- 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: 6.5 x 1.2 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 (319 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,451 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
Once again, Green brings a tremendous body of research and historical insight to his writing, demonstrating the key points of each chapter through some of the greatest successes and mistakes from history.
But this isn't just a book about war. Greene repeatedly states that many of the strategies and tactics used to harden an individual for conflict (or conflict avoidance) apply equally well to business, politics and negotiation, and the examples come from everywhere from Hollywood to Ancient Rome.
The advantage this book has over the previous two is that his clarification of his strategies is more balanced and consistent. He goes vague less often here.
This book completes nicely Greene's cycle of historical self-improvement books: the first in how to woo others to your way of thinking, the second to deal with power structures, and the third for self-discipline and conflict resolution.
The beauty of his approach is that there is something for everyone in this book. You may read about a tactic that is highly amusing, but that you say to yourself, "I could never do that." Then in the next chapter you may say, "That's fits in with my personality. I can do that." That's how I felt about his strategies for laying back and appearing to not care, and about his strategy for taking an unassailable position.
A brief story in chapter 4 on developing a sense of extreme urgency was well worth the cost of the book to me. It talks about Fyodor Dostoevsky and how a change in his perspective on the value of life lead to a greater appreciation for every moment, and to an era of rampant productivity that continued until his death. Because I'm an author I spend a good part of every day writing and thinking about my work. After reading about Dostoevsky I immediately felt an even higher sense of purpose and motivation.
You really can't go wrong with this book. It is very entertaining and educational. Beyond that, you could pick up some sage, time-tested advice for improving both your business and your life. Bravo!
What I really like:
- "Everything is fair in love and war"
This book is a collection of war stories & strategies employed by some of history's greatest rulers and gives you an insight on what makes them truly "great". It is sort of a mini-biography of these great personalities giving you a well laid out picture of their circumstances and choices that worked & didn't work for them.
- "The moment you aim for results, you are in the realm of strategy"
This book is a mind opener as it broadens your thinking and makes you realize certain similarities in your everyday life situations with those used in this book. It makes general statements about present day life and you will find your mind automatically making subtle connections with your personal situations and sometimes even realizing how things could have been done differently.
- Those of you who have an interest in History or like watching the shows on History Channel will admire the way these stories have presented. Although this is a large book, it has been divided into 33 smaller chapters each of which talks about a specific war strategy making it easier to read. You can also read chapters from in between as most of the text makes sense even when read in isolation from other chapters.
- The book is very well researched and it feels like you are reading a summary of important lessons from other well written books on military warfare. All in all, you will find the stories interesting to keep turning the pages and wanting yourself to complete the end of a chapter in every sitting.
What I don't like:
- At places, the book contains fairly long quoted texts from other great warfare books in the middle of an interesting story (specially true for kindle edition) that interrupt the flow and take you away from original text
- Certain chapters are fairly long and borderline slightly boring with too much details which can be avoided. The book itself is also quite heavy read.