Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

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 ~

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The 36 Strategies: #16: When you want to take captives, leave them on the loose for a while.

Next to The Art of War by Sun Zi, the 36 Strategies is most widely known book of strategic thought. It is a good idea to understand strategy, if for no other reason, to recognize when someone is trying to implement a strategy on you. Here is number 16.

16. When you want to take captives, leave them on the loose for a while.

Fleeing enemies may turn again and strike desperately if pursued too hotly. If they are given room to run, on the other hand, they scatter and lose their energy. Then they can be taken captive without further violence.

In other words, it may be advantageous to allow the opponent to thrash around a bit before making one's move. There is no need to be in an unneccesary hurry.


John Vesia said...

I'm not familiar with this particular work, but in boxing this is called taking your opponent into deep water. It's interesting how some of these ancient combat tenets resurface in modern times.

Rick Matz said...

The 36 Strategies is pretty famous in Asia. Where the Art of War lays out the study of strategy by topic; the 36 Strategies tries to teach the idea of strategic thinking by way of example.

If you scan the archives from the beginning, you'll find the previous 15 strategies, and commentary on how they're organized.

I might also direct you to the links secion on my page; at "The Pragmatic View" which is a blog primarily concerned with strategy and strategic thinking.

Compass360 Consulting Group said...

Technology and trends comes. Technology and trends go.

The essence of the classic strategic and tactical principles remains the same.

Only real strategists and warriors study the classics (i.e., Dao De Jing, Zhuang Zi, Sunzi AoW, Jiang Tai Gong Six Strategies, 36 Strategems, etc).

But it is the [B]consummate professionals[/B] who understands the connection between those strategic classics and its relationship to the [B]["Three Extremes"][/B].

Remember many people can talk about "The Game". So few can play "The Game".