The Art of War - Book Summary, Analysis, and Review

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The Art of War SummaryThis is a book that I first read in my military strategic studies class at the United States air force academy. 

It's kind of crazy that a book written over 2,500 years ago is really the first and the most fundamental book studied by the world's greatest air force to this day. 

You might not necessarily be fighting wars, but business is basically the modern day warfare, so if you own one or work for one, which should basically be everyone, then this book is just as useful for you as for a military strategist.
The Art of War - Book Summary, Analysis, and Review
The Art of War - Book Summary, Analysis, and Review
Lesson 1: Know your enemy and know yourself and in 100 battles you will never be in peril.

A lot of people go to job interviews, don't get picked, and don't understand that this is exactly why.

They walk in there having no idea about who they're dealing with.

If you're walking into a job interview, you need to have spent the past few weeks learning everything there is to know about the company and the industry it's in.

Do you know how impressive it is if you walk in there and say something like, "We're in a billion dollar industry. I know we're currently holding 20% of the market share, and the CEO has announced two weeks ago that we'll be trying to hit 30% by the end of next year. And here is how hiring me is going to help this company achieve that."

Do you know how impressive that would be?

Most people's answer to that would be something like, "Uh... We try to sell shoes here. I don't really know..."

Now that's crazy! But not only do people have no idea about who they're dealing with, they have no idea about themselves.

Most people if asked, "Hey, why should we pick you", have no idea how to answer it. It's like, "Uh, I guess I'll work really hard..."

No, that was the answer that the 20 other people before you gave.

Why are you better than all the other ones? Objectively, what are you capable of that makes you better than all the other ones?

Lesson 2: Avoid what is strong. Attack what is weak.

So when Jen gets a job at a company, she goes in and sees how everyone's really good at answering the phone. And she says, "I'm going to work hard and be better than everyone when it comes to answering the phone."

Jen's never going to be valued in that company. There are all these other people who are really good at answering the phone.

You don't want to compete there. You want to be the Jen who everyone goes up to with insurance questions because you're the only person in there who knows everything there is to know about insurance.

Same thing in business.

No wonder businesses have such a huge rate of failure when people walk into a business trying to compete with WalMart on price.

Why are you attacking what is strong? You're never going to beat WalMart on price.

But what are the weaknesses? What do people demonize WalMart for?

The cup was made with the tears of Chinese children. The cup has nothing authentic about it. So all of a sudden you say, look at my cup. It's made by treating people really well, it's authentic because of this and that! Now that's still a really hard market, so good luck with competing in there, but at least you have some chance of some little market share now because you literally had zero chance before.

Lesson 3: To win 100 battles is not the height of skill, To subdue the enemy without fighting is.

It's amazing how everyone's obsessed with suing today. There's a time when fighting is the last resort, a lot of these cases could be solved just by picking up the phone.

Picking up the phone costs nothing, suing people will cost you a lot.

I love when people finally quote unquote win and are so proud. Because that's all you can be, just proud.

If you looked at it rationally, you have spent endless amounts of money, years of your time, energy, all that opportunity cost, and now you quote unquote "win."

Maybe the benefit was higher than the cost in your situation, and that's awesome, congratulations, but a lot of times it's not.

You're smarter than your opponent, you don't rely on emotions like anger and pride to decide if you're going to fight or not.

You always take into account the cost, and you do everything you can to win the battle without actually fighting it. Because you know that fighting has a cost, and that cost is huge.

So these are some of the lessons derived from "The Art of War Review".

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