The 33 Strategies of War

“Do not fight them. Instead think of them the way you think of children, or pets, not important enough to affect your mental balance”
― Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

The 33 Strategies of War is a 2006 book written by American author Robert Greene It is a book that describes war tactics… in your own life, in everything from business negotiations to family quarrels…

You might remember my earlier review: 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene’s first book. I guess numbers are attractive and so I half-accidentally stumbled upon this book on Audible and decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. The 33 Strategies of War is a book that combines the knowledge of great classics such as  ‘Art of War’ and ‘On War’ and expanding that knowledge and making it much more practical to use these strategies in your daily life.

 

“Events in life mean nothing if you do not reflect on them in a deep way, and ideas from books are pointless if they have no application to life as you live it.”
― Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

I loved this book. It gives you countless  and countless of good guidelines on how to lead your life. Although, from time to time that advice can be quite realistic or even brutal. Preface of the book starts with some nice examples from Greek mythology. Ares was the greek god of war,  however Athene was the goddess of warfare and that is the often case in other mythologies. Point of war is not in killing, but in strategy. Not being the pawn, but the player.

Book has been divided into different strategies of warfare, every chapter giving you more insight on them. These strategies include: Self-directed warfare, organizational warfare, offensive warfare, defensive warfare and unconventional (dirty) warfare. Every chapter of the book contains own sub-strategy and it is (just as in 48 Laws of Power) purely genius. Couple of examplesfrom chapters under the dirty warfare. Chapter 23 is called Weave seamless blend of fact and fiction. Point of this chapter is to teach you how to confuse and to distract your enemies from what you are doing or what is goind on around them. Feed their expectations and manifacture their reality to match their desires. Or Chapter 28 is called: Give Your Rivals Enough Rope to Hang Themselves: The One-Upmanship Strategy.  “Life’s greatest dangers often come not from external enemies but from our supposed colleagues and friends who pretend to work for the common cause while scheming to sabotage us.”  Point is to confuse our enemies in these games they are playing.

“Your mind is the starting point of all war and all strategy. A mind that is easily overwhelmed by emotion, that is rooted in the past instead of the present, that cannot see the world with clarity and urgency, will create strategies that will always miss the mark.”
― Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

To most of you, all of this might sound shocking, terrible and you might not to want to use these strategies though I think everyone should at least know of them. I adored this book also because it made so much easier to understand world politics and actions of world leaders such as Trump or Putin. It also has enabled me to see through people and recognize the strategy they are playing if they are. What I didn’t quite like about The 33 Strategies of War was how often it repeated the same examples used in the previous book. It was good in a way because I knew the example and could see it both from strategy and power perspective, however I still wanted more of novel ideas.

5/5 stars

“You may think that what you’d like to recapture from your youth is your looks, your physical fitness, your simple pleasures, but what you really need is the fluidity of mind you once possessed.”
― Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

How-To Read The 33 Strategies of War
1.
If you love Art of War and On War, this should be your next read. And it’s perfect for history lovers.
2.
Quite a heavy book, it will probably take a while and for that it is the perfect book to listen to on your way to work for example.
3.
Umm… business is business?

Check out this awesome video:

Featured image: Photos: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons…Soldiers in front of the wood of Hougoumont during the reenactment of the battle of Waterloo (1815), June 2011, Waterloo, Belgium, British artillery in action by John Warwick Brooke . And the video is linked here from the youtube site