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No. 2 – The Art of War for Women

“The Art of War” is a 2,500 year old book passed down through the ages to entrepreneurs, politicians, and military detailing Sun Tzu’s ancient strategies on how to win at war. It’s been translated by many, interpreted endlessly, and applied in a plethora of ways. There’s an art to reading multiple versions and trying to connect the dots as well.

 

Some translated chapters are so – confusing. It’s tough to digest and apply depending on the version you read. Crazy enough, Sun Tzu designed it that way. He wanted the book to be difficult to understand and wrote it in a cryptic and abstract fashion. 

 

That all changed when I picked up, “The Art of War for Women,” by Chin-ning Chu. She applies the ancient concepts in modern and relatable ways while being concise. It’s a nice read for women entrepreneurs & professionals. It’s also a good read for men to better understand women and the barriers we face professionally.

 

The book is broken down into 13 brief chapters with relatable case studies and examples for women. At 211 pages, it’s a short read. More like a reference guide that I’ve come back to time and again.

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Notes by Naly is a weekly collection of notes and musings on an eclectic mix of topics ranging from business, food, travel, beauty, poetry, and more. It’s written by Naly and is a glimpse into her world as an entrepreneur and writer. 

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The Chapters

 
  1. Ji (Planning): The Elements of Planning

  2. Doing Battle: Speedy Recovery

  3. Strategy: Know Thyself and Others

  4. Disposition: Win First, Then Fight

  5. Momentum: Use Timing To Generate Momentum

  6. Real and Unreal: Illusion Is the Other Side of Reality

  7. Conflict: Don’t Show Your Hand

  8. Imagination: See Things No One Has Seen

  9. Managing the Troops: The Principles of Management

  10. Terrain: Move According to Your Environment

  11. Nine Battlegrounds: Be More Competitive by Doing Less

  12. Attack by Fire: Fireproofing Yourself

  13. Espionage

“The Art of War for Women,” is written with so many good scenarios for women in the work place and how others overcame challenging situations. Sun Tzu’s philosophy is applied well to scenarios women face in the office, in life, and as a business owner that make it easy to understand and implement.

At the end of each chapter is a “Reflection” section that you can fill-in for personal contemplation. My copy has notes written on the side and underlines.

War does not revolve around fighting. It is about determining the most efficient way of gaining victory with the least amount of conflict.

Who wants to go to war?

I don’t want to go to war. I’m guessing you don’t want to go to war either.

So learning the art of war seems odd. However, the East believes it’s about determining the most efficient way of gaining victory with the least amount of conflict.

That concept applied to many scenarios is a win.

What makes this book valuable and intriguing is how well it applies to women professionals and women business owners around the world. More women are building businesses, becoming bread winners, and excelling professionally. We face different challenges than men, and this book offers up interesting solutions that may help more women navigate their careers and life.

There are parts that are quite empowering, such as this excerpt from, “The Art of War for Women”:

It is not the glass ceiling that is mighty in and of itself - it is our belief that it will hold us back that gives it power. Envision yourself as master of your own idea of success.

I enjoyed the book and believe it clearly and succinctly provides a roadmap for women to navigate the modern business world in a straightforward style and tone. 

You might even be inspired to start your own business or monetize your passions, like here on Substack.

I believe everyone has their own path in life and there is abundance in opportunities for everyone.

Our ideas of success will naturally change throughout our lives and we should embrace it instead of holding onto rigid or material concepts of success.

In my twenties, I thought I wanted all the material things that meant I was a “success”. You know, the fancy hand bag, a nice car, a big house, and lavish vacations. That all changed after I worked in marketing/branding, and the joy of shopping and material things society considers “successful” got snatched from my noggin.

In my mid-thirties, my idea of success revolves around freedom of time, location, and experiences. It means living debt free and being financialy independent to create the life I want. Who cares about a fancy handbag and a nice car when you have high monthly bills and are chained to a job you dislike? No thanks.

Today, I laugh because of how naive I was. I’m more forgiving of people who try to push their own ideas of success onto me. I’m able to laugh at myself and enjoy life more because I took agency of my business and my life.

I decided what was and wasn’t successful to me, individually, regardless of what people thought.

The point is, we as women get to choose and own our choices in 2023.


  • Want to start a business and work hard at something cool? Nice, go for it. 
  • Want to raise kids and take care of your family? Nice, go for it.

  • Want to not have kids, travel, and work from anywhere? Nice, go for it.

  • Want to start a new career after you become an empty nester? Nice, go for it.


The options are endless for so many women around the world now, and we live in a time when learning and resources are abundantly available thanks to the internet.


Question is, are we ready to work for it and adopt new ideas of success?

If you need guidance, a roadmap, or are simply curious about how to win more at work and in life then give, “The Art of War for Women,” by Chin-ning Chu a try. 

 

It’s a book I thought would be a good business read and ended up as a great companion for other Art of War books. This version of Art of War is translated for women, and I haven’t been able to find another translation that aligns with modern women in the workplace like this one. 

 

Have you read the Art of War? Did you find it hard to digest too? Which version is your favorite, I’m curious? 

 

 

Have a good one!

 

 

 

Cheers,

N.

 

 

P.S. I’m testing out affiliate links in this post. Are you for or against affiliate links as a reader or writer? I personally don’t mind them for its convenience as a reader, and feel a tad awkward using them for the first time as a writer. Anyhow, let me know.

Subscribe to Notes by Naly

This was a free edition of Notes by Naly, with original publication on Substack. 

Notes by Naly is a weekly collection of notes and musings on an eclectic mix of topics ranging from business, food, travel, beauty, poetry, and more. It’s written by Naly and is a glimpse into her world as an entrepreneur and writer. 

Receive Notes by Naly directly in your inboxhttps://naly.substack.com

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