Excerpts from The Art of War by Sun Tzu

5 Elements of a Competitive Position and 4 Skills of an Effective Competitor


Sun Tzu, the Author of THE ART OF WAR

The Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War'  is one of the world's best books on strategy and competition. It was written in app. 500 B.C. and established itself as the leading treatise on confronting and defeating opponents through superior strategy.

For over twenty-five hundred years, it helped its readers find competitive advantage using the secrets of Sun Tzu. Its competitive methods work extremely well. 'The Art of War', the first of the military classic, offers a distinct philosophy on how to discover the path to success. This philosophy works in any competitive environment where people find themselves contesting with one another for a specific goal.


Five Elements for Comparing Competitive Position

  1. Philosophy: A competitor with a strong philosophy is a strong competitor. A clear philosophy makes decision-making easier. Understanding your competitor's philosophy allows you to predict them.

  2. Heaven: Trends over time that are beyond your control. You must foresee these changes to adjust to them.

  3. Ground: It is both where you fight and what you fight for. The Ground is the basis of all competition because it is what people are fighting about. Competitors are distinguished by the position they hold on the ground. You can and must chose the ground over which you battle. Your choice of ground is a key aspect of your success.

  4. Leader: The success of the competitive unit depends on five qualities in its leader: bravery, intelligence, strictness, trust in and care about people.

Entrepreneurial Leader: 4 Specific Attributes


  1. Methods: Methods have five qualities the make them effective: systems, organization, learning, support, and standards.

The Four Skills of an Effective Competitor

The five elements that define a competitive position also create the four skills that define the competitor's interaction with the competitive environment:

  1. Knowing: the ability to get hard information.

  2. Vision: the ability to foresee the future.

  3. Action: the ability to move or stay where we are.

  4. Positioning: the ability to use the Ground to find success.

These skills define your external competence in the competitive world.



"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu

5 Things You Must Know To Win

Strengths and Weaknesses


Planning an Attack

Competitive Strategies: 2 Types

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Competitive Strategy: 5 Strategic Questions

Effective Competing

Creating Competitive Disruption: 7 Strategies

Barriers To Entry

Competitive War Games

Strategic Management

10 Essential Principles of Strategy

The Strategist's 15 Rules

Business Strategies

Structuring a Strategic Alliance: 10 Questions

3 Strategies of Market Leaders

Blue Ocean Strategy: 6 Principles and 6 Risks

Fast Company

Corporate Leader

Competing Skills

Cultural Intelligence

Cross-Cultural Differences: Chinese vs Americans



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