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The 33 Strategies of War Summary

Here’s The 33 Strategies of War summary. Learn how to win in all areas and become the greatest in your field. This is full of timeless lessons you can apply right now.


The 33 Strategies of War author Robert Greene explains the timeless lessons that helped historical figures become great and win wars. He discusses the genius of Hannibal, Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great, and other conquerors.

He explains both the offensive and defensive strategies that might help you succeed in career and business. Learn how to become the conqueror in your chosen battlefield.

About the Author

Robert Greene is an American author and speaker who focuses on power, seduction, and strategy. His works have been bestsellers for years.

Aside from The 33 Strategies of War, he also wrote The 48 Laws of Power, The 50th Law, The Art of Seduction, and Mastery. His books have been read by well-known entrepreneurs, athletes, and celebrities.

Main takeaways: The 33 Strategies of War Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Don’t lose your presence of mind.
  2. Use blitzkrieg.
  3. Know your enemy.

Don’t lose your presence of mind

I think this is the most important. Whether you’re attacking or defending, your presence of mind is your greatest asset.

Why? If you don’t have it, you’ll get carried away by your victories or defeats. Your enemies might see opportunities in those. You’ll be vulnerable. You won’t be able to make intelligent decisions.

It’s easy to get distracted or discouraged when a lot is happening. For example when you’re winning. You get overconfident. You push more than you need to. You’re not aware that the enemy has set a trap just for you.

It also works the same way when you’re losing. You lose heart. You panic. With that response the enemy will take advantage of that. The result is you panic more. You won’t be able to make intelligent decisions with that attitude.

It doesn’t just apply in battlefields. Even in your relationships, business, or career the principle applies also. You need to keep calm. You need to see it clearly before making another step. This way you’ll win and get happy.

Use blitzkrieg

Blitzkrieg is a German word meaning a sudden and overwhelming attack. Use it and you’ll cause chaos to your enemy’s side.

With blitzkrieg your enemies will lose their presence of mind. They won’t have time to respond. They won’t have the luxury of formulating the best strategy to counterattack.

Instead of you losing the presence of mind and advantage, it’s the other way around. The attack is sudden. It’s unpredictable. The result is that your enemies will panic. They will make mistakes. And you’ll be able to capitalize on that.

In history blitzkrieg means attacking both on air and land. Sometimes the generals pour it all in a short time to surprise the enemy. The result is massive destruction. The enemies will lose heart. And they don’t know where to respond. Both the air and land are in attack.

You can use blitzkrieg to conquer your enemies. Just be careful. Your attack should be planned carefully. Or else the enemy will see a hole to break through your attacks.

Know your enemy

This is a prerequisite before going to any war or battle. If you don’t know your enemy, you won’t be able to plan carefully. The result might be disastrous in your side.

Maybe you’re not aware that the enemy is too strong. Or the prize is just not worth it. You’ll waste your time and resources fighting that enemy. It’s much better to pick another one.

Or maybe the enemy is just too weak. You won’t need much resources to defeat him. But because you don’t know, you will prepare more than is necessary. You’ll waste resources than you should be.

In general you need to know your enemy’s weaknesses and strengths. Then you can counterattack based on that knowledge. The ideal scenario is you know how the enemy thinks. You can then anticipate his moves and act accordingly.

Aside from keeping your presence of mind, using blitzkrieg, and knowing your enemy, you’ll also learn the following from The 33 Strategies of War book:

  • Why you should negotiate while advancing
  • Why you should know when to stop
  • How to use communication to deceive your enemy
  • Why you should create a sense of urgency and desperation
  • What are the hidden costs of war

My personal takeaways

It’s great to read the stories of conquerors. It’s fascinating how they won wars and battles by applying simple and timeless principles.

Even now we have our own battles. And we want to win. The strategies outlined in the book will help us gain better insights about how to fight and win.

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