The 33 Strategies of War Book Review

1 Sentence Summary: “The 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Greene is a comprehensive guide to understanding and applying strategic principles derived from historical military conflicts to navigate the complexities of life and achieve personal and professional success.

The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

TitleThe 33 Strategies of War
AuthorRobert Greene
GenreSelf Help
Publication DateMarch 3, 2005
Length496 pages

Where to Purchase

Best Quotes from the Book

  1. “All warfare is based on deception. When we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
    This quote encapsulates one of the book’s central themes: the importance of deception and psychological manipulation in strategic thinking. It underscores the idea that appearances can be powerful tools in influencing opponents and achieving one’s goals.
  2. “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
    Greene emphasizes the significance of seizing opportunities and taking decisive action. This quote reminds readers that action begets more opportunities, reinforcing the importance of boldness in strategic thinking.
  3. “The greatest mistake in strategy is to act on emotion rather than logic.”
    Greene underscores the need for rational thinking and emotional control in strategic decision-making. This quote serves as a reminder that effective strategists prioritize logic over impulsive emotional reactions.
  4. “Never assume that your enemies are stupid. Never presume all your enemies’ plans will fail.”
    Greene cautions against underestimating opponents and encourages a healthy respect for their capabilities. This quote highlights the importance of thorough analysis and preparation in strategic endeavors.
  5. “Avoid the unhappy and unlucky.”
    While seemingly simplistic, this quote suggests that aligning with fortunate and positive individuals can contribute to one’s own success. Greene explores the significance of alliances and partnerships in achieving strategic objectives.

Book Summary

“The 33 Strategies of War” is a compendium of wisdom derived from centuries of military history and conflict. Robert Greene dissects the strategies employed by iconic military leaders, philosophers, and political figures throughout history to distill the essence of successful warfare and its applications in various spheres of life.

The book is structured into 33 chapters, each focusing on a specific strategy or principle. Greene explores themes such as deception, timing, adaptability, and the psychology of conflict. By drawing parallels between historical warfare and everyday challenges, he provides readers with a toolbox of strategies for achieving personal and professional success.

One of the book’s key takeaways is the idea that war is not limited to physical battles but extends to the psychological and strategic realms. Greene argues that by understanding the principles of warfare, individuals can better navigate the competitive landscape of business, politics, and interpersonal relationships.

Book Review

Robert Greene’s writing style in “The 33 Strategies of War” is both engaging and instructive. He masterfully weaves together historical anecdotes, biographical sketches of famous strategists, and practical advice to create a comprehensive guide to strategic thinking. Greene’s storytelling prowess makes the content relatable and memorable, even for those with limited knowledge of military history.

The book is well-organized, with each strategy presented in a clear and concise manner. Greene introduces each strategy with a historical example or case study, followed by a discussion of its relevance and applications in contemporary life. This structure makes the book easy to navigate and digest, even though it covers a wide range of topics.

However, “The 33 Strategies of War” is not without its criticisms. Some readers may find the book’s content to be overly Machiavellian or manipulative, as it explores strategies that could be used unethically. Additionally, while the book provides valuable insights into the principles of war, it may lack specific, actionable steps for readers to implement in their daily lives.

Critics might argue that the book could benefit from more practical exercises or case studies to help readers apply the strategies to real-world situations. Additionally, some may find Greene’s writing style, which can be assertive and direct, to be polarizing.

This Book is Recommended for

“The 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Greene is recommended for individuals who are interested in mastering the art of strategy and applying it to various aspects of life. It is particularly beneficial for:

  1. Business professionals and entrepreneurs seeking a competitive edge in their careers.
  2. Leaders and decision-makers looking to enhance their strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  3. Students of history and psychology interested in the intersection of warfare and human behavior.
  4. Anyone navigating competitive environments and seeking to achieve personal and professional success.

Small Actionable Steps You Can Do

While “The 33 Strategies of War” presents a wide array of strategic principles, applying them in everyday life can be challenging. Here are some small actionable steps to consider:

  1. Develop a Strategic Mindset: Begin by cultivating a strategic mindset, thinking critically about your goals and the paths to achieving them.
  2. Study the Art of Timing: Explore the importance of timing in decision-making. Learn to recognize opportune moments and act decisively.
  3. Master the Art of Deception: Practice the skill of strategic deception by controlling the information you reveal to others and maintaining an air of unpredictability.
  4. Adaptability and Flexibility: Embrace adaptability as a key strategy. Be open to adjusting your plans and strategies as circumstances evolve.
  5. Build Strategic Alliances: Invest in building strategic alliances and partnerships with individuals who share common goals and values.
  6. Study History and Case Studies: Continuously educate yourself by studying historical examples and case studies of successful strategists.

“The 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Greene is a compelling and instructive exploration of the principles of strategy and conflict. While it may raise ethical questions for some readers, its lessons are undeniably valuable for those seeking to navigate the complexities of life and achieve their goals. By mastering the art of strategy, readers can gain a competitive advantage in their chosen fields and become more adept at addressing the challenges and opportunities that come their way.


  • Michael Corbin

    Michael Corbin stands out as a dynamic content writer which combines his dual passions for self-help and digital marketing literature. A fervent believer in the transformative power of books, Michael delves deep into self-help titles, extracting valuable lessons and insights that he actively integrates into his daily life. Simultaneously, his keen interest in digital marketing books has not only expanded his knowledge but has also played a pivotal role in the success of his business ventures. Always on a quest for self-improvement and growth, Michael's reviews are a testament to his commitment to personal and professional development. His writings offer readers a unique perspective, as they are infused with real-world applications and experiences derived from the books he reviews. For those seeking to elevate their personal lives or enhance their business strategies, Michael Corbin's reviews serve as a trusted guide, pointing them to the most impactful and actionable books in the realms of self-help and digital marketing. His relentless pursuit of knowledge and betterment makes him an invaluable asset to the literary community and an inspiration to readers and entrepreneurs alike.

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