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The Art of War for Women

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By tamanzoo
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Introduction This book is a reiteration of Sun Tzu’s philosophy from the ancient book The Art of War which is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy. It influenced eastern military thinking and emphasized the most efficient way of gaining victory with the least amount of conflict. The original text is purposely made obscure and difficult to understand, so that Sun Tzu remained employed, as the king would need him for interpretation. Although it has a mixture of profound philosophy and detailed tactical prescriptions that are great for battles about 2500 years ago, the book is also useful today. The teaching of Sun Tzu is powerful: it will not only instruct us, but also reveal where we stand and how to approach a problem, how to deal with adversity, and how to handle the whims of fate. The author, Chin-Ning Chu, perfectly applied Sun Tzu’s theory to integrate our styles and personal philosophy into every action we take. She provided examples, references, and anecdotes that were not available in the original book The Art of War. This book is written particularly for women because women have the ability to negotiate and they are able to be modest and understand that silence is golden. This book will guide us to use the full spectrum of the strategies that are contained in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War with a holistic approach to winning. This book contains 13 chapters and our team covered chapter 1 through 6. Book Summary
Chapter 1 The strategies in The Art of War are based on Taoism. Taoism's main goal is "To be in harmony with the Universe, with Tao.” Sun Tzu applied war strategies using Taoist principles, and came up with The Art of War based on being 'In Harmony' with The Tao. The success of any strategy depends on how it is supported by the Tao (Fox, 2009). The first chapter begins with 計 (JI) which means laying plans, plotting, predicting, comparing, and analyzing. All these elements are part of prewar strategy, which contains the core message that includes all the principles in the remaining chapters. There are five elements that govern success and must be understood in the planning stages of any action. They are: (1) Tao (道) – Moral influence, righteousness: how to make winning decisions. (2) Tien (天) – Heaven or timing: from universal to personal timing. (3) Ti (地) – Earth or terrain or resources: turn your liabilities into assets. (4) Jian (將) - Leadership: a state of mind, qualities and abilities of the general. (5) Fa (法) - Method and discipline: organization, control, execution and logistics. The author discussed deception as the last essential point in the first chapter of The Art of War, which means that you appear weak when you are in actuality strong. This is borrowed from Tsun Tzu's philosophy "All warfare is based on deception (兵不厭詐)"; when you know what you are dealing with, you will know how much of yourself to reveal. Sun Tzu's philosophy focuses on deception and deception can be both defensive and offensive.
Chapter 2 Doing battle is the idea behind chapter two. In a business world, you cannot bring in your security blankets to get to where you are. You cannot get used to the way you do things, you need to adapt to the working environment you are in. Although you are given the tools that you need to get the job done, what matter is what you do with the tools to get the job done. It is like the old adage, you can bring a horse to the water but you cannot make the horse drinks the water. If you want to be noticed you need to be inspired what you are working for. The author says that you should have a picture of family, friends, co-workers, basically whatever makes you get up to go to work. The next step in the book was that you should reward results. Sun Tzu understood this very well. We should reward results to stimulate the morale (Chu 38). The employees need to know that all their efforts and hard work did not go to waste and they are valuable assets to the company. Lastly, you need to sell yourself first. In order for you to do so, you must convince your boss that you will be a better worker with fewer interruptions. If you are a strong worker and know what you are doing, then getting a little extra space will not be difficult to get. Sun Tzu brings up the Tao at the end of the chapter. He says that there are five steps that can help you close any deal quickly. First is to know the product. It maybe common sense but the more you know the product, the easier it is to sell it and to answer any possible questions the potential customer has. We should know our customers as well. For example if you are selling vacuums, you need to know if the customer has a big family, has pets or has a messy house. There are different versions of the product, and each of the customers would need the product that best suits them. The author briefly touches upon the different Tao’s in which she was personally involved with in an article in the Seattle times. She obviously knew herself, she knew the customers, and she knew that the product that would not fit the costumer’s needs and would walk away from the deal (Lane, 1992).

Chapter 3 The third chapter is titled “strategy” and states to know thyself and others. According to The Art of War, Lao Tzu’s strategy is “Knowing others is wisdom; knowing yourself is enlightenment.” Lao Tzu which means “old master” in Chinese is the founder of Taoism.
The main points in the chapter are self-understanding and understanding others. There are friends and foes in any kind of battle. In the battle, everyone wants to win. Therefore, we want to know what the other side’s actions are because we need to prepare for that. First, the author mentions how to better understand ourselves. There are five steps of self-understanding: you must have a strong desire to know yourself, be your own detective, dive into yourself, see yourself through someone else’s eyes, and be an actor and director. The second key point is to understand people on the other side. There are five essentials to victory. To know only one side, you might win and sometimes lose. But, if you know both situations very well, you are sure to win. These five strategies explain that we can win before the fight. (1) If you know when to fight and when not to fight, you will win. (2) If you know when to use many of few troops, you will win. (3) If you obtain the wholehearted support of her troops, you will win. (4) If you are well prepared to seize favorable opportunities, you will win. (5) If you can free yourself from interference from superiors, you will win.
Chapter 4 The fourth chapter is titled “disposition” and states to win first, then fight. In battles, both offensive and defensive, mental dispositions are needed to succeed. Victory is assured when an enemy makes a mistake, so the weaknesses and disadvantages of the enemy must be exploited. Lao Tzu states that “ancient warriors first place themselves in an invincible position, and then wait for the opportunity to defeat their enemies.” In business, this means that all aspects of the business plan -- such as strategies, tactics and contingencies -- must be in place and certain to work well before it is implemented. You must anticipate everything that could possibly happen, and be ready to adapt to things you hadn’t planned for. If every option is covered, thus eliminating any possibility of being defeated, victory is assured. Victory must first appear in your mind. Convince yourself that you will be successful before you start the task, focusing on the well-being of the client rather than on monetary gain. Craft a winning mind-set that will allow you to win again and again. Once you have the vision of victory, then you can proceed to execute the plan in reality. Business wisdom is split into two categories: motivational, and strategy. In the motivational aspect, the focus is on cheerleading and believing in yourself to accomplish business problems, while in the strategy aspect, the focus is on formulas and dry methods of accomplishing tasks. These two approaches should be combined to create a winning attitude. In a winning attitude, you must have the mental disposition to win. Ask yourself, do you really want to win, or are there psychological blocks between you and winning? Some people may love the joy of struggle and challenge more than winning. Once you focus on winning, everything becomes easier, but the vision of success may differ from the traditional view of advancing in a career or becoming CEO. Maybe success for you is having a great family, spending time with friends, or pursuing a hobby. You need to make a choice between putting your family first, your career, or finding a balance between the two depending on what your vision of success is. There are five reasons women may be having difficulty with creating a winning disposition. They may be placing fantasies above reality, lying about what is wanted, wearing glass slippers with combat fatigues, buying into the myth of a glass ceiling, and lacking a powerful spirit. If you believe gender discrimination is what is holding you back from being successful, you should ask someone you trust to analyze what problem is holding you back. If you really are being discriminated against and you do not like your job, you should start looking for another one. However, if you like your job and do not want to quit, you should work even harder to increase the chance of being noticed for a promotion. If instead you are passed over for important project or promotions, this may be an indication that it is time to move on. To common reasons for losing are wearing the wrong shoes for the wrong occasion, and giving excuses to fail. No dream is better than the others, so as long as you are true to yourself, there will be a happy future for you (Kurtus, 2005).
Chapter 5 The fifth chapter is titled “momentum”. In this chapter, the author says a control of a large force is the same as a few; it is merely a question of dividing their numbers, managing, and organization. According to Lao Tzu, “in battle, there are not more than two methods of attack -- the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.” Using large amounts of employees requires better, sophisticated communication. A CEO of a huge organization must use good stylish communication skills. Keep the employees unshaken while under attack by direct and indirect methods. In addition, we need to know the timing. Proficient warriors seek victory by employing opportune timing. In addition, if you are too late to enter the market, you will miss the trend. In business, timing really is everything. There are six steps to improve your personal timing. (1) Notice the signals of timing hidden all around. (2) Be in tune with the timing of potential partners. (3) Be aware of the relationship between your objective and your timing. (4) Use your intuition to improve your timing. (5) Back up your intuition with data and planning. (6) Use common sense. To improve our personal timing is very easy; therefore, we can improve the timing naturally. We can improve our personal timing by supplementing our intuition with common sense and experience and then following up by executing our plans in an ethical manner. However, we may not be able to control the timing.
Chapter 6 The sixth Chapter is titled “Real and Unreal”. Illusions should play a central role in the reality we play. The author illustrated Taoist philosophy through “the use of emptiness” logic that things that have held up in the past such as stereotypes may not be the truth, so it depends on us to “repackage” ourselves. There are eight ways to “repackage” womankind. (1) Repackage woman as the representative of beauty. (2) Ensure the qualities of harmony, love, beauty, and happiness. (3) Persevere. Do not give up. (4) Be more sensible than men, (5) Make use of women’s innate intuition to master strategic thinking naturally. (6) Put forth the necessary mental and physical energy to sustain our economic environment. (7) Think of strength in feminine terms. (8) Break down the stereotypes and enjoy the competition (Kurtus, 2005). Just like water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the warrior works out his victory in relation to the enemy whom he is facing. We need to think of style and substances as formless weapons we can use in our career battles. Career success depends on substance and perception. How we dress will portray how we are perceived. A style makeover is the first step for a career makeover, and let our style support our career.

Conclusion In The Art of War for Women, we have learned thus far that one needs to have skills similar to that of a warrior going to war. We need to have the same skill set that gets us there and to win. With the proper planning, we can be successful in the working world and our own personal life. When we work for a company, we need to work with what we are given. Knowing ourselves is highly important because we are the only people who know our own strengths and weaknesses. We must know how to use these in the business world and in our personal life. We need to know others to be successful in our selling strategy to the customer. In order to win the fight first before getting into the fight, we must know the weaknesses of the competition so we can come up with a game plan to win. We need to learn how to use momentum or timing to our favor. We must know of any illusions that separate fact from perception. By making adjustments to behavior and appearance, we can adjust that illusion to better fit ourselves to our views of success. The methods of winning as discussed in The Art of War 2,500 years ago are still relevant today, and this book has shown that its strategies are applicable to both men and women in the workplace (Jacobs, 2007).

Jacobs, B. (2007). The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work. Booklist, 103(11), 11. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Fox, S. (2009, October 27). Sun Tzu and the Tao of the Organization. Information Security resources: Retrieved on November 30, 2010 from Kurtus, R. (2005, December 18). Succeed in Winning Competitions. School for champions. Retrieved November 8, 2010 from
Lane, P (1992) Don't Get Sidetracked By Negative Thinking, Author's Philosophy Says. Seattle Times. Retrieved December 2, 2010 from

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