- Series: Joost Elffers Books
- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 14, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143112783
- ISBN-13: 978-0143112785
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (331 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The 33 Strategies of War (Joost Elffers Books) Paperback – December 14, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
As in his bestselling The 48 Laws of Power, Greene puts a modern spin on wisdom that has stood the test of history, only this time his role model is Sun Tzu rather than Machiavelli. The argument is fairly standard: despite our most noble intentions, "aggressive impulses that are impossible to ignore or repress" make military combat a fitting metaphor for getting ahead in life. Greene's advice covers everything from steeling one's mind for battle to specific defensive and offensive tactics—notably, the final section on "dirty" warfare is one of the book's longest. Historical lessons are outlined and interpreted, with amplifying quotations crammed into the margins. Not all of the examples are drawn from the battlefield; in one section, Greene skips nimbly from Lyndon Johnson's tenacity to Julius Caesar's decisiveness, from Joan Crawford's refusal to compromise to Ted Williams's competitive drive. Alfred Hitchcock, he says, embodies "the detached-Buddha tactic" of appearing uninvolved while remaining in total control. The diversity of subject matter compensates for occasional lapses into stilted warriorese ("arm yourself with prudence, and never completely lay down your arms, not even for friends"). For those willing to embrace its martial conceit, Greene's compendium offers inspiration and entertainment in equal measure. (Jan. 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Greene and "producer" Joost Elffers are the Machiavellians who brought us The 48 Laws of Power (1998) and The Art of Seduction (2001), and their latest book similarly purports to distill the profundities of history for personal gain. Unapologetically premised on Hobbesian "all that is social is war" bromides, this account collects parables of strategic success and error from a diverse cast of military and nonmilitary historical figures. Its lessons are presented self-help-book style in chapters titled "Maneuver Them into Weakness" and "Seem to Work for the Interests of Others While Furthering Your Own" and flanked by a withering barrage of reiterative marginalia. Most books this cynical (and this repetitive) need a sense of humor to be readable, something this book apparently lacks. Its quasi-spiritual tone, though perhaps increasing its attractiveness to the impressionable, is also trying at times. But those readers who push through to the end (or flip ahead) will find a curiously contemporary section on modern terrorism cloaking a surprisingly specific commentary on al-Qaeda and antiterrorism strategy. Politics by other means? Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Placing that long history of the outcomes of strategy in the human experience is not a simple challenge. Greene's sampling of the range of options and there nuances in a concise and approachable fashion is well done. His method to draw from history in border highlights to his narrative is an immersive reading experience. Should the reader consider the historical quotational references first or Greene's narrative that elaborates? The answer for this reader was both. The commensurate demand of Greene's effort is to motivate the re-read of one or the other or both to seal in the central notion. Strategy and implications demands intellectual rigor if one's objective is to both understand the principles and rationalize the implications. Civilization has been defined by the strategic outcomes realized by our predecessors. Greene tells the story of why and why.
As to the business implications, the concept of `War' is perhaps better translated as `Competition'. We have no examples of non-warfare related competition or social governance that is not at core a friction of opposing ideals. Friction is relieved in strategy. Greene's primer does an excellent job elaborating methods in this context. War is a lengthy and thoroughly enjoyable read that is best consumed a chapter at a time.
5-star great read for the strategically oriented!
Also, I don't think that Mr. Greene's books are amoral. Quite the contrary, they open our eyes to the strategies that some people use to win or get ahead through strategy and manipulation, and allow us to prepare if ever we need to engage with them socially or professionally.