The Thirty-Six Stratagems

The Thirty-Six Stratagems by Peter Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I came across this explanation of the 36 Stratagems when the original text came to my attention.

I understand the pattern now that when it comes to historical treatises such as the original text, it will be more common to find an interpretation and exegesis of the work rather than the raw work itself. I can understand this to some extent as perhaps the original text did not have enough to comprise a modern day book, or perhaps the meaning of the original translated word for word into English would not convey the meaning the Author intended so long ago.

As such, my rating for the book is not a rating for the 36 Stratagems themselves, but for this interpretation and explanation of them.

The Stratagems themselves are sound and some a little more obvious than others, but I am a strong believer in that even if only 5% of a book is beneficial, that 5% can benefit and change your life.

Some of the examples given for the Stratagems in the book seem very irrelevant and there were one or two points where I questioned how they related to the strategy at all. I feel like the Author just followed a strict rule of giving 1/2 Business examples, a historical Chinese example and maybe another one here and there for each strategy. As such it is easy to miss the message or to feel disconnected from the book of you are not familiar with American history/businesses or Chinese history.

Despite that however, the book was beneficial in that it was succinct, to the point and just enough explanation was given to drive the point home. Brevity is a strong point of this book. If you want to familiarise yourself with these Stratagems, this isn’t a bad place to start but there is room for improvement.

Similar books would be the much heavier 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene.

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