Why do we need yet another version of Sun Tzu: The Art of War?

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The short answer is that this is not another version, this is the version. This re-telling, in plain English, is what the original Sun Tzu (more correctly Ping-fa) says. Ping-fa is not a message and method for war, but a message and method for achieving organizational goals without conflict.

This finding is what happens when a social anthropologist, with a background that includes serving as a ministerial aide to a foreign affairs minister, and who has consulted large organizations on both Knowledge Management and organizational governance, looks into the so-called “Art of War.”

He begins by asking why this book was written, and by whom, and to what use it was applied. The extensive Ping-fa, as well as Tao Te Ching, commentary do not address these critical issues. Both works, of global and enduring interest, are assumed to be the creation of obscure writers from “antiquity,” who knocked the small books together overnight.

His research drives him to remove the militarist language from Ping-fa and, as some of the commentary suggests, read it from a Taoist perspective. It is soon evident this is a work for strategic organizational planning and management, and that the Tao Te Ching is a statement of principles to which Ping-fa adheres. It is obvious these were the works of enlightened individuals working in concert. Both works are comprehensive, related and integrated.

Resolving why they were written takes longer. Here we are driven by the evidence – the evidence of how the small Middle Kingdom state of Qin was able – in a few short years – to end war and establish the Chinese empire. Throughout that exercise we see the footprints of Ping-fa and the Tao Te Ching. Now we have the application.

The conclusion of this research, vividly described and documented, has now been published. And we now see Ping-fa articulated in plain language unencumbered with the language of war – which was simply a Qin teaching metaphor. And we see just how incredible was the first emperor Qin Shi Huang and how significant were his achievements, buried until now under a revisionist blanket set down by the succeeding Han empire.

This is an interesting read on a very large canvas that explains, and clarifies, much that has been assumed and conveyed again and again about the founding of China. There are messages here of contemporary importance regarding how one manages without conflict, and how one builds sustainable organizations. The School of Sun Tzu – Winning Empires without War deserves your attention.

Available at    http://tinyurl.com/bq5klsn

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Interested in managing without conflict – in your personal and professional life? Think that war is inevitable? Here’s my book on the way to peace.

TWITTER @ShibumiMC

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