Art of War by Sun Tzu. Short Read. Interesting insight into 2500 years old war strategies.
This book is a great example of how human psychology hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Yes we have new technologies and new ways of doing things, but in terms of how we operate we haven’t changed much.
Art of War is a general’s manual. It starts with laying plans, painting the fighting landscape and factors involved in war. It goes on to explain the strategy and tactics of waging war: when to attack and when to stand still. It then covers several important things involved in warfare: energy, maneuvering, terrain, recognizing weak and strong points, use of spies and so on.
Art of War = Art of Business
Why would that matter to me? Because the fundamentals of warfare are very similar to today’s business.
If you want to attract a client, make a sale or run a company you are affected by some fundamental forces similar to those in a war.
You must understand the market, it’s demographics, buying power, language, culture and habits. Dude, I’m doing mobile installs, why does that concern me? Well, here’s why. If you are marketing a large app in a country with slow mobile internet your results could be hindered, but you wouldn’t even know why. It’s vital to know your market. In business it will cost you time and money, in war the price is paid with human lives.
Next, use of strategies and tactics are equally important. You must know when to kill a marketing campaign and when to keep it running. When confronted with a competitor you should recognize his strong and weak points and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
In modern marketing spying is becoming more and more important. It is not enough to use tactics that worked 6 months or even 1 month ago. You have to be on top of the game if you want to make money.
So even though Art of War is 2500 years old I find the topic very current today. Read it, jot down the fundamental principles, meditate on them and use them for your advantage. They are timeless.