Enumeration improves decision making. It provides a menu of activities that can occur. We learn from how the options are framed. In listing a finite set of options, other ideas are often uncovered. Anytime an author or thought leader enumerates the options in a scenario it leads to better thinking and better outcomes.
“How do we fix this?” If you’ve got a smart group of people around the table it can be easy to run to problem solving. It’s a trap! Instead get every possible idea down in writing somewhere. Then talk about those options. Before deciding on how to fix a problem, develop a set of options before anyone gets too focused on a single approach.
“10. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.”
- Which leader has the moral advantage?
- Which general has the most ability?
- Who has the advantages of Heaven and Earth? (Tactical ground?)
- Which side has the most discipline?
- Which side has the most trained men and officers?
- Which army is most consistent in punishment and reward?
“13. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.”
“6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” Loc 122
Even if we conclude there are no options – zero is a number and we have enumeration.
“17. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory.”
- Estimation of quantity
- Balancing of chances (Probability?)
“12 There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
(2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
(4) a delicacy of honour which is sensitive to shame;
(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.”
Types of Ground
“1 Sun Tzu said: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain, to wit:
(1) Accessible ground;
(2) entangling ground;
(3) temporising ground;
(4) narrow passes;
(5) precipitous heights;
(6) positions at a great distance from the enemy.”
“The art of war recognises nine varieties of ground:
(1) Dispersive ground;
(2) facile ground;
(3) contentious ground;
(4) open ground;
(5) ground of intersecting highways;
(6) serious ground;
(7) difficult ground;
(8) hemmed-in ground;
(9) desperate ground.”
“7 Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:
(1) Local spies;
(2) inward spies;
(3) converted spies;
(4) doomed spies;
(5) surviving spies.”
All have no enumeration.
Entangling Ground: “4 Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to re-occupy is called entangling.”
Temporising Ground: “6 When the position is such that neither side will gain by making the first move, it is called temporising ground.”