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The Book of Leadership and Strategy: Lessons of the Chinese Masters Paperback – September 1, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Are leaders born or made? If leadership skills can be imparted at all through words, this book, written some 2,000 years ago, offers some possibilities. And leave it to Thomas Cleary, who translates difficult works twice as fast as most of us read them, to bring us a crucial addition to classical tracts on war and leadership."—Japan Times

"This is wisdom for the new age. It's almost spooky how relevant are the words of these Taoist sages in this time of government excess and civil unrest. There are lessons here that our leaders and executives, and perhaps most importantly our children, could profit by."—Thom Calandra, financial columnist, San Francisco Examiner

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877736677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877736677
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Laura Haggarty on February 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is more philosophical than some others of similar titles and natures are. It views leadership and strategy through the lens of Taoist thinking, and as such is more concerned with the spiritual and ethical development of a leader. The book is broken into four sections: State and Society; Warfare; Peace; and Wisdom. Each is linked to the other, and follows the previous topic. There is a lot of discussion on the health of a given society, and how both the heads of a society as well as the people within it reflect and affect its overall health. There is a lot of focus on the causes and effects of warfare, as well as the ethics of waging war properly.
This is a small book, one that you can keep in your pocket or briefcase, perfect in size for reading on the train into work or while sitting in a doctor's office. It's full of essays that will make you think, and perhaps re-evaluate how you deal with certain situations in your life. It is worth buying, no question about that.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cleary brings us another brief, readable translation from the Taoist canon. This time, it's a compilation of extracts from the Huainan Tzu (or Huainanzi). Unlike other books, this has multiple authors, guest philosophers in the court of a king of the small Huainan nation. If there's any choppiness in this list of brief lessons, it's probably due to the book's mixed origin rather than Cleary's editing.

He chose to arrange the aphoristic anecdotes into four chapters, on State, Warfare, Peace, and Wisdom. These readings are much less direct than other authors on statecraft - Han Fei Tzu or Sun Tzu are clearer to a modern reader, and more immediately applicable. Like other Taoist authors, these convey the sense that proper following of The Way is the only goal. Within The Way all other things, including peace, prosperity, and victory, ensue with the inevitability of water flowing down hill.

Some of these teachings are clear enough, though, and applicable immediately in today's world. "In early spring, ... pregnant animals are not to be killed and birds' eggs are not to be taken." Natural and agricultural resources need to be managed properly in order to stay productive for the long term. It's a lesson that is too rarely remembered in modern policy-making, when resources must be stretched to feed so many more people. Elsewhere, the Huainan masters direct their invasion forces not to destroy resources or plunder the populace, in order to keep the majority's good will after a change of regime. They knew this over two thousand years ago, but we're still applying the lesson only poorly today.

This isn't in the first rank of Taoist writings, but it's a readable and worthwhile addition for anyone who wants to dig a bit deeper.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Rivera on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
i read on the subject of eastern philosophy and the book of leadership and strategy is one that encompasses a typical taoist thought. very informative, and makes more sense than most holy books. thomas cleary is on my list of authors
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Fraire on February 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book of Huainanz is full of wisdom. It pretty simply to apply in all aspect of life & business world too. I am a student now, studying this chinese masters has help me reach a new level of understanding.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bobby on January 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
i could not help but highlight at least one quote on every page. it has a lot of concepts and virtues i would have never thought of. great book worth multiple reads and to learn from
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