The Annotated Art of War (Parts 10.21-24: Applied Intelligence)
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 10.21-24: Applied Intelligence
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|Sun Tzu said:
21. The natural formation of the country is the soldier's best ally; but a
power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces of victory, and of
shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, constitutes the test
of a great general.
|There are many
variables in war. The general who understands and makes use of these
increases the chance of victory.
Failure is often a result of failing to address such factors, of
not including them in calculations or making poor assumptions rather
than seeking clear intelligence.
War is hence more of a science than an intuitive art.
There is much science also in business. Whilst there is room for
qualitative analysis and decision-making, a quantitative foundation
is always a sound approach.
|22. He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into
practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will
surely be defeated.
|You not only need to
know things, you have to use them in the right way. Both of these
steps have to be made. History is littered with failures to
understand and failures to apply what is understood.
|23. If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even
though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you
must not fight even at the ruler's bidding.
|Whilst it is
important to obey commanders, the final choice has to be made on the
battlefield where officers have fuller knowledge of the situation.
Officers in the field hence have a great responsibility to do
what is right to achieve the overall victory. It is important that
this is permitted and officers trained to make such decisions
|24. The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without
fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good
service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
ambition and seeking of glory or promotion takes precedence, the
higher goals of victory are lost.
The greatest generals are those
who are driven first by higher goals, to serve their rulers and