The Annotated Art of War (Parts 13.1-3: War is Expensive)
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 13.1-3: War is Expensive
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XIII. The Use of Spies
|Sun Tzu said:
1. Sun Tzu said: Raising a host of a hundred thousand men and marching them
great distances entails heavy loss on the people and a drain on the resources of
the State. The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces of silver.
There will be commotion at home and abroad, and men will drop down exhausted on
the highways. As many as seven hundred thousand families will be impeded in
||War is very
expensive. It costs in terms of lives, even when there is no
fighting. It costs in the patience and support of the people at
home. And it costs enormously in money.
That cost is paid for long
after the war is ended, even if you are the victor. You should
understand the cost before you go to war and as you continue each
day of warfare.
Competing is also expensive in business. The cost of marketing,
PR and sales can easily be far more than the cost of creating the
product or delivering the service. When deciding what to offer, take
all such expenses into account.
|2. Hostile armies may
face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided
in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the
enemy's condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred
ounces of silver in honors and emoluments, is the height of
||War can be quite
capricious, turning on a moment.
Perhaps the greatest cost in war
that may extend it endlessly or bring your rapid demise is your
ignorance, your not knowing where the enemy is, their morale, their
likely action and so on.
The worst action of a commander is to imperiously take arrogant
action for selfish reason, without consideration of the consequences
for the troops or for the likelihood of winning or losing.
|3. One who acts thus
is no leader of men, no present help to his sovereign, no master of
||To lead is a serious
business in which personal foibles have no place. Paradoxically, the
leader has to put themselves last, seeking first to win at the
minimum cost. Glory is a result, not a goal. Those who seek glory
are likely to find only ignominy.
The same effect happens in
business. Those who seek only profit at the expense of employee and
customer satisfaction may succeed in the short term but will
ultimately and massively fail.