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Strategy: A History

Strategy opens with a discussion of how “strategy” is an abused term. But points out that it captures the process we have for thinking about actions in advance and in light of our present or anticipated circumstances.

Strategy is about balancing the short and the long term, the ability to see the forrest for the trees.

One common contemporary definition describes it as being about maintaining a balance between ends, ways, and means; about identifying objectives; and about the resources and methods available for meeting such objectives. This balance requires not only finding out how to achieve desired ends but also adjusting ends so that realistic ways can be found to meet them by available means.

  • Strategy comes into play when there is conflict, when there is an opprotunity or circumstance that might stymie your efforts. This comes from the military roots, but game theory also frames up strategy this way.
  • Strategy proceeds along various states, it evolves over time and is not fixed.
  • Strategy can exist on a spectrum of central planning and individual actions forming a cohesive action.
  • Strategy as a term and concept is shaped by the context of it’s executions. The types of problems observed at that time are elemental to what must be addressed by a strategy.

Chapter 1

  • Key Elements of strategy:
    • deception
    • coalition formation
    • instrumental use of violence.
  • The key elements are preserved outside our species, being observed in chimps

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