THE ART OF STRATEGY
Steps Towards Business Agility
On Situational Awareness
OODA "Loops" &
Interpreted and Compiled by Erik Schön
Second printing, April 2021
Additions and corrections to the first printing (April 2020)
Now also available as hardcover
With extended glossary, extensive index and hyperlinks
Medium, 13 parts,
5-10 min read each
What is strategy?
Why do you need it?
How do you do it?
And, how can you be more certain to succeed?
The Art of Strategy provides timeless answers to these eternal questions. It is a short introduction to strategy through the insights of three successful strategists: Sun Tzu, John Boyd and Simon Wardley. It is a modern interpretation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War - the strategy classic written in China around 500 BC - using the lenses of Boyd (OODA "loop" inventor) and Wardley (Wardley Map inventor) who were both influenced by Sun Tzu.
Each chapter gently transforms The Art of War into a modern business setting and includes material from Boyd and Wardley in separate sections to complement and clarify Sun Tzu's terse, poetic text. The idea is to serve strategy in 13 short chapters requiring 5-10 minutes reading time each. An extensive glossary is included since many Chinese concepts are purposefully abstract and ambiguous.
You will discover new thinking patterns, e.g. OODA "loops" and situational awareness, as well as visualization tools like Wardley Maps that will help you and your organization succeed together with your stakeholders. You will also improve your understanding of the (geo)political gameplays used by Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Xí Jìnpíng who are all inspired by Sun Tzu, in some cases indirectly via Boyd.
"The Art of Strategy is condensed knowledge that all managers, agile coaches and other leaders should have. This is three
thinkers from very different contexts. But as Erik has put it, with similarities and differences topic by topic, a fourth voice appears. That voice belongs to the interaction between the three
narrators and it gives as much value to me as a reader as the other three voices do." Staffan Nöteberg, author of Monotasking
"Erik Schön has created a great example of Boyd’s 'snowmobile' — a synthesis across a variety of domains leading to new insights and capabilities. I’m sure every strategist, business leader, and entrepreneur will find valuable ideas for making their own enterprises more competitive." Chet Richards, author of Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business
"A great resource for anyone into effective strategy. As a fan of Wardley Mapping and have written about it myself previously I
find this book is a great resource that ties in Sun Tzu and Boyd as I have been looking for a hardback that covers these elements of strategy. Many thanks Erik for bringing this book
Molloy, Senior Product Manager at Workday
"I like the layout & style, 'let the ideas speak for themselves'." @frescoseco on Twitter
“An excellent fusion of SunTzu, Boyd, and Wardley that is beautifully laid out, highly readable and very straightforward in compressing the learning curve on all three!“ @ChaosAndOceans on Twitter
"THE summary and independent look on modern strategy right now!!!" Markus Andrezak, Founder and Managing Partner at überprodukt
Erik Schön is an executive and strategist who has successfully developed and deployed strategy for over 20 years in small, medium and large organizations. Hacker turned software researcher turned system engineer turned manager and leader turned navigator, speaker and writer, Erik has led large, global R&D organizations in complex product development.
Erik's favourite books on strategy, product development, Sun Tzu and Boyd on Goodreads.