142. The Art of War, or how not to do business

It has become fashionable, in the last few years, for business people to read ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu, a war treatise by a 5th Century BC Chinese general. I would not go as far as saying it is their favourite text, but many have told me over the last few years that they are reading it. The concept is striking for its significance. It indicates that many of these business people think they are at war and that, to do business successfully, they must understand the apparent wisdom of a warlord from 2,500 years ago. It is paradoxical that business, a discipline that is meant to move technology and human capability forward by bringing discovery and science into application, improving lives in the process, is looking so far back for inspiration. It is worrying that, at a time when we have the collaboration tools needed to foster unprecedented cooperation to faster achieve humanity’s objectives, and with them those of businesses, many engaged in this activity think they are fighting others 

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