Sun Tzu And The Art Of Business Book Summary By Mark R. McNeilly

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Sun Tzu and the Art of Business is a book that provides readers with an understanding of Sun Tzu's ancient Chinese military strategies and how these strategies can be applied to modern business endeavors.

This book describes how one can use these war techniques to their advantage in today's ever-changing and hypercompetitive marketplaces.

The authors explore various aspects of Sun Tzu's philosophy such as managing team dynamics, understanding customer needs, creating winning strategies, and more.

They then apply these teachings to areas like marketing, sales, production, management and leadership, giving readers an invaluable guide for achieving success in business.

Sun Tzu And The Art Of Business Book

Book Name: Sun Tzu and the Art of Business (Six Strategic Principles for Managers)

Author(s): Mark R. McNeilly

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Management & Leadership

Author Bio

Mark R.

McNeilly is not your everyday business author, he has done much more than writing books on theArt of Business.

He is an Academic, a Professor of Marketing at the University of North Carolina and also has had extensive corporate experience having worked for IBM and Lenovo.

This extensive background brings to the reader a wealth of knowledge from teaching to real live work experience in bigger organisations, as well as insights from historical leaders such as Sun Tzu who he also uses in his book summarising the Art of Business.

With all this experience and history, you know that you're in good hands.

The Art Of War: How To Use Ancient Chinese Strategy For Business Success

Business Success

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has stood the test of time – and it provides great insights for entrepreneurs too.

Even 2,000 years later, there are lessons that can be taken from Sun Tzu that can help you succeed in business.

One of the main takeaways is that being strategic and tactical about your approach is essential if you want to come out on top.

In the Sun Tzu and the Art of Business Book Summary, you’ll learn how to defeat your enemies with a fraction of their resources; why imitation is not a strategy; and what a McDonalds fry teaches us about strategy.

This book will show you how to use classic strategies of warfare to beat your competition and secure long-term prosperity by strategizing your way to victory.

How To Use Sun Tzu’S Strategic Principles To Achieve Market Dominance Without Damaging Your Competitors

Sun Tzu’s famous maxim “take All-under-heaven intact” cautions against ravaging the land of your enemies and significant to business leaders attempting to achieve dominance of the market.

Sun Tzu understood that war is not about destroying the resources available, but rather taking advantage of those same resources for your own gain.

His principle essentially counsels everyone involved in a business venture, from shareholders to executives, to use all available tools at their disposal in an effective but positive way.

When applied in modern business contexts, Sun Tzu’s principle can mean different things: it may involve leveraging competitor’s advantages while avoiding their weaknesses, or negotiating a takeover of a retailer without cutting its workforce.

Essentially, though, it boils down to striving for superior quality and performance with the aim of achieving market dominance – while preserving the resources you need to succeed and prosper in the long run.

For example, global tobacco firm Philip Morris strategically sought out rivals after its Marlboro cigarettes dominated the market.

By dropping its prices by 20%, however Phillip Morris triggered a fierce price war that ended up damaging the entire industry – including Marlboro itself.

This serves as an irreplaceable reminder of why Sun Tzu’s timeless advice must be heeded- capture competitors and seize new ground, but don’t damage it in the process.

Attack Your Enemies’ Weaknesses Instead Of Their Strengths For Real Success

According to Sun Tzu, it is important to avoid your enemies’ strengths and attack their weaknesses when engaging in either business or warfare.

Many times businesses will attempt to imitate the strategies of their competitors by going after their strongest points such as discounted pricing or higher quality manufacturing.

However, this strategy can be a mistake as often times a business may not have the same resources and infrastructure as the competition and it can come at great cost.

An example of this is AT&T’s attempt in 1982 to enter the computer industry where they failed miserably despite their cutting-edge research center, losing billions of dollars while earning themselves thousands of job losses.

Instead, Sun Tzu advises looking for your competitors’ weaknesses and ruthlessly exploiting them, like how many Japanese companies have become market dominators by taking advantage of weak American manufacturing quality.

This gives businesses a way to gain an edge without having to engage in costly battles that may end up expending resources without providing any long-term benefit.

Gain The Upper Hand In Business By Knowing Your Enemy Inside And Out


In business, it’s crucial to understand your competitors in order to be successful.

Sun Tzu teaches that the wise general emerges victorious because he has foreknowledge of his enemy’s plans, capabilities and even state of mind.

And how do you gain that insight? By conducting thorough research into your adversaries’ situation.

More than just examining their annual turnover, workforce size or what they produce – although those are good places to start- you need to go much further into detail with your research.

Investigate their merchandise by purchasing their products and taking them apart piece by piece to estimate the cost of their manufacturing processes.

Read industry trade journals and interview representatives from rival businesses, looking carefully for anything that can give you a clue as to what strategy or mindset they’re likely employing.

It’s not enough just to understand the surface details; you need to know what drives your competitors’ behaviour – the values, beliefs and assumptions encasing their organization.

To achieve this, you’ll need to do extensive background checking on the executives who lead them – exploring which sources inform the courses of action they take whenever making decisions.

With all this knowledge assimilated together correctly, probabilities point at being able predict what moves they mean make next.

If McDonalds did it – gathering intelligence about Burger King’s intentions regarding French fries before sending out a directive outlining caution taken when cooking and salting its chips – then so can you!

Conduct in-depth research into your competitors in order to effectively anticipate their attacks and respond accordingly.

Reap rewards if applicable!

Speed Is The Key To Success In War And Business

Sun Tzu’s famous military tactics can be applied to business as well.

One key point that Sun Tzu preached was that speed compensates for a lack of resources.

It’s true in any situation where you’re up against an opponent with more resources than you – instead of slowly trying to outplay them, you move quickly and try to outmaneuver them.

IBM serves as a perfect example of how Sun Tzu’s advice worked in real life.

By splitting up its single production line into several, smaller and more efficient lines, IBM was able to reduce how long it took to make a personal computer from five days to eight hours.

Not only did this increase the company’s production speed and let it reduce the size of its team, but it increased their profitability drastically too.

It turns out that in almost every industry, companies that move fast see a two-to-five times higher return on their investment than those who don’t – plus, they grow at triple the speed if they have their reactions honed and right on target!

Walmart is another great example; when they entered the discount retail industry, they moved even faster than their competition, which allowed them to grow at three times the rate of other players in the field.

The bottom line? If you want your company or venture to be successful when faced with limited resources, then adopting Sun Tzu’s approach and moving quickly is key!

Even though it may seem intimidating at first, swift action can pay off big time – just ask IBM or Walmart!

Using Sun Tzu’S Two-Pronged Strategy To Surprise Your Enemy

Sun Tzu taught us a two-pronged approach to surprising an enemy on the battlefield and in business – engaging your enemy in two places at once.

By attacking with both a direct and indirect attack, you can ensure that your opponent is caught off guard and unable to properly defend itself against both attacks.

This strategy was seen in full force when Southwest Airlines stepped up their game against United Airlines in California’s low-cost air market.

United’s move was a direct attack, while Southwest devised an indirect attack by offering long haul flights, which ate into United’s customer base.

This surprised them, as they had only been preparing to defend themselves against the short haul flights of Southwest Airline’s direct attack.

Eventually, United took losses across several key markets while Southwest continued to make gains with their successful strategy.

Engaging your opponent in two places at once is just one way of utilizing the military strategies outlined by Sun Tzu for success.

It may be difficult to surprise an enemy if they can see what you’re going to do from far away, so use an indirect attack alongside your direct one for its maximum effect – just like Sun Tzu teaches us!

5 Key Qualities And Red Flags For Leadership Success According To Sun Tzu

Leadership Success

Sun Tzu’s classic, The Art of War is as relevant today in the world of business as it was in ancient civilization.

In it, he highlights five key traits which leaders should possess if they want to succeed, and steps to take in order to avoid dangerous qualities that could cause their downfall.

The first quality is wisdom, which enables leaders to recognize when circumstances are shifting and make advantageous decisions accordingly.

The second is boldness – the courage to seize opportunities when they arise and make the most of them.

Thirdly, it’s important for leaders to be humane and understand the sacrifices made by their teams.

Then comes sincerity, so that people know that there will be rewards for hard work rather than punishment.

Finally, good leaders show strictness in maintaining discipline among their staff; being too lenient creates a lax attitude towards following procedure.

These are just some of the qualities necessary for success – Sun Tzu also identifies several characteristics that mark someone out as an unsuitable choice for leadership roles.

Recklessness leads to bad decision-making; cowardice means passing up potential for growth; and compassion can mean sometimes valuing comfort over future success or goals.

Leaders must strive to combine these key qualities if they want their businesses or troops to succeed!

Wrap Up

The ultimate conclusion to Sun Tzu and the Art of Business is simple: Lead your business in a way that isn’t reckless.

Instead, employ thoughtful strategies such as exploiting weak spots in your competition’s armor, being faster and bolder than your rivals, and always being more informed about the industry.

In this way, you can carry out Sun Tzu’s teachings effectively.

Those who take advantage of these methods will be successful, while those who don’t run the risk of committing strategic mistakes that could lead to disaster.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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