself /Know your enemy” and investment strategy.

My book has two components.  The first section deals directly with applying the principles of The Art of War, almost point-by-point, to the world of investing. It is not a discussion of bonds, futures, options and various investment tools. The average investor doesn’t have the time to study this kind of information.  Furthermore, the type of investment based on time limits is not congruent with the principles of The Art of War, because if you are under a time constraint, you are actually under the control of your “adversary.”  Of course, depending on your time, resources, and personality, you can research the time-based investment tools and use them successfully.

“If one tool can fix something, you don’t need to have a whole tool box.”  For me, that one tool is The Art of War, and it is accessible to the average investor.

(Excerpted from Part One of the book, The Art of War Applied to Wall Street).

Esoteric Attributes of “Water” in The Art of War

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Many of the images used by Sun Tzu in The Art of War stem from his grounding in Taoism.  “Water” is one of these.

In Taoism, they say “Water goes down, not up.”  The teaching behind that is that “People should be humble, not arrogant.”

To the superficial mind, water is perceived as “weak,” or “soft.”  However, the reality is that water has the ultimate power to completely overcome you.  For example, the largest ship, once damaged, cannot overcome the power of the water to pull it down to the bottom of the sea.

Conversely, the largest and heaviest ships that mankind can build are always supported by water.  The water “allows” them to be suspended in it.  The ship has structural integrity, so the water is supporting it.

The lesson is that while you may believe that you are stronger or more powerful than some opponent who may not appear formidable, that so-called “soft” energy, that apparently humble energy, can overwhelm and defeat you.

This is the basis of true tai chi theory.

Sun Tzu said that ideal military maneuvers are similar to the movement of water.  Water seeks the path of least resistance. Therefore military movements must also be such that they can create momentum and power as they move toward the areas of  least resistance.  And when they meet resistance, turn and bypass it.  Movement is always toward the weakest point that offers the least resistance. The movement is the result of the moment-by-moment flow of events.

Sun Tzu’s use of the image of the movement of water is similar to the movement of mercury.   If mercury is dropped on the soil,  it will penetrate into any weakness or gap and disappear. The concept is the same.

Next topic: Art of War concepts applied to Wall Street.

“Art of War is So Boring I Could Never Finish Reading It”

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

     Just about everybody I know who has TRIED to read The Art of War, has said that it was so boring they never could finish reading it. Now why is that?  Here is a book that is famous the world over and is often required reading for college courses. Even Chinese readers have a hard time chewing on the rocks of the original text! 

    Perhaps the reason is that the heart and soul of the original material is missing.  The present English copies in circulation today are based on the material translated by the Victorian scholar, Lionel Giles.

That dry and dusty translation has never really been updated in English.  Besides that, despite the fact that Giles was considered a scholar of Confucianism and Taoism, he missed the esoteric and deeper meanings of Sun Tzu’s teaching.   

Of course it is boring!

As described in an earlier blog, readers of my new book are going to be fascinated by the new insights into Sun Tzu’s actual meaning in the original text.

For example, many are fond of this so-called quote:  “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”  Sun Tzu never stated this!  Chapter 4 (”The Essence of Military Strength”) of my book explains the true meaning of the passage:

The undefeatable military is so utterly well-prepared and well-trained; it has such accurate data about its enemy, and is so completely prepared to employ a stream of flexible tactics during confrontations needed to win —that yes, it knows that ultimately it WILL win, although it may not know exactly how or when the victory will occur.

Psychology is one of the major factors involved.

Readers of this new book are going to find that rather than too boring to finish, it is actually a “page-turner”!

Esoteric Aspects of The Art of War

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The second component of this book is a thorough translation of the original Chinese text, with explanations of some of the lesser-understood passages.  Sun Tzu lived over 2,500 years ago during one of the most chaotic periods of Chinese history.  He recognized that war could bring economic expansion, but that it also brought destruction and suffering to civilians. He developed a philosophy that “war is for peace,” and his principles went far beyond actual warfare.  They were intended to cut down collateral damage by making an enemy “surrender without fighting.”

The translation presented here goes more deeply into the meaning of the philosophy than any other English translation has so far. Readers will find the esoteric aspects of Sun Tzu’s principles of the “image of power” and the “image of invincibility” explained in the second section of the book will open up a whole new understanding of how to “make the enemy surrender without fighting.”

The original Chinese text of The Art of War is included so that those who want to study it as well, can do so.