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The "Thirty-six Strategies" are well-known to the Chinese and are frequently applied in business practices. No one can pinpoint the exact period in which the thirty-six strategies were written, nor the exact combinations of strategies that constitute the thirty-six. However, through the years, scholars have expediently adopted the thirty-six strategies as a set of common tactics used by the Chinese.
Though widely known and applied by the Chinese, these "Thirty-six Strategies" are less familiar to others. Even less-known are their strong applicability to business. This book attempts to bridge this gap of understanding between the East and other cultures of the world. It seeks to provide a timely insight into the mind of the Chinese strategist.
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Wee Chow Hou is currently Professor of Business Policy, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Director of the Graduate School of Business, National University of Singapore.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From Strategy 1: "Deceiving the heavens to cross the sea" is a literal translation of the strategy. It means to create a false impression to distract the target and so achieve one's goal without his knowledge. This strategy works on the assumption that people take extra precautions when faced with new or difficult situations, but tend to let their guards down in more familiar situations. Every one expects a secret to be hidden, so if one conducts an important plan openly, it may not be noticed. As the saying goes, "An open situation hides a dark secret" Historical Background; This strategy was mentioned in the thirteenth chapter of Discourses on Tang where a man named Jing De asked, "What is the meaning of 'Deceiving the heavens to cross the sea'?" The historical example most commonly cited as an illustration of this strategy is the story of how the emperor of Tang Dynasty, Tang Tai Zhong, was deceived into crossing the sea by Xue Ren Gui
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