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Two Thoughts After Reading ‘Demystifying The Art of War’

Two Thoughts After Reading ‘Demystifying The Art of War’

Two Thoughts After Reading ‘Demystifying The Art of War

Carlos Fuentes is to be commended for his outstanding article on Sun Tzu and The Art of War in the January/February 2019 edition. Two supplemental thoughts:

As pointed out in the article, Sun Tzu was not a grizzled army veteran reflecting back on lessons from his career in soldiering. He derived First Principles, what mathematicians would call axioms, from reflection and reasoning. The only Western analog I am aware of is Euclid’s “Elements” (of geometry), where Euclid derives properties of a sphere (Earth) without needing to circumnavigate said sphere himself.

There’s a funny episode of The Simpsons where Montgomery Burns reflects, “Oh, General Tsao, you’re a bloodthirsty killer, but you make a great chicken.” I later read that General Tsao was an army chef, not a general—so of course his chicken is great.

Paul Conlin, MAAA, FSA, Lake Zurich, Ill.

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