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The indirect approach

Liddell Hart was one of the most influential thinkers on military strategy.  One of the many insightful themes of his work was the great strategic benefit of the indirect approach.  Sun Tzu and Napoleon obviously thought the same way:

“Thus, to take a long circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation.  He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation.” (Sun Tzu)

“The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by a rapid and audacious attack.” (Napoleon)

As Hart points out, the indirect approach is applicable far beyond the military or even strategy contexts – “[it] is closely related to all problems of the influence of mind upon mind – the most influential factor in human history”

Indirect strategy creates brilliant results in global IP litigation and IP-based negotiations – but it doesn’t end there either.  How else have you seen it applied?

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