33 Strategies of War

The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me over a month to finish this book, and I don’t necessarily consider myself to be the slowest reader either.

This book has been one of the most life changing books I have ever read. Not because I have now mastered the 33 strategies within, but because I now see the world from a more layered approach. Not everything is as shallow and 2 dimensional as we may assume.

In today’s civilised world, direct acts of aggression are strongly frowned upon, as the book mentions, perpetrators are regularly socially shunned and punished. What recourse is left? Indirect aggression and action. It is in this sense that we must learn the art of strategy since it is in use by everyone, knowingly or unknowingly.

I have learnt that strategy isn’t just limited to sports, games or chess, but to every single scenario in your life. I have learnt that you must always be aware of the ultimate goal in every dealing and to properly understand the limitations we face when we are subject to our emotions instead of having control over them.

This really is one of those books that deserves to be properly read and studied. I took many notes and I am sure they will provide plenty of material for contemplation in the future.

In regards to negative points, I only have a few. After a few chapters, it shows that the Author prefers to adapt/extract his 33 strategies from mostly a handful of historical figures or events. Off the top of my head, I can name a few:

  • Napoleon
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Lyndon B Johnson

These wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but the scope of the book starts to feel a bit limited when you see these amazing strategies mostly derived from these people. Surely their lives can’t have been that magnificent, nor were they such masters of strategy? At times it feels as though we are limited by the Author’s own knowledge. I must be fair and mention that there are many, many other examples from history that are not from the above, but when the same people are mentioned in every other chapter, it can break the immersion slightly.

All in all, I reiterate that this has been a life changing read for me. Even if one were to absorb 5% of the knowledge and ideas in this book it would suffice as self-improvement.

Highly recommend, the few flaws are vastly outnumbered by the wealth and depth of wisdom contained within. I agree with another reviewer in that after reading this, you will feel greatly empowered as to your own ability to react to events that happen in your life.

Leave a Reply