Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The 36 Stratagems

Based on a 500 year old Chinese treatise, there are some very colorful ideas in here for dealing with the competition, including:

Deceiving the emperor [by inviting him to a house by the sea that is really a disguised ship] and [thus cause him to] cross the sea
Harro von Senger compiled a commentary on the 36 stratagems after coming upon them by chance while studying in Taiwan.

It was pure coincidence that led Harro von Senger to the "36 stratagems." One day, a professor from the Center for Chinese Language and Culture Studies of National Taiwan Normal University, suddenly said to him that, of the 36 stratagems, running away was the best. When von Senger asked him what were the other 35 stratagems, the professor said he didn't know. At that time, von Senger was living in a students' dorm of Taiwan University and he questioned his Chinese roommates on the subject. Two or three days later, a Chinese student gave him a copy of all the names of the 36 stratagems. Several weeks later, when von Senger was at a book market and a Chinese student who was with him picked up one book and said: "This is a book on the 36 stratagems; are you interested?" Thus von Senger purchased his first book on this subject.

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