The Art of War (And Business)

I like to read. Considering how I write for a living, this might not seem overly surprising. But whenever I’ve not got my mind on the wonders of internet marketing and the magic of SEO (if only it were as simple as abracadabra or alohomora seems to be), I like to read about history. I’m a bit of a geek. This is probably also not overly surprising.

One of my favorite reads is Sun Tzu’s Art of War. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, you can check it out online at this link; since Sun Tzu departed for the heavens long before the age of copyright law, it’s free for your perusal.

I’ve applied the Art of War to basically every stage of my life as it stands, and one of the most wonderful things about it is that it really is applicable to everything. It was applicable in college (“Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought” I always imagined was an ancient Chinese general telling me to actually put down the rugby ball and study), it was applicable in the Peace Corps (“Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions” was the mantra when schools got closed for no reason, the electricity went out for months, and that one time I got into a car wreck with a cow on the side of a mountain during a blizzard), and it remains applicable now in the business of small business.

For today’s meanderings, I would like to select from Book 8 of the Art of War, entitled “Variation in Tactics.” This book is unusually short compared to the other ones in the series, but many of the lines in it are incredibly powerful, including my particular favorite:

“If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune.”

Essentially: don’t give up.

There are many bloggers that speak about persistence as a cornerstone of small business: Elizabeth Kraus at Business2Community, Troy at Business Copywriter, Ron Passfield at Small Business Odyssey and more. So many more.

No matter what sort of business you’re in, one of the key components to success is not giving up. Every business owner wakes up occasionally and wants to throw in the towel – heck, even getting up to work 9 to 5 can sound appealing, because the job will actually be over at 5 and not at 3 in the morning when you pass out face-first into your twenty-second cup of coffee.

But, you know, hang in there. Sun Tzu said so. We might not be ancient warriors concerned about our chi, but we’re wielding our marketing endeavors and fighting for the bottom line, which has got to be at least as important.

Right? At least, that’s what I like to tell myself, and as a business owner you might like to tell yourself that as well.

No matter what, don’t give up. Persistence is the key to success – ever since the days of ancient Chinese empire. Let’s make a deal: I’ll keep blogging for business, and you keep it up on your end.

Go on. You deserve that twenty-third cup of coffee.

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Laura Hancock is a co-owner of She has also been a long time writer for us. She writes with a passion for accuracy and flow. While her administrative duties have grown, she is a still a big piece of our content writing services team! Currently pursuing a certification in Technical Writing at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle. +Laura Hancock

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    1. You made me smile over this words, “…since Sun Tzu departed for the heavens long before the age of copyright law, it’s free for your perusal.”

      On another note, that is one of the best reads I ever had.
      Cameron was just talking about…oil painting coursesMy Profile

    2. Great article. Thanks!

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