Harro von Senger – Switzerland

Harro von Senger is a leading expert in sinology. He has doctorates in both law and classical sinology, and is a professor of sinology at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and author of The Book of Stratagems … (full text).

… He is regarded as a leading Western expert on the subject having devoted several decades to the research of Chinese ancient military strategy. Uncertain of his readers’ reactions, the professor only wrote about the first 18 ’stratagems’ in the first volume of his book published in German in Berne in 1992. But it became so popular that it has since been reprinted many times and translated into 12 languages, such as Dutch, Italian, Chinese, English and French. The total print run so far is 500,000. In 2000, the second volume illustrating the remaining 18 stratagems came out. August 2006, meanwhile, witnessed the return of the ancient Chinese tactics to their home as the complete Chinese manuscript of two volumes was published in China … (full text).

Harro von Senger (* 1944) ist ein schweizer Jurist und Sinologe … (full text).

The 36 stratagems are a set of powerful Chinese aphorisms embodying the essence of the ancient Chinese art of cunning. First mentioned about 1,500 years ago, and committed to paper nearly 500 years ago, the 36 stratagems have been gaining popularity in Chinese business circles since the 1990s. Though more than 80 books have been published recently in the Far East recommending the use of the 36 stratagems in the modern business world, these books are as yet unknown in the Western countries. Managers at all levels will therefore benefit from this English -language book evaluating the 36 stratagems and detailing how to apply them in management as well as “economic warfare.” Entertaining and thought provoking, the text includes examples of managers who have been able to achieve objectives using the strategems. The 36 stratagems encourage flexibility and new ways of thinking about business issues, making this handbook widely adaptable to changing conditions … (full text).


Harro von Senger – Switzerland

Seine private Webseite auf deutsch.

… Rather this book has some messages:

  • Every plan includes an oversight by the opponent?;
  • Sacrifices can be amazingly large, if only you know what you’re doing and your plan is backed up by profound reading;
  • Less surprisingly: let your strategy be based on positional judgment.

… (full text).

The book of stratagems, tactics for triumph and survival, by Harro von Senger, edited and translated by Myron B. Gubitz, NY Viking, 1991.

… I’ve been reading Swiss scholar Harro von Senger’s book on the 36 ancient Chinese military Strategems. And I just realized that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos might be an expert … (full text).

Recommended Reading
For On The Other Side Of The Eye, Dec. 12, 2007. l

Business: MAKE NOISE: Beat the grass to startle the snake! (Stratagem No. 13), by Andreas Wiedow, on 8-Feb-06, on Asia Ecademy.com, and on arow-biz.

… The Thirty-Six Stratagems are divided into a preface, six chapters containing six stratagems each, and an afterword that was incomplete with missing text. The first three chapters generally describe tactics for use in advantageous situations, whereas the last three chapters contain stratagems that are more suitable for disadvantageous situations … (full text, 23 Sep 2008).

Find him and his publications on amazon; im Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek; auf deutsch: wichtigste Werke; on eBay; on allBookstores.com; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Synopsis: … Managers at all levels will benefit from this first English translation of a set of powerful Chinese aphorisms rooted in deception, subterfuge, and guile. The 36 stratagems first appeared 1,500 years ago … (full text).

Strategeme – Zhi – Shi … Excerpt from article (on the stratagems, written by Yang Jiaqing: this fine ecademist) -  “In the beginning, the dean stood by my side. However, after my second letter, he said it would be difficult to work with me. After that, this important person no longer supported me. At that time, I was at level zero regarding the stratagems. It was too bad that I considered them as something confined to China in spite of my knowledge of the subject. When I started to write the first volume of Stratagems, I realized that I had fallen into the professor’s trap as he had used the stratagem of sowing discord between the dean and me, namely, the 33rd of the 36 stratagems. If I was aware of that, I wouldn’t have sent the second letter to the dean. Thus I have understood that it was very useful to learn these stratagems and very harmful to ignore them” … (full text).

He says (to swissinfo):… “That was not a politically well-thought-out decision, for the Swiss cabinet at the time, technocratic reasons swung the balance. They didn’t want to give up their diplomatic representation on the Chinese mainland, but standing by Chiang Kai-shek would have meant moving to Taiwan” …and: “Switzerland was very valuable for Beijing because it was one of the very few European countries with Chinese diplomatic representation” … … and: “As a small country, Switzerland didn’t raise any suspicions among the Chinese of pursuing any hidden agendas” … and:  “When it comes to dealing with minorities, the Swiss talk to the Chinese confidently and as equals” … However, von Senger believes expectations in Switzerland are harmed by misunderstandings and ignorance. “Our perception of the human rights situation in China is based on a lack of information on China’s position in the global human rights debate” …”When China talks about improving human rights in connection with the Olympic Games, this is what it has in mind, because the new buildings and infrastructure will result in development. This is not a particularly typical Chinese point of view – it’s that of the UN” … (full long text, August 5, 2008).

… The difference between Western and Chinese ways of war, if there is one, will probably be found in differing emphases on the material as opposed to the mental aspects of conflict. Western military history is an account of ever larger armies and technological breakthroughs. The Chinese tradition, by contrast, with technology often changing very little over long periods of time, stresses strategy and psychological advantage as keys to success. Hence the verdicts of their theorists: for Clausewitz war is an act of force; for Sun Tzu—as will be seen in some of the translations — war is above all the art of deception. This difference has more than academic importance. The Chinese approach to warfare has a certain attractiveness
today as Western warfare seems to be reaching its limits, chiefly since key technology (that is, nuclear weaponry) makes the sort of total war which Clausewitz contemplated increasingly unthinkable. Those nations that could theoretically destroy the world realize that even, or perhaps particularly, such massive force is of little practical use in achieving the ends of policy. So strategic and psychological acumen, traditionally a Chinese forte, look more and more relevant … (full long text of 15 pdf-pages, Spring 1994 / JFQ).


Blocher und das 33.Strategem;

Sternstunde Philosophie: Die unsichtbare Software des chinesischen Denkens, mit VHS- oder DVD-Bestellung der Sendung vom 16.11.08 direkt bei SF1.

L’économie n’est pas la guerre
, 10 novembre 2008;

PEN International;

The CEFC (French Centre for Research on Contemporary China)  is part of the network of the 27 French research centres abroad, which are supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CNRS … listen to two of its audio recordings: The Age of Openness: China before Mao, by by Frank Dikötter, 77.37 min, November 13 2008, and The LegCo elections, by Christine Loh, 102.20 min;

China Information presents timely and in-depth analyses of major developments in contemporary China and overseas Chinese communities in the areas of politics, economics, law, ecology, culture, and society, including literature and the arts;

Asia Legal Information Network, Taiwan;

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