Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fishing in San Francisco (A Modern Day Version of Jiang Tai Gong)

source: sfgate . com

Mr. George Revel of Lost Coast Outfitters is a smart businessman who loves fishing. He assessed his terrain in terms of the social-economic factors by understanding the social economic demographics. 

Conclusively, he decided to pursue the big fish. 

"He is casting for the big fish.  ... In the urban environment, you see fly fishermen who are doctors, lawyers or in finance,” he said.

Those are his key demographic. They drop by the shop, handle the cool gear and maybe even head up to the roof to try some casts out toward the San Francisco skyline.

And often, once they do all that, Revel has them where he wants them.

They’re hooked. ..."

Click here to read the rest of this interesting article (from on a modern day Jiang Tai Gong .

A Few Notes on Jiang Tai Gong 
The Six Secret Teachings is a favorite book for the serious strategists who wanted to understand the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) of an extreme competitive terrain for over two thousand years. Those who are involved in the modern consulting/ strategy game, could learn something from this classical book. 

The Origin
In the Zhou dynasty of the 11th century BC, an elderly, eccentric advisor known as Jiang Tai Gong wrote a book that outlined a set of principles relating to government and warfare through the reported conversations with Emperor Wen and his successor, Emperor Wu.

Throughout Chinese history, there were many "secret teachings" and "confidential notebooks and essays" in many areas. Labeling these certain items under the category as a secret makes them more desirable as they seem scarce and harder to access. To access these so-called secrets typically requires investment that leads to greater commitment, as the student acts to sustain consistency with their investment.

(There is a long range benefit from learning from this "exclusive" manual. We could tell you. But it is better if you read it.) 

Chapter One: King Wen's Teacher 
The first chapter introduces King Wen and his meeting with his teacher, Jiang Tai Gong who utilizes the analogy of fishing to offer learning points.

He talked about the importance of being a 'True Men of Worth' and that it is the type of person that any wise ruler should be. By speaking in this manner , the Tai Gong immediately suggested that he could be his close adviser. The king immediately understood the value of Jiang Tai Gong's words (and being advised by his scribe), accepted this relationship.

The Art of Bait and Lure
Chapter One briefly talks about catching "the big fish." Regardless of the requirement of the big bait and a strong line to catch big fish. It is significant to be committed to this process. 

If you are cautious or offer only simple bait, the big fish will detect your lack of commitment and either ignore you or capitalize on your weakness.

This section includes a direct reminder to the ruler to be kind to his people, pointing out how followership is thus created. The lesson that many of today's leaders still need to learn is that there is a base human nature towards the utilization of punishment and reward others when motivation is needed . It requires more skill to utilize kindness that leads people to truly want to do as you ask.  This enables you to seldomly command the people to do your bidding.

  • A true man of worth is usually ambitious. (Using the fisherman analogy) the fishermen of worth pursued the whales and the sharks while the common fisherman have ordinary and common goals and  he catches only guppies and minnows. 
  • True men are drawn together by common interest in significant affairs.
  • To lure a big fish, one needs a big but attractive bait and a strong fishing line. This may require significant commitment from the ambitious leader. Simple, glittering rewards only attract the small fry.
  • A worthy (or sage)  ruler utilizes many approaches that play to the emotions of his counter parts. He shows humanity, virtue and righteousness by sharing, sparing, relieving and eliminating hardship. This is the manner to create followers.
Side Notes 
Other future posts on Jiang Tai Gong will include brief notes on the gist of each relevant chapter of this classic.  

For more detail on this chapter and the full translation of Six Secret Teachings, read Dr. Ralph D. Sawyer's Six Secret Teachings or Seven Military Classics of Ancient China (1993). 

In the age of instant information and immediate gratification, some people do not know what is tangible anymore.  The truth that originated from the classics, has never changed.  One just have to be mindful of the importance of the components within their terrain and beyond.

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