The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, August 11, 2006

The 36 Strategies: #17 Toss out a glazed tile to draw a jade

Next to the Art of War by Sun Zi, the 36 Strategies is the most widely known work on strategy in Asia. Where the Art of War plainly lays out the major topics to be considered in discussing strategy, the 36 Strategies attempts to teach by induction, by giving 36 examples, in groups of six. Here is #17.

17. Toss out a glazed tile to draw a jade

You present something of superficial or apparent worth to induce another party to produce something of real worth.

The classic bait and switch comes to mind as an example of #17. This strategy is the basis of countless cons. It is almost human nature to try and get something for nothing (or very little).

How many times have you encountered something too good to be true, and you were right? That's a case of recognising #17.

I thought I'd take the opportunity now to provide some links to books which discuss the 36 Strategies. This is by no means comprehensive, but should provide a good place to start, when looking for more information on The 36 Strategies.

The Art of the Advantage by Kaihan Krippendorf

The 36 Strategies by Stefan Verstappen

More Than 36 Stratagems: A Systematic Classification Based On Basic Behaviours
by Douglas Tung

36 Strategies of the Chinese by Wee Chow Hou



ms_lili said...

Do you see this as a strategy only for war? How about for peace? Or for positive relationships? What I have in mind is when you are trying to build a trusting relationship with a person. Or maybe that one would be called tossing out jade for jade?

Rick said...

These are strategies for any human interaction.

CARDINAL009 said...

Most classic processes can be used. Just a matter of creativity.

Rick said...

For example, doing something small and little trouble for you, might mean a great deal for someone else. It costs you very little (a tile), and can make a great impression on someone else (the jade).