To rise and flourish in the world, you need to act according to how things really are, and you need to be a good strategist and manager. Most of the tactical information in the world lacks much practical value. However, over the years there have been a few texts written that are infamous for their no holds barred practical content. This includes classics such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, Baltasar Gracian's The Art of World Wisdom, and the works of Han Fei Tzu.
Now author Rodney Ohebsion has taken key ideas and selections from these four texts, made some new variations, additions and condensations, and put everything in a new organization--resulting in a concise "new classic" titled the New Art of War, Tactics, and Power.
Here are some insights from the book:
Overvaluing minor advantages will impede major advantages.
It is dangerous for a ruler to trust others. Anyone who trusts others can be manipulated by others.
A Sage-Ruler institutes a policy where the people have no way to do him wrong, and cannot avoid doing him good. He never relies on them doing him good only by love. It is dangerous to rely on the people doing him good with love. It is safe to rely on their not being able to avoid doing him good.
Most people will submit to authority; very few will be moved by righteousness. ... It is very uncommon to see reverence for benevolence and loyalty to righteousness, and it is rather difficult for one to act thus. ... People will by nature submit to authority. Anyone who seizes authority can easily make people submit.
Do not repeat the exact same tactics just because they have gained you one victory--instead, let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
Take advantage of any inclinations in mood your enemy has. If he gets frustrated easily, frustrate him. If he is taking it easy, get him in a panic. ... Attack where he is unprepared, and appear where you are not expected.
The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals; hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize combined energy. He uses each person according to his capacity, and does not expect each person to be fit for everything.
The wise prince does whatever he can to exercise those things that are inside of his control, and uses what is in his control to be prepared for variations outside of his control.
Live according to the moment--our acts and thoughts and all must be determined by circumstances. Act when you may, because time and tide wait for no one. Do not live by certain fixed rules, nor let your will pledge to fixed conditions, for you may have to drink the water tomorrow that you cast away today. There are some people so absurdly stubborn in error, that they expect all the circumstances of an action should bend to their own eccentric whims, and not vice versa.
If a ruler is constant in giving rewards, and does not grant pardons when giving punishments, and if he makes rewards honorable and punishments disgraceful, then everyone will try hard.
People who lack an understanding of government often preach that "Old methods should never be altered, and accepted customs should not be abandoned." A sage, however, is not decidedly for or against change. All he is interested in is the proper and effective way of ruling. His decision to alter old methods or abandon accepted customs is only based on the criteria of whether or not these old methods and customs are effective right now.
The wise ruler observes what people do, but avoids letting people observe his own motives.
Even if a ruler is excellent, he should not make assumptions about acts. He should intently observe and examine what motivates ministers' actions.
The New Art of War, Tactics, and Power is available for purchase at http://Amazon.com and other internet book retailers.
Rodney Ohebsion is the author of non-fiction books. His official website is located at http://www.immediex.com/rodneyohebsion.html