AoW: Ch.12- Attack by fire

I  am continuing with my interpretation of the book. Everything in italic is a direct quote from the book.

16. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources. 17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. 18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique. 19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. 20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. 21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. 22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.

A clear-headed leader plans well ahead and gathers resources. Do not move unless there is a strong advantage to be gained. Do not put your team into danger unless there is something significant they can bring back from the confrontation. Do not enter into a confrontation unless the position you are gaining or defending is critical to the plan.  Never put your teams or allies in a difficult situation because of personal pride or grievances. Ask yourself whether there is an advantage to the forward move. If there is no clear advantage, stay where you are. Your moods and grievances may pass, but a destroyed territory cannot be brought back, and lost teams and allies cannot be easily replenished. A clear-headed leader is prudent, attentive, and cautious. His priority is to keep his current position safe and his resources intact.

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