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31 Aug 2014

36 Stratagems 三十六计 Mysteriously used by Sun Tzu

The Thirty-Six Stratagems 三十六计 is a unique collection of a mysterious ancient Chinese military book that describes not only battlefield strategies, but tactics used in psychological warfare to win with deception.

Its origins are unknown, and no one knows who is the author or compiler. The modern version is derived from a tattered book discovered at a roadside vendor's stall in China in 1941. It turned out to be a reprint of an earlier book dating back to the late Ming or early Qing dynasty entitled, The Secret Art of War or The Thirty-Six Stratagems 三十六计.

A reprint was first officially published for the general public by a government-related printer in Beijing in 1961. Today most scholars agree that the Thirty-Six Stratagems is likely a collection of idiomatic expressions taken from popular Chinese folklore, history, and myths.  


Here are the 36 Stratagems in listing and our translation in simple English:
Stratagems When You’re in Superior Positions
1.     Openly Deceive Under Camouflage                  瞒天过海
2.     Attack Another to Save Your Target                 魏救赵
3.     Kill with a Borrowed Knife                                 借刀
4.     Wait at Ease for the Exhausted Enemy             以逸待劳
5.     Loot a House on Fire                                          趁火打劫
6.     Sound East to Attack West                                声东击西
Stratagems for Confrontation
7.     Create Something Out of Nothing                     无中生有
8.     Advance Through a Secret Path                       暗渡陈仓
9.     Watch the Fire from Across                               隔岸观火
10.  Hide a Dagger in Your Smile                              笑里藏刀
11.  Sacrifice Small for Big Gains                             李代桃僵
12.  Exploit Small things along the Way                  顺手牵羊
Stratagems for Attack
13.  Hit the Grass to Startle the Snake                     打草惊蛇
14.  Inject Life into the Dead                                     借尸还魂
15.  Lure the Big Guy out of his Comfort Zone       调虎离山
16.  Let Go to Recapture Later                                  欲擒故纵
17.  Throw out Small to Attract Big                          抛砖引玉
18.  Nab the Root of the Issue                                   擒贼擒首
Stratagems for Confused Situations
19.  Remove Key Support                                          釜底抽薪
20.  Fish in Troubled Waters                                     混水摸鱼
21.  Remove Your Cover to Reveal the Inside         金蝉脱壳
22.  Closed Door Attacks                                           关门捉贼
23.  Befriend the Far to Attack the Near                   远交近攻
24.  Seek Help from Ally and Attack Ally Too         假道伐虢
Stratagems for Gaining Ground
25.  Replace Strong Support with Weak Support   偷梁换柱
26.  Criticize Indirectly                                               指桑骂槐
27.  Play Dumb                                                           假痴不癫
28.  Remove Ladder after Ascent                             上屋抽梯
29.  Decorate Tree with Artificial Flowers                树上开花
30.  Turn from Guest to Host                                    反客为主
Stratagems in Desperate Situations
31.  Beauty Trap                                                         美人计
32.  Put on a Bold Front                                             空城计
33.  Double Agent Ploy                                              反间计
34.  Self Injury                                                             苦肉计
35.  A Series of Inter-Connected Stratagems          连环计
36.  If All Else Fail, Escape is the Best                     走为上

To know more about how to use the 36 Stratagems in your daily people management and leadership, come for this FREE Blended Learning course on 18 August 2017 Friday 1 pm to 3 pm. Details are at here.  Related articles:

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