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A reading from my forthcoming book, The Art of Business Based on the Maxims of Napoleon

There is no need to attempt an introduction of Napoleon Bonaparte. His contribution to the world and certainly to France is inestimable. He was, among many things, a major player in the structure of western civilization, and regardless of the final mistakes that he made, his influence is everlasting and without doubt quintessential in understanding strategy based on desire and total conquest of the world in its own form. This present work will enable those biased for whatever reason to assimilate the same intelligence used in the world traditions in that there is no difference in application for the benefit of personal victory in any theater of 'conflict'.

The maxims of Napoleon illustrate in completeness and simplicity the knowledge that is required for winning in business situations where perhaps the ideal would be to compare business to warfare. I have chosen to use the parameters of business rather than martial conflict to alleviate the constant cloying and annoying detritus that makes up the current ideology of death-dealing warfare. The principles are the same, however, with the exception that I have pointed out in my version of the Book of Five Rings: there is a significant difference in not getting a deal signed and having your head cut off. Learn from Napoleon's maxims and recognize that my interpretation of these matters are lucid and extraordinarily functional. Where there are specific subjects to cover, such as rivers, mountains, etc., I will use variances in definition for the understanding of the tenet.

Imagination is a requirement for intelligent and progressive leadership. Certain of Napoleon's Maxims are very obviously military oriented and can hardly be translated into a business situation. I have used poetic license in some regard and have created a scenario conducive to application in a commercial endeavor. You may or may not agree with the precept I propose, but the validity of the condition will always be valid.

These principles are fundamental and immutable. As such they form an intrinsic aspect of study of any strategic complexity. I have chosen to incorporate certain ideas throughout this work in the expectation that although in business we are not necessarily speaking of killing in the physical sense of the word, we are indeed thinking in terms of destroying any form of competition.

Maxim I. The frontiers of states are either large rivers, or chains of mountains, or deserts. Of all these obstacles to the march of an army, the most difficult to overcome is the desert; mountains come next, and broad rivers occupy the third place.

Commentary: In the course of doing business, regardless of the venue that must be approached, it is of considerable importance to realize exactly what and where you are moving towards and the reason for doing it. This consideration by itself will always tell you precisely what it is that has to be addressed in terms of preparations and maintenance of resources. Deserts, mountains, and rivers are physical challenges that must be overcome in the manner of dried out resources, incomprehensible heights to be scaled, and the torrents of rage that accompany the passion of conquest in any endeavor. Though there may be a hierarchy by definition, each one in its own place will represent specific problems that must be dealt with before any additional progress can be made. It is, therefore, necessary to know the 'territory' prior to any irreversible decision.

 

© SFKaufman 2012