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  • Douglas Henderson
    From the China books website LEADERSHIP: A DOSE OF SUN ZI Wriiten by Sayling Wen Illustrated by Tsai Chih Chung Translated by Ho Lai Lin What are the signal
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16, 2001
      From the China books website


      Wriiten by Sayling Wen Illustrated by Tsai Chih Chung
      Translated by Ho Lai Lin

      What are the signal leadership qualities in a general who can lead his
      men wholeheartedly with him to battle and even death? Musing on this
      question, the author applies the wisdom of a 2,000-year-old Chinese
      military classic to modern management leadership. He shows how
      leadership excellence, whether in war or business, lies in having
      the right balance of "heart" and "head" qualities - which he
      elaborates upon and substantiates with personal anecdotes and
      historical examples. Steeped in the Chinese classics not as dead
      letter but as living spirit, and heading an enterprise over 10,000
      strong. The author is no armchair theoretician. He shares his
      insightful analysis in simple language without foregoing logical
      rigour. This brilliant work serves as a relaxing read promising many
      illuminating insights. And it speaks not only to the busy corporate
      executive, but also to Everyman, for the new society of the dawning
      millennium seeks a leader in each of us, even if only of our own self.
      # pages: 99
      PAPER ISBN 981-229-163-6 Order code: 9812291636 Price (USD):


      Sayling Wen, a Taiwan entrepeneur and author has come out with
      "Leadership: A dose of Sun Zi" available from China Books and
      periodicals and Illustrated by Tsai Chih Chung (ISBN 981-229-163-6)

      It's an interesting book, well written, but not quite as advertized.
      It contains almost as much Laozi and Zhuangzi (as well as some
      Confucius) as Sun Zi.

      On the minus side, aside from not really being a thorough explication
      of Sunzi, there is one passage where he seriously misinterpret Sunzi;
      Sunzi speaks of spies in two dynasties that fell as instrumental in
      their falling, Wen interprets their presence in the succeeding dynasty
      as being a seeking for continuity, completely at variance with Sunzi
      it seems to me.

      The Zhuangzi story of the man who wanted to sell hats to the people of
      Yueh who do not wear hat is a bit perplexing. He portrays it both as
      being foolish and as being an opportunity (they don't wear hats, so
      you are wasting your time; they don't wear hats, so you are entering
      virgin territory). He describes it as being entirely up to the
      mindset of the individual without determining whether there are
      objective details that would tell whether it was advantageous or not.
      Oddly this section appears in the commentary on evaluating terrain.
      Sunzi, it seems to me, does not say that death ground becomes life
      ground depending on your attitude (although, of course, by recognizing
      it, placing your opponent on death ground makes it death ground for
      him, but life ground in contrast for you.).

      On the plus side, Wen has the advantage of having been in leadership
      positions and seeing what of Sunzi works and does not work from
      personal experience, unlike, for instance, David Li's work which
      although he was a business professor, does not seem to have had the
      same opportunity for putting Sunzi into practice (oddly, despite his
      academic background, Li's work does not contain very much in the way
      of examples from business, whereas Wen's work gives several personal
      examples of applying what he is talking about.)

      Overall though an interesting work on leadership, although I am not
      certain that I would market it as from the point of view of Sunzi.
      Rather, it is more leadership lessons from WenZhuangLaoKungSun Zi

      However, like Griffith's work, it at least have the assurance that
      when the author talks about examples, he has at least some practical
      experience in applying them. However, those examples are not clearly
      integrated with the Sunzi text: you do not have the feeling that the
      author had Sunzi explicitly in mind when he resolved this situations.
      It is very easy to sit back after the fact and apply whatever
      analytical schema and say your experience is an example of this or
      that theory.

      A good popular management technique book but not really a Sunzi
      business primer.

      Has anyone come across a book that delivers on the promise of applying
      Sunzi to business rather than simply pasting Sunzi tags onto generic
      Management 101 experiences?
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