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New app transforms 2,500 year old war strategies into business sense

In today’s business, it is good to know that some factors remain constant, at least for 2,500 years or so.

One hundred years after Lionel Giles’ translation of the Chinese version into English in 1910 came the first paper edition of “Sun Tzu’s The Art of Business”, an interpretation of the world famous The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

The new app is available in the Apple App Store and on iTunes from September, “Sun Tzu’s the Art of Business” has taken the ancient and well known Sun Tzu’s Art of War and made analogies and simple interpretations into business. The most useful feature of the app is the categorisation into useful topics, e.g. “The CEO”, “Alliances”, “Awareness” or “Picking Battles”. The app has an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface which is also very pretty to look at. The app features a nice ‘shake to shuffle’ function in addition to normal browsing of the book. Finally, the author has picked out his favourites and enabled you to do the same.

The app is targeted at investors, board members and business leaders who want to find inspiration to themselves and people around them through the share function. The app will cost €2.99 and is available for download as of now.

The author of the app claims that customers should “Start using this app in the evening and you will be a better investor, board member and manager already the next morning. You will find invaluable advice drawing on the wise words of Sun Tzu.”

There are a number of Sun Tzu apps available on the market but pretty much all of them have just copied the text and dumped it onto a more or less beautiful background without adding additional value or functionality.

Download the app at:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sun-tzus-the-art-of-business/id458876093

About the publisher:

Hjalmar Didrikson is a Swedish private independent investor with intense experience of mergers and acquisitions, financing, negotiation, investment and corporate governance. He co-founded investment company Alfvén & Didrikson and has previously been with Scandinavia’s leading private equity firm EQT and an investment banker with UBS. This is his debut app.

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XIII. The Use of Intelligence – Care for the Converted

Sun Tzu said: 25. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the converted spy.  Hence it is essential that the converted spy be treated with the utmost liberality.

In business: 25. The end and aim of intelligence in all its five varieties is knowledge of the competition; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the converted intelligence. Hence it is essential that the providers of converted intelligence be treated with the utmost care.

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XIII. The Use of Intelligence – Remove Bad Apples

Sun Tzu said: 19. If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy before the time is ripe, he must be put to death together with the man to whom the secret was told.

In business: 19. If a secret piece of news is betrayed by an employee before the time is ripe, he must be dismissed together with any accomplice.

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XIII. The Use of Intelligence – For All Business

Sun Tzu said: 18. Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.

In business: 18. Be subtle! Be subtle! And use intelligence for every kind of business.

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XIII. The Use of Intelligence – Local, Inward, Converted

Sun Tzu said:  9. Having local spies means employing the services of the inhabitants of a district. 10. Having inward spies, making use of officials of the enemy. 11. Having converted spies, getting hold of the enemy’s spies and using them for our own purposes.

In business: 9. Having local intelligence means employing the services of the players of a market. 10. Having inward intelligence, making use of information from the competition. 11. Having converted intelligence, getting hold of the competition’s information sources within one’s company and using these for our own purposes.

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XIII. The Use of Intelligence – Divine Manipulation

Sun Tzu said:  7. Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:  (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.  8. When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none can discover the secret system.  This is called “divine manipulation of the threads.”  It is the sovereign’s most precious faculty.

In business: 7. Hence the use of intelligence, of which there are five classes: (1) local intelligence; (2) inward intelligence; (3) converted intelligence; (4) doomed intelligence; (5) surviving intelligence. 8. When these five kinds of intelligence are all functioning, nobody can discover the secret system. This is called “divine manipulation of the threads”. It is the owner’s most precious ability.

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XIII. The Use of Intelligence – Foreknowledge

Sun Tzu said:  4. Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.  5. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.  6. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.

In business: 4. Thus, what enables the wise owner and the good leader to campaign and succeed, and achieve things beyond the reach of the mediocre people, is foreknowledge. 5. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained from experience, nor by any calculations. 6. Knowledge of the competition can only be obtained from other people.

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XII. The Attack – Stay Disciplined

Sun Tzu said: 21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. 22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.  This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.

In business: 21. But a company that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. 22. Hence the enlightened leader is observant, and the good leader full of caution. This is the way to keep a company in shape and a team intact.

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XII. The Attack – Avoid Prestige

Sun Tzu said: 18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

In business: 18. No leader should put his team into competition to gratify his own ego; no leader should fight a campaign simply out of prestige.

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XII. The Attack – Spirit of the Enterprise

Sun Tzu said: 15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.

In business: 15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.

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