Stratagem 1: To catch something, first let it go

Most businesses in the West focus on beating their competition, but this assumes that we are better off without our competition. The polarity principle implies that optimal success depends on our competitor’s success, or at least its continued existence.

Stratagem 5: Befriend the distant enemy to attack one nearby

We increasingly find allies among competitors, and competitors among seemingly unrelated companies. This creates opportunities. We can look for – even create – ‘distant’ enemies to achieve common goals.

Stratagem 16: Sometimes running away is the best strategy

In 1980, when Jack Welch became CEO of General Electric, the company was reliable but average American conglomerate. Jack wanted to change this, so he gave the first challenge: GE would be number 1 or number 2 in each of its businesses, or it would exit that business. In other words, it is better to retreat than to surrender or lose.