The Book of Stratagems: 2tactics for Triumph and Survival

Harro Von Senger, Author, Myron B. Gubitz, Editor, Harro Von Senger, Author Viking Books $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-670-83962-9
Collated by a Swiss sinologist, this is a highly compressed series of schemes and tricks known in China as the 36 Stratagems. Most obviously applicable in warfare, they are allegedly a useful means of gaining an advantage over enemies, opponents and rivals, whether in business, law, sports or other fields. Some of the stratagems are self-explanatory--Stratagem No. 10: Hide Your Dagger Behind a Smile --but most require explication--No. 16: To Catch Something, First Let It Go . Accompanying each of the 18 stratagems here (another 18 will be discussed in a second volume) are examples from history, legend and folktale, ranging from the Old Testament story of Joshua at Jericho (which illustrates a stratagem called Clamor in the East, Attack in the West ) to the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy (illustrating Openly Repair the Walkway, Secretly March to Chencang ). As von Senger remarks, knowledge of the stratagems ``can provide a key to much of Chinese thinking.'' Beyond that, they are highly entertaining, thought-provoking, possibly even effective. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-14-016954-6
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