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The 33 Strategies of War

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The 33 Strategies of War


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Wouldn't it be great if Napoleon could develop a strategic plan for your life? He can – through this book.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Military and business strategists agree that if you cannot contend against others, you will quickly get left behind. The problem is, most people think and act tactically – not strategically. Robert Greene's intelligent book can help you change your approach. It takes a fascinating, in-depth look at some of the world's most famous master military strategists: Napoleon Bonaparte, Sun-tzu, Alexander the Great, Carl von Clausewitz, Erwin Rommel, Hannibal and many more. Greene organizes the sagacious thinking of these masterminds into 33 strategies, drawn from mostly from warfare but also from business, politics, entertainment and nature. He provides concrete ideas on how to put these cerebral concepts to practical use. The information is packed in tight. Fascinating accent pieces run in the outer margins, but alas, in small, red italics. getAbstract highly recommends this remarkable book that explains how to meet your challenges with the best battle-tested strategies.


Strategic Thinking

Life is warfare and opponents surround you, whether they look like enemies or seem to be allies. No matter how much you like the ideal of a gentle society, learn to protect yourself and your business. Remember these key rules:

  • See life realistically.
  • Evaluate others by what they do, not what they say.
  • Rely on yourself.
  • React with wisdom not anger.

Stay aloof from the fray to maintain your perspective and keep yourself spiritually sound. Then, use these strategies as needed. The art is in knowing when that is.

"Self-Directed Warfare"

Great warriors know that to win they must control their minds. An uncontrolled mind will produce an unsound strategy. These strategies give you mental control:

  1. "The Polarity Strategy" – As Britain's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher attacked her Labour Party opponents constantly and polarized the electorate. This strategy worked: Thatcher was widely viewed as a strong leader. Want to win a battle? Do not seek the comfortable center. Get out on the edge where you have room to fight.
  2. "The Guerrilla-War-of-the-Mind Strategy...

About the Author

Robert Greene writes on topics of strategy. He has a degree in classical studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His frequent collaborator, Joost Elffers, produced this book.

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