Archive for September, 2010

Art of War Applied to WallStreet Video Presentation on Youtube

Monday, September 27th, 2010

This is an additional link for those fans that do not subscribe to facebook.

Our Leaders Need to Review “The Art of War”

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I have not discussed current politics on this blog before.  However, the news clips on CNBC of President Obama’s Town Hall meeting in Washington, DC, on Monday (Sept. 20) have stimulated me to make some comments.  For those who did not see the report, it involved a citizen who told President Obama that she was “exhausted” from trying to defend his policies and from trying to maintain her own economic stability.

Basically, she said that it seemed that he has not been able to keep his campaign promises.

From The Art of War perspective, it is the leader’s role to set goals, determine the principles, communicate with citizens, and build trust. In this case, the leader has inherited a host of problems, yet he chose to become our leader.

If he keeps his eye on his stated goals of helping his country, then he must put aside his own political ambitions, and stick to what he believes is best for the overall country.  It would be wise for President Obama and all others who wish to do what is best for our country to heed the wise words of President Obama’s own father, Barack Obama, Sr., who told his political colleagues in Kenya, “Tribalism will be the ruin of Africa.”  (From Barack Obama’s book, “Dreams of My Father”).

 Africa is still learning this the hard way.  The Middle East is learning this the hard way.

Whether it is tribalism of ethnic groups or tribalism of political parties, or religious groups, it is still tribalism.

Congressmen as well, are obligated to put tribalism aside and actually work for the common good of the country.  What is “exhausting” to the citizens is the continual push and pull of the political tribalism.

Right in Chapter One of The Art of War, Sun Tzu clearly states the importance of the citizens and the government to be of one mind in order for a nation to have a strong presence in the world.  We are all in the same ship.  If the ship sinks, we all go down.  Therefore, it is also the obligation of the politicians who represent us to keep their focus on solving the problems before us, and to put aside their agendas for personal aggrandizement.  As Sun Tzu said, the bottom line is that the “General’s” decisions are to be made ONLY on the basis of what is best for his country and its citizens, and not for the advancement of his own career or reputation.

Art of War Applied to WallStreet Video Presentation

Friday, September 17th, 2010

As we approach the release of  my book, The Art of War Applied to Wall Street, I have posted a small video clip on Facebook to elaborate on my intention for writing it.  Go to!/profile.php?id=100000561771517&ref=ts 

 You will be able to order the book on my website, beginning Oct 11, 2010, and possibly earlier. Please continue to check for availability.  Due to publisher’s technical difficulties, I have had to postponethe release date.

Why This is a Better Translation of “The Art of War”

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

People have been asking why I have gone to the trouble to include a fresh new translation of The Art of War within a book intended to educate stock market investors. Good question.

The reason is that there are no English translations that I am aware of that explore the true interpretaion of some of the Chinese text itself.  And furthermore, no previous translations have grasped the linkage between each chapter, how each one builds upon the previous material.  This book clearly presents all the Art of War principles in a coherent, fluent manner.  Those who have already examined the manuscript have been extremely complimentay of the ease of reading and of understanding what Sun Tzu was all about. In fact, one reader called it a true “page-turner”!

For example, even the title of Chapter 7, which is typically rendered as “Maneuvers,” is not technically correct.  The Chinese text used as the title actually means, “Military Confrontations and Battle.”  Yes, there are maneuvers involved, but the maneuvers are part of the battle.  The chapter is about battle!

The problem in the existing translations is that Sun Tzu’s languaging is archaic Chinese used 2500 years ago.  The same Chinese characters are used now, but many of  the meanings or connotations are different from the contemporary use of the same characters. Even the translations made by highly-regarded contemporary scholars have missed the nuances of the original text.

For example, in the previous blog, we discussed the fine point regarding the vital role of deep contemplation, and in fact, meditation, in regard to “the General.”  This has never been brought forth before in any translation.  Yet for those familiar with Daoist culture, contemplation and meditation are supremely important practices for success.

 Another example of the depth of this new translation can be found in Chapter 6, “Weakness and Strength.”  The power of the image of “water” in this chapter has never before been truly brought to light. Yet it is the keystone of the instruction relating to weakness and strength and the way they are interchangeable. Again, this is another example of the need to read Sun Tzu through the lens of the Daoist principles in which he operated.

The prime example of mis-translation is the quote used in the original Oliver Stone movie, “Wall Street,” back in 1987:  “The war is already won before the battle is ever fought.”  This is an erroneous translation of what Sun Tzu said!  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.

  The psychology of making the enemy surrender without fighting is the linchpin of The Art of War. Yet so far, no other translation has addressed the nexus of The Art of Warpsychological manipulation.  Even the teachings on “deception” are part of the psychological foundation of Sun Tzu’s teachings.

All of this is shared with the reader of this book, due for release in September, 2010.

Preparing for the Confrontation

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Everyone who has ever read Chapter 11 of The Art of War has read the statement that “the General’s” job is planning and analysis in regard to oneself and the adversary. However, a very important aspect of this planning that is rarely noticed by readers is the role of preparation.  There are different degrees of preparation.  There is a preliminary level of preparation that must take place before the actual physical preparation.

While it is obvious to most readers that “the General” is completely responsible for the training and morale of the troops, there is another, less obvious point that Sun Tsu presents, that is often completely missed by the ordinary translator and the typical reader.

In one brief phrase in the text, the point is made that there is the need for the “General” to have an ongoing practice of quiet time for contemplation. He must plan to  have opportunities for frequent segments of time when he can clear his mind of all extraneous thoughts, and focus entirely upon analysis and re-analysis of all the potential battle scenarios.  That requires continual evaluation of not only strengths and weaknesses of the forces involved, but also ongoing re-evaluation of all of the “Five Elements”:

1.Dao–the unity of purpose

2. Heaven–the weather and climate

3. Terrain–the limitations or opportunities afforded by the landforms

4.  The General–the military leadership

5.  Law–all the systems required to support and manage a military force.

The necessity for contemplation on the part of “the General” is stated in just a few words in Chapter 11, which  if only directly translated on a superficial level are often completely missed. The present translations, even the Chinese translations, usually only convert this phrase to ” ‘the General’s’ duty is to be quiet and to think”.  But there is more to it than that. There is more to this passage than the surface translations offer.

Without a regular practice of quiet contemplation, “the General” cannot adequately plan strategy and consider all the ramifications of the Five Elements. He cannot begin his preparations until he has completed this process.

 He must keep his own counsel, and not discuss the options with others.  The “General” cannot maintain the secrecy that Sun Tzu considers the most important aspect of battle strategy if he consults with anyone other than himself. He alone is the one who must consider all the pros and cons, make the decisions, and tell no one until it is time to make a move. 

Readers who would like to explore more of the nuances and subtleties of The Art of War will find a gold mine in The Art of War Applied to Wall Street, because it contains a complete Chinese-English translation of the text.