The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Translated from the Chinese with introduction and critical notes by Lionel Giles.
London, Luzac, 1910
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The Art of War is an enduring classic. Contemporaneous with Pericles of Athens, it was written in circa 500 B.C. by Sun Tzu, a Chinese military tactician and general. It was a strategic manual to be shared among the military elite and was never intended for general publication. The text consists of 13 chapters; and, putting the odd beheading to one side, it is very relevant for modern strategic leadership. The top ten key messages applicable to the modern business leader include:
• Leaders need to be consistent
• Leaders need to be prepared
• Leaders need a vision
• Leaders need to adapt to the context
• Leaders need to care about their team and be able to read their moods
• Leaders need to think and act tactically and strategically and focus on the big picture
• Leaders sometimes need to go against the grain
• Leaders have ultimate accountability
• Leaders needs to be selfless – putting the objective first
• Leaders needs to be self-aware and play to their strengths