About Game of Business: Sun Tzu Art of War Business Strategy


Why was Game of Business created?

Game of Business was created to—

  • learn to use the principles and strategies of Sun Tzu Art of War to increase the probability of a business' success;
  • make business education accessible to everyone;
  • help if you are looking for business strategies from Sun Tzu Art of War, so you no longer have to interpret Sun Tzu Art of War's ancient principles yourself;
  • demonstrate the profitable ways of conducting business;
  • guide business decisions; and
  • improve company leadership.

Game of Business presents principles and strategies that were discovered by potentially the most experienced, known strategist, Sun Tzu. Consequently, it will acquaint you with the dangers of business as you are guided through the most fun and useful way to maximize the likelihood of your company’s success.

Why are Game of Business' principles worth using?

Game of Business' principles are worth using because they are derived from innumerable years of strategically progressing towards a balance of time, freedom, and energy.

Sun Tzu had an exceptionally well-balanced life, because he was able to get the goods and services that he needed. At a time when violence was the primary way of getting needed goods and services, he became a master of military strategy. He then conveyed his successful strategies in Art of War, so his descendants could use its framework to master basic strategy for military.

Technological progress passed a threshold at which the non-violent exchange of goods and services, enabled through business, yields a greater payoff than the violent alternative. Accordingly, Game of Business transforms the framework of Sun Tzu Art of War, so it can be used to master basic strategy for business. So, if your ultimate goal is to balance your time, freedom, and energy, applying the principles in Game of Business will help you maximize your success.

How was Game of Business created?

Overview of How Sun Tzu Art of War is Transformed to Game of Business (Figures [1, 12])

  1. Compare Sun Tzu Art of War translations.
  2. Organize the principles of Sun Tzu Art of War systematically.
  3. Replace references to the military domain with references to their counterparts in the business domain.

Sample Principle Transformations

Transforming Principle 1-2.1
Figure 1: Transforming Principle 1-2.1
Transforming Principle 1-2.2
Figure 2: Transforming Principle 1-2.2
Transforming Principle 1-2.4
Figure 3: Transforming Principle 1-2.4
Transforming Principle 1-3
Figure 4: Transforming Principle 1-3
Transforming Principle 1-10
Figure 5: Transforming Principle 1-10
Transforming Principle 3-3
Figure 6: Transforming Principle 3-3
Transforming Principle 5-14-16
Figure 7: Transforming Principles 5-[14, 16]
Transforming Principle 7-17
Figure 8: Transforming Principle 7-17
Transforming Principle 9-4
Figure 9: Transforming Principle 9-4
Transforming Principle 9-18
Figure 10: Transforming Principle 9-18
Transforming Principle 10-1.2
Figure 11: Transforming Principle 10-1.2
Transforming Principle 13-18
Figure 12: Transforming Principle 13-18

The philosophy (i.e. world model) of Sun Tzu Art of War has two main parts:

  • Knowledge base specific to the military domain;
  • General, fixed reasoning system that can be applied to decisions in all domains.

Game of Business is created as if Art of War’s author is speaking directly with you. In this way, it aims to optimize the user’s ability to learn, apply, and extend its philosophy.

Integral Translations of Sun Tzu Art of War

Game of Business logically and intuitively transforms the principles of Sun Tzu Art of War, based on the ten (10) commentated translations shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Translators of the Art of War (in order of publication year)
Translator Publication Year Unique Features
Lionel Giles 1910 British sinologist; fluent English prose style
Samuel B. Griffith 1963 Military general and strategist
Thomas Cleary 1987 Undercurrent of humanism; commentary by interpreters from 100 to 1100 CE
R. L. Wing 1988 Designed to reduce conflict in life; thought-experiments in strategy
Roger T. Ames 1993 Interpreter of Chinese philosophy and culture; first translation incorporating texts unearthed in 1972
C. C. Low and Associates 1995 Pictorial series of case studies
Ralph D. Sawyer 1996 Western scholar of ancient Chinese war, and businessman; history and material of military
John Minford 2002 Concise as the original; separates the English translation of each Chinese character
Chow Hou Wee 2003 Notes explain Chinese words, and clarify concepts; cross-referencing of key points in various chapters; summarizing commentary at end of each chapter
Victor Mair 2007 Professor of Chinese language and literature; claims Sun Zi’s Art of War was a collaboration from 275 BCE to 350 CE

Thank you to the translators of Sun Tzu Art of War for making Game of Business possible.

How can I use Game of Business' principles in everyday life?

Game of Business' principles are divided into skill sets that can be used to guide your company's business decisions, and practiced to improve its leadership. Each chapter covers one idea about business, so you can learn one skill at a time. The skills learned are most effective when applied together fluidly.

Making a decision without and with Game of Business

Without

  1. Determine propositions.
  2. Declare the propositions as facts or assumptions.
  3. Make tenuous decision based on the assumptions made.

With

  1. Determine propositions.
  2. Assign degree-of-belief numbers to the propositions, using Game of Business.
  3. Convert degrees of belief into definite decisions, based on the cost of various decisions and the rewards or penalties associated with their outcomes, according to Game of Business. (Use the data tables in the Appendix of the Game of Business book to compare strategies.)

A proposition is like a question in the form of a statement, so its validity is undecided. It can be assumed true or false to move forward in a decision, or it can be kept as a proposition and its validity can be assigned a degree of belief. While a proposition’s validity remains undecided, one’s degree of belief of its validity enables one to move forward in a decision.

Game of Business gives measurable goals, and methods to evaluate results, so you can learn and improve your business strategy. For example, when a company fails and its leader dismissed, the cause will surely be found among the Five Dangerous Faults that may affect leaders: Recklessness, cowardice, a hasty temper, a delicacy of honor, and over-solicitude for associates (see chapter 8, principles ten through twelve [8-10, 8-12]).

Sun Tzu Art of War was derived through intuitive experimentation, with a practical attitude, because lives are directly at stake in war. Facts were learned by combining philosophical, deep thinking with a keen eye and critical analysis of observations. Game of Business’ power comes from its feedback loop of testing business strategy in real-time, and a desire to benefit humankind.

Game of Business presents numerous strategies.

By using the Game of Business online— See for Yourself— you can input values and execute scenarios experimentally, to see what works and what does not, before implementing it.

What is Game of Business?

Game of Business is for leadership and team training.

Game of Business is the simplest tool for leadership training to reduce business risk by getting automatic feedback on your business strategies.

Game of business is faster than a tutor and more exciting than a game.

Game of Business is for beginner to advanced businesspeople, because it covers fundamental aspects of business strategy.

Game of Business derives its name from Sun Tzu Art of War.

Game of Business is a learning mechanism.

When was Game of Business originally created? 2018

Who originally created Game of Business? Game of Business, LLC

Subject of Game of Business

You will learn how to lead a company to success, by applying the transformed principles and strategies of Sun Tzu Art of War to business.

Limits of Game of Business

Sun Tzu Art of War derives conclusions by applying logical deduction to a combination of facts and assumptions:

  1. The principles that could not be logically deduced as fact are qualified by a set of assumptions;
  2. Conclusions are then derived, based on assumptions; and
  3. Decisions justified, based on conclusions.

Sun Tzu Art of War manages its assumptions by dynamically asserting and retracting them, as new information is learned. However, it does not specify the conditions nor situations that cause assumptions to be asserted and retracted. So, if two assumptions contradict each other, the contradiction cannot be resolved.

Consider Game of Business' principle 9-4, which states, "If you are careful of your people, and occupy stable positions, the company will be free from disorder of every kind; this will result in success."

Principle 9-4 can be divided and simplified into two conditional statements:

  1. If a company is careful and stable, it will be organized.
  2. If a company is organized, it will succeed.

Based on principle 9-4, if you assume that your company is organized, you can logically deduce the belief that your company will succeed. If it turns out that your company is careless and unstable, the organized assumption will be retracted, leading you to also retract the belief that your company will succeed.

Consider the following dilemma: If we say "companies succeed," then deductive logic would be able to infer the expected conclusion when it discovers a company; however, it would fall into an inconsistency if it encounters a company that fails. In contrast, if we say, "If a company is organized, it will succeed," deductive logic will not be able to reach the expected conclusion by discovering the company, as it would not know whether the company is organized or not.

When determining an ideal strategy, instead of using a method to resolve conflicting assumptions, Game of Business recommends assigning degrees of belief to relevant propositions. Degrees of belief are probabilities that can be revised up or down as new information is learned, to dynamically update the ideal strategy. In this way, degrees of belief alleviate the need for assumptions, or help decide which assumptions to make.

For example, if you assume that a company is organized unless observed otherwise, you will be led to the tenuous belief that the company will succeed. Instead of making this assumption, you can assign a degree of belief to the company’s organization, and then use this to derive a corresponding degree of belief in the company’s success. You may initially believe that a company is organized with 99% certainty, and later lower your certainty to 50% after observing that the company took a careless and unstable action.

Game of Business provides guidance to help you act as a strategist, rather than a gambler. However, to resolve instances of circular reasoning, you must assign degrees of belief to the propositions that would otherwise have been made into assumptions.

Scope of Game of Business

View

Viewing business as the logical way to exchange goods and services, Game of Business transforms the principles of Sun Tzu Art of War to business, to create mutually beneficial, team strategies for business.

After witnessing the devastating violence and starvation resulting from war, Art of War's author, Sun Tzu, appears to have been committed to achieving a mutually beneficial, thriving community. For example, principle 9-18 states, "If instructions are consistently followed, it indicates the instructions are mutually beneficial for leaders and associates."

When faced with a situation in which you must choose one of several alternatives, Game of Business recommends learning all the possible alternatives and consequences, and ranking the set of possible consequences, from most to least desired.

Consider if you have to decide whether to outmaneuver or ally with an opponent. What will happen if you ally with them? Maybe over time your main product will become obsolete, and your company will no longer be sustainable. Then again, maybe profit will continue to increase. What happens if you outmaneuver them, to reach your goal before them? It may lead to great success, or the maneuvers will fail, causing harmful expense. Both actions have uncertainty over the resulting outcomes, so the best action must be carefully considered.

Your company will either succeed or fail, depending on your decision. However, there is uncertainty about which outcome will prevail, and the uncertainty is tied to the choice you make. As indicated by principle 9-18, success is more likely if you choose to ally with the opponent, while less likely if you choose to outmaneuver them. However, if you know that the opponent is malicious and untrustworthy, your best response may be to outmaneuver them. Similarly, if a malicious action is taken against you, your best response may be to remove the malevolent source.

Outlook

Game of Business' principles are meant to be tested and refined.

Application

Apply Game of Business to your business strategy, because it has a generalizable, fixed reasoning system that focuses on simplifying concepts to make practical systems.

Operation

Use Game of Business for your company’s strategic decisions, because it will guide you to the dominant factors based on your conditions and situation.

Use Game of Business to strategize your way to success.

Effectiveness

Game of Business is effective at focusing your energy on the main tasks to achieve your business goal. Its comprehensive reasoning sharpens business strategy by increasing business awareness; this simplifies the decision process, while improving decision quality.

Opportunity for Operation

When an opportunity arises to make a strategic business decision, find the relevant chapters in Game of Business: Planning, conducting business, progressing strategically, making tactical arrangements, allocating energy, using weaknesses and strengths, maneuvering, varying tactics, preparing your company, evaluating activities, evaluating situations, progressing fervently, and using information.

Aim

Game of Business has three (3) main aims:

  • Make business a collaborative process that grows in accessibility, and improves your living standard.
  • Make business success repeatable by deconstructing the process into repeatable steps.
  • Provide constructive feedback, by highlighting your company’s weaknesses and strengths, and recommending solutions.

Game of Business is for experimenting with business strategy. Accordingly, it aims to help current and hopeful businesspeople improve understanding of business by applying the scientific method to decision problems and learning from the results.

Game of Business Connection to Art of War

Game of Business is derived from Sun Tzu Art of War, which was most likely created as a compilation of the teachings of Sun Tzu (AKA Sun Wu), a military advisor who lived ~450 years before the current era. Sun Tzu Art of War was then likely studied, tested, and edited by military theorists, like Sun Bin. Its principles remain respected, partly because they aim to achieve a mutually beneficial, thriving community.

Business will always have the risk of becoming malevolent, and military will always exist for defense, so the goal of Game of Business is to minimize belligerence in favor of mutually beneficial business negotiations. To mitigate the risk of business becoming combative, the system in which businesses operate should seek the optimal payoffs for all involved. So, companies should focus on customers and associates, instead of enemies or competitors.

Main Question Game of Business Explores

If your company is threatened by an opponent, what is your company's best response?

Questions About Game of Business for Sun Tzu Art of War Translators

As you are using Game of Business, what changes do you think should be made to its transformation of your translation of Sun Tzu Art of War, and how would you change its transformation of your translation?

Where should feedback be sent? feedback@gameofbusiness.net

How is the Art of War related to Game of Business?

Game of Business transforms the principles and strategies in Sun Tzu Art of War from the military domain to the business domain.

When was the Art of War written?

The Art of War was written around five hundred years before the Current Era (~500 BCE).

What is the Art of War about?

The Art of War is about military strategy.

How can I help Game of Business?

We hope to make Game of Business a practical, learning tool.

If you find an error, or a broken link, please send an email to feedback@gameofbusiness.net with the URL of the flawed page, and a description of your suggestion.

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Sun Tzu and the Art of Business: Six Strategic Principles for Managers

More than two millennia ago the famous Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote the classic work on military strategy, the Art of War. Now, in a new edition of Sun Tzu and the Art of Business, Mark McNeilly shows how Sun Tzu's strategic principles can be applied to twenty-first century business. Here are two books in one: McNeilly's synthesis of Sun Tzu's ideas into six strategic principles for the business executive, plus the text of Samuel B. Griffith's popular translation of The Art of War. McNeilly explains how to gain market share without inciting competitive retaliation, how to attack competitors' weak points, and how to maximize market information for competitive advantage. He demonstrates the value of speed and preparation in throwing the competition off-balance, employing strategy to beat the competition, and the need for character in leaders. Lastly, McNeilly presents a practical method to put Sun Tzu's principles into practice. By using modern examples throughout the book from Google, Zappos, Amazon, Dyson, Aflac, Singapore Airlines, Best Buy, the NFL, Tata Motors, Starbucks, and many others, he illustrates how, by following the wisdom of history's most respected strategist, executives can avoid the pitfalls of management fads and achieve lasting competitive advantage.

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The Art of War for Small Business

Sun Tzu's ancient the Art of War has inspired military, political, and business leaders across the world with its brilliant strategies for prevailing against opponents. At the core of this classic treatise is the message that sledgehammer approaches can backfire, and size alone does not guarantee wins. Strategy, positioning, planning, leadership—all play equally significant roles, making Sun Tzu's teachings perfect for small business owners and entrepreneurs entrenched in fierce competition for customers, market share, talent . . . for their very survival. The Art of War for Small Business is the first book to apply Sun Tzu's wisdom to the small business arena. Featuring inspiring examples of entrepreneurial success, the book's 12 timeless lessons reveal how to:

  • Choose the right ground for your battles,
  • Prepare without falling prey to paralysis,
  • Leverage strengths while overcoming limitations,
  • Strike competitors' weakest points and seize every opportunity,
  • Focus priorities and resources on conquering key challenges,
  • Go where the enemy is not, and
  • Build and leverage strategic alliances.
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