Art of War by Sun Tzu - the Tao of Leadership

A focus on the spiritual elements of Art of War for self awareness in leadership and strategy.
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Instructed by Peter Urey Business / Strategy
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  • Lectures 8
  • Contents Video: 35 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2014 English

Course Description

Art of War is one of a handful of must read leadership classics.
It is one of the most quoted but least understood books on the subject.

It's also quite a difficult read because 60% of the book is about the Chinese terrain and climate and about moving men and supplies.
This can feel like a waste of your valuable time but the remaining 40% is pure gold.

It's a book about the mental and spiritual preparation for leadership.
It makes it very clear that strategy and the motivation of others begins with self control.

In this course we focus all of your attention onto the gentle art of stilling the mind to feel the force.
In 45 minutes you will discover the essence of Sun Tzu's leadership message without needing hours of study.

The book is NOT a manual on ways to be ruthless and unprincipled.
In fact it's the polar opposite whilst still having the objective of instructing the reader in the ways of undisputed and total success.

What are the requirements?

  • Students for this course will most likely be already enrolled into a company Leadership Development Scheme or be aware that they face challenges leading others in their own business.
  • The main requirement is to accept that leadership is a learnt skill which has evolved over centuries and should not be attempted without professional support.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand the central message of Sun Tzu's The Art of War without having to spend hours reading the book and commentary on it.
  • Appreciate why The Art of War is a classic text in Leadership Development.
  • Focus on the importance of Self Awareness to great leadership.
  • Discover ways to cultivate the techniques needed to take decisions without stress.
  • Recall the most important quotes from the book and relate them to the world of business.

What is the target audience?

  • People being introduced to Leadership Development, HR Managers and Business Owners who need to learn about leading others without anxiety.
  • Readers with an interest in classic literature but who want a synopsis before investing time in reading the full text.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction and Objectives

The Art of War was written in 400 BC in China and much of the text is specific to warfare in that period and geography. In this course we seek to eliminate the material about the Weather, Terrain and Military Logistics and focus on the essence of good leadership and apply it to the business world.

The course will address the subjects of Moral Influence and Command as defined in the book.

Word document attached with outline of the script. Not a full transcription.

Defining Moral Influence and Command

Before examining Moral Influence and Command we alert you to the differences between the western archetype of leadership and the method proposed by Sun Tzu which, despite the title of the book, places emphasis on Inner Calm as the basis of power.

Section 2: The Tao or The Way of Harmony

Sun Tzu provides us with specific definitions of Moral Influence and Command. We explore them in this lesson and demonstrate their connection to the Oriental concept of the Tao or the Way of Spiritual Discipline.

The concept of the Tao is not an easy one for anybody to grasp easily but it contrasts sharply with the western pre-occupation with leaders building their presence and imposing the strength of their personal style onto the culture of an organisation. In Sun Tzu's world, leaders must withdraw into quiet reflection before taking decisions.


In this lesson we consider 9 ways in which a westerner could practise basic spiritual disciplines to refine their self awareness and appreciate the ways in which we are all intimately connected.

The objective is to indicate that the suggested techniques are ways to develop the mental style of a leaders seeking the Tao as a guide to sound leadership.

Section 3: Longevity, mystique and moral dilemma

In this lesson we recount a story about the life of Sun Tzu and his appeal to the Warlords of the Warring States Period. We offer a warning that it is easy to misconstrue the story and the book as a treatise on adopting very brutal management techniques if the results can be delivered.

The book is not about the use of direct and unremitting force to achieve ends but about the subtle appreciation of how to generate power responsibly and without unnecessary suffering to others.


In this lesson we expand on the dangers of conflating warfare with business. We are encouraging you to look beyond the verses on destroying enemies, and by association business competitors, and to concentrate on the deeper philosophy of leadership as the process of self examination and personal growth.

Section 4: 10 Quotes and their meaning

Here we consider 10 of the most popular quotes from The Art of War. They are most likely to be the verses which you will come across in Leadership Development and which you may be required to comment upon.

We are keen to distinguish between the two possible readings of the book which are the invocation to ruthlessness versus the call to spiritual control.

We close with the reminder that in the final analysis Sun Tzu is calling on leaders to embrace The Tao.

Good luck on your Journey along The Way.

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Instructor Biography

Peter Urey, Peak Performance Coaching

Using a coaching technique known as Symbolic Modelling, we base our courses on a set of questions known as Clean Questions, to help you to discover the patterns of thought which govern your behaviour.

When you can fully appreciate what “makes you tick” through the process of achieving and maintaining your peak performance state it becomes easier to spot and deal with the triggers which can knock you off course and recover more effectively.

You can begin the coaching process by answering these questions:

When you are in a peak performance state that’s like what?

When you are in peak performance what do other people see and hear?

When you are below peak performace that’s like what?

When you are below peak performance what do people see and hear?

When you embark on the path back to peak performance that’s like what?

When you take the path of recovery what will other people see and hear?

What help do you need to begin and complete that journey?

Message us with your answers.

In recent years, Professors George Lakoff and Stephen Pinker of Berkeley and Yale have been revealing through the study of linguistics and brain scanning how the mind works. They recognise that at the core we can only make ourselves understood in the world through our use of metaphor - describing one thing in terms of another. David Grove, a pioneer in this field said:

"Metaphor is our primary processing language"

Our training courses reference their work on metaphor. Understanding these first principles will revolutionise the way you perform at peak. People who follow the process we teach believe the following to be be true:

1. People already possess all the wisdom they will ever need.
2. That wisdom is accessible through our use of metaphor.
3. With the techniques we teach we can use metaphor to create the conditions for change.
4. New insights emerge naturally as we explore the metaphors we use.
5. Change and learning is a natural by-product of the process.
6. The impact cannot be known until afterwards

To help you to get the most value from these courses it would be helpful if you could answer this question and message me with your answer.

When you are learning at your best, that is like what?

Message up with your answer.

By way of biography at time of writing in 2016, I am 56 years old, have three adult children and have been married to the same person for 29 years. I was born in Manchester, England but now live in London near Kew Gardens.

After leaving Oxford University in 1982 with a degree in Law, I went on to be trained and work in Sales, Marketing and Management in the IT sector. Employers and clients included Hewlett Packard, Symantec, Epson and Canon.

My personal pracitice of karate and tai chi brought me into contact with instructors with a deep understanding of how the human mind works under pressure. It was a martial art instructor who taught me the mantra - Quality of LIfe is Quality of Communication

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