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The 33 Strategies of War

The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene is Greene’s followup to The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction. The 33 Strategies of War is Greene’s attempt to filter wars and history into specific types of strategies. As with his other books, the book is ultimately about the interaction between people and how everything in the world, from power, war, politics is ultimately about how we as humans interact with each other.

I really like this book. Being interested in history the examples and the analysis is very captivating and Greene chooses his subjects very carefully. The strategies are sound as well as I’ve seen many of the ideas mentioned in many other books. One of the great things of this book is that it doesn’t limit itself to the field of war. It also deals heavily with politics and daily life which doesn’t seem like they have a lot in common with war. But strategy is on another abstract level and applies for every situation in life.

One of the things that disappointed me a little about this book is the lack of self-reflection. Greene spends most of the time in the book building a convincing case for the strategies. After each section there’s a reversal section which often isn’t used at all (saying that this strategy cannot be reversed) or simply stating that sometimes the strategy can’t be used without specifying why that is. While I cannot specifically find a counterexample, I am sure there must be some. Another point is the very bad formatting used in the books. There’s often small snippets from other books that are an example of the strategy but it’s written in the margin where it makes it hard to read because of the numerous line breaks.

Overall though it’s a good read and I can highly recommend this along with Greene’s other book, The 48 Laws of Power.

5 out of 5 stars.