Friday, November 21, 2014

A Quick Book Review on Sawyer's Zhuge Liang Book ( Strategy, Achievements and Writings)

One of our associates was recently surfing Amazon and noticed the criticism of Sawyer's book on Zhuge Liang.  We found the negative comments to be interesting but wrongly stated.

The Compass View 
Zhuge Liang was a ancient Chinese strategist whose current base of fans have ignored his flaws and his frailty for the usual reasons of supporting the "the friendly and intelligent underdog/nice guy."

Fact: Zhuge Liang did almost everything that enabled the Shu State to survive. Unfortunately, that effort was not able to conquer the Wei state.

One man is never enough to change the course of history. Simultaneously, the majority of the masses are focused on the end-results regardless of the situation.

One Possible Reason
Tactically, he was always looking for that "unique" grand tactical factor (the force multiplier) instead of winning by "qi" (as in qi/zhieng) and courage.

Zhuge Liang almost always repeated the same "grand tactical approach" and "tactical modes" without ever changing the means.  Being strategically predictable created the act of "immediate gamification" by his enemies. 

Another Possible Reason 
Concurrently, there was always a chance that the Shu's court was penetrated by political collaborators, agents and spies from the other states whose goal was to subvert from within.  

None of these incidents were never recorded. This possibility could have also prevented Zhuge Liang from ever succeeding.

The Possible Grand Reason 
We believed that the minimization of tangible resources, the constant flow of disorganization, and the lack of having a good operational team were some of the key reasons for causing him to meet his  "Peter Principle."  The stress of those many challenges and a few major strategic losses transformed Zhuge Liang  into a shell of himself.  He later became an extreme cautious person.

In some historical instances, those mentioned points have usually caused the downfalls of his campaigns.  

Retrospectively, we would never know what were some of the undocumented causes behind the collapse of the Shu state.

Psychologically, many of us admired and adored the ever-persistent underdog. However, history only awards the victors and the founder of the Jin dynasty became the winner.  

We concluded that Dr. Sawyer's book to be a well-founded counterpoint to the historical legend of Zhuge Liang. 

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