|Sun Tzu said:
|18. All warfare is
based on deception.
||Deception appears at
all levels, from faked strategic intent to the feints and dodges of
Much business is also deception, particularly in terms
of deceiving competitors. Beware, however, about deceiving customers
or employees who may turn against you when they discover this
|19. Hence, when able
to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem
inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are
far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
||As humans, we are
has made us so. It has also made us cautious and good at detecting
deception. The side which both spots deception and deceives the
Consider every perception of the other side and find
ways of changing this.
|20. Hold out baits to
entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
||These are but two
examples, and yet each deserves attention.
When an opponent is
greedy for conquest they will grab unthinking at what seems like an
easy gain, especially if it seems that the opportunity is brief.
When it seems that you are disorganized or otherwise vulnerable,
even for a moment, they may seek to take quick advantage of your
In such ways traps can be laid for the unsuspecting enemy who
gifts you a win.
Yet always beware the double-bluff where then enemy sees your
deceptions and counters your trick with a better one, leading your
arrogant response into a deeper trap.
|21. If he is secure
at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength,
||When you can find no
way through a strong defense,
Deception is perhaps most important when you are weak and cannot
depend on strength. This is the strategy of prey who use camouflage
and other ways of deceiving the predator.
|22. If your opponent
is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak,
that he may grow arrogant.
||A choleric temper is
one which is easily roused. When we are emotionally roused, we think
far less and so are open to simple traps.
Those who easily become
angry often do this as a way of feeling
they may have learned that this is not a guarantee of success. The
bully only attacks the weakling. If you appear weak, caution is not
needed and the bully will more easily emerge.
|23. If he is taking
his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
||Everyone needs rest.
Even being alert and ready to defend is draining, let alone the
exhaustion that battle engenders. One way to weaken your enemy is
hence to constantly harry and pick at them.
Random small attacks creates
keeps them tense. In
this way, a small and nimble army can defeat a much larger army.
Guerilla war is one such
Concentrated forces are very difficult to defeat as front-line
troops can quickly be replaced with reinforcements. If you can break
them into parts or spread them out along a long front, removing the
ability to reinforce, then a single, small victory can provide you
with a powerful gain. In this way,
divide-and-conquer is a
common and powerful strategy.
|24. Attack him where
he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
||Do not attack in
force where the enemy is strongest, although keeping stronger forces
can be helpful while you throw a fierce attack at weak corners
As with other suggestions, Sun Tzu makes use of
surprise to keep the
enemy in a state of
|25. These military
devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
||Deception only works
when the other side does not realize that it is so. Hence great
secrecy is needed, and perhaps even deception about the deception.