July 8, 2019

Once upon a time, there was only one way to be rich: Be powerful.

If you were powerful, you could take from others. Through force, you could take from others the fruits of their labor. And even if you got rich by luck or skill, such as through a bumper crop or skilled a...

August 15, 2018

In 2002, the U.S. military played a war game called “Millennium Challenge.” In charge of the "Blue" U.S. Forces were the highest-ranking U.S. generals and admirals. Leading the "Red" enemy was a retired U.S. Marine Corps General named Paul Van Riper. 

When yo...

February 21, 2018

Investor Naval Ravikant is considered a sage in Silicon Valley. Dilbert creator and tech investor Scott Adams calls him one of the smartest people he knows. Naval (he prefers the single name brand) recently did a Periscope where he took questions from viewers.

The whol...

October 2, 2017

When you’re figuring out the other side’s strategy, you start with their Endgame.

That’s because most people follow the first rule of strategy: Look forward and reason backward.

Strategies are built when people imagine an Endgame. From there, they reason backward. They b...

August 25, 2017

In A Spy’s Guide To Strategy, we talk about three steps every strategist must take:

1. Imagine the Endgame

2. Reason Backward

3. Take Action

For most people, the difficult part is reasoning backward. That’s why A Spy’s Guide To Strategy spends a lot of time on a simple sho...

August 17, 2017

An astute reader of A Spy’s Guide To Strategy wrote, “I've known about the Hero’s Journey concept for years as a storytelling formula but never thought of it as a strategy!”

The “Hero’s Journey” was famously described by Joseph Campbell. He said it’s in stories. It’s in...

June 23, 2017

A strand through American history is "positive thinking." From Ben Franklin's advice to the "health and wealth gospel" of the 19th century to bestselling books by Anthony Robbins, Americans of all ages have heard, practiced and used "positive thinking."

For a history of...

June 13, 2017

When Bin Laden attacked on 9/11, a lot of people said we should have seen it coming.

He had declared war on the United States in 1996. He had bombed American embassies in Africa. He had the will to attack.

But Bin Laden still appeared a distant threat.

Because it takes mo...

May 23, 2017

Strategy is hard. 

It's hard because of risk, chance and uncertainty. It's hard because outcomes are hard. But it's especially hard because it requires three different mindsets. 

The first rule of strategy, as Dixit and Nalebuff say, is "Look forward and reason back...

April 3, 2017

You can make strategy easy if you focus on one thing. A goal. An objective. A single measure. 

It's also a good way to make sure your strategy fails.  

Because a good strategy always requires more than one thing. One thing isn't enough. Not even close. 

When a b...

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