Quotes from The 33 Strategies of War

Robert Greene ·  496 pages

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“12--Lose Battles, But Win The War: Grand Strategy

Grand strategy is the art of looking beyond the present battle and calculating ahead. Focus on your ultimate goal and plot to reach it.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Do not fight them. Instead think of them the way you think of children, or pets, not important enough to affect your mental balance”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Events in life mean nothing if you do not reflect on them in a deep way, and ideas from books are pointless if they have no application to life as you live it.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Actually, your past successes are your biggest obstacle: every battle, every war, is different, and you cannot assume that what worked before will work today.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“It is your own bad strategies, not the unfair opponent, that are to blame for your failures. You are responsible for the good and bad in your life.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War



“You may think that what you’d like to recapture from your youth is your looks, your physical fitness, your simple pleasures, but what you really need is the fluidity of mind you once possessed.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Understand: your mind is weaker than your emotions. But you become aware of this weakness only in moments of adversity--precisely the time when
you need strength. What best equips you to cope with tthe heat of battle is neither more knowledge nor more intellect. What makes your mind stronger, and more able to control your emotions, is internal discipline and toughness.No one can teach you this skill; you cannot learn it by reading about it. Like any discipline, it can come only through practice, experience, even a little suffering. The first step in building up presence of mind is to see the need for ii -- to want it badly enough to be willing to work for it.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Think of the mind as a river: the faster it flows, the better it keeps up with the present and responds to change. The faster it flows, also the more it refreshes itself and the greater its energy. Obsessional thoughts, past experiences (whether traumas or
successes), and preconceived notions are like boulders or mud in this river, settling and hardening
there and damming it up. The river stops moving; stagnation sets in. You must wage constant war on this tendency in the mind.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Everything in life can be taken away from you and generally will be at some point. Your wealth vanishes, the latest gadgetry suddenly becomes passé, your allies desert you. But if your mind is armed with the art of war, there is no power that can take that away. In the middle of a crisis, your mind will find its way to the right solution. Having superior strategies at your fingertips will give your maneuvers irresistible force. As Sun-tzu says, “Being unconquerable lies with yourself.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Our successes and failures in life can be traced to how well or how badly we deal with the inevitable conflicts that confront us in society.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War



“Your mind is the starting point of all war and all strategy. A mind that is easily overwhelmed by emotion, that is rooted in the past instead of the present, that cannot see the world with clarity and urgency, will create strategies that will always miss the mark.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“But the greatest battle of all is with yourself—your weaknesses, your emotions, your lack of resolution in seeing things through to the end. You must declare unceasing war on yourself.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“For what the leaders are, that, as a rule, will the men below them be. —Xenophon (430?–355? B.C.)”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Understanding the world too well, you see too many options and become as indecisive as Hamlet.
No matter how far we progress, we remain part animal, and it is the animal in us that fires our strategies, gives them life, animates us to fight. Without the desire to fight, without a capacity for the violence war churns up, we cannot deal with danger.
The prudent Odysseus types are comfortable with both sides of their nature. They plan ahead as best they can, see far and wide, but when it comes time to move ahead, they move. Knowing how to control your emotions means not repressing them completely but using them to their best effect.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“When you have success, be extra wary. When you are angry, take no action. When you are fearful, know you are going to exaggerate the dangers you face.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War



“Forgetting our objectives. —During the journey we commonly forget its goal. Almost every profession is chosen and commenced as a means to an end but continued as an end in itself. Forgetting our objectives is the most frequent of all acts of stupidity. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, 1844”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Understand: your mind is weaker than your emotions. But you become aware of this weakness only in moments of adversity--precisely the time when
you need strength. What best equips you to cope with tthe heat of battle is neither more knowledge nor more
intellect. What makes your mind stronger, and more
able to control your emotions, is internal discipline
and toughness.
No one can teach you this skill; you cannot learn it by reading about it. Like any discipline, it can come only through practice, experience, even a little suffering.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Understand: your mind is weaker than your emotions. But you become aware of this weakness only in moments of adversity,precisely the time when
you need strength. What best equips you to cope with tthe heat of battle is neither more knowledge nor more intellect. What makes your mind stronger, and more able to control your emotions, is internal discipline and toughness.No one can teach you this skill; you cannot learn it by reading about it. Like any discipline, it can come only through practice, experience, even a little suffering. The first step in building up presence of mind is to see the need for it, to want it badly enough to be willing to work for it.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“It was only by escaping into the desert that Moses and the Jews were able to solidify their identity and reemerge as a social and political force.
Jesus spent his forty days in the wilderness, and Mohammed, too, fled Mecca at a time of great peril for a period of retreat. He and just a handful of his most devoted supporters used this period to deepen their bonds, to understand who they were and what they stood for, to let time work its good. Then this little band of believers reemerged to conquer Mecca and the Arabian Peninsula and later, after Mohammed's death, to defeat the Byzantines and the Persian empire, spreading Islam over vast territories. Around the world every mythology has a hero who retreats, even to Hades itself in the case of Odysseus, to find himself.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Your days are numbered. Will you pass them half awake and halfhearted or will you live with a sense of urgency?”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War



“As Xenophon said, your obstacles are not rivers or mountains or other people; your obstacle is yourself. If you feel lost and confused, if you lose your sense of direction, if you cannot tell the difference between friend and foe, you have only”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“[Strategy] is more than a science: it is the application of knowledge to practical life, the development of thought capable of modifying the original guiding idea in the light of ever-changing situations; it is the art of acting under the pressure of the most difficult conditions. HELMUTH VON MOLTKE, 1800–1891”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“The key to staying unintimidated is to convince yourself that the person you're facing is a mere mortal, no different from you-- which is in fact the truth. See the person, not the myth. Imagine him or her as a child, as someone riddled with insecurities. Cutting the other person down to size will help your keep your mental balance.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“As Xenophon said, your obstacles are not rivers or mountains or other people; your obstacle is yourself. If you feel lost and confused, if you lose your sense of direction, if you cannot tell the difference between friend and foe, you have only yourself to blame.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Every day you face battles—that is the reality for all creatures in their struggle to survive. But the greatest battle of all is with yourself—your weaknesses, your emotions, your lack of resolution in seeing things through to the end.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War



“If you feel lost and confused, if you lose your sense of direction, if you cannot tell the difference between friend and foe, you have only yourself to blame.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“The truth is that everything starts from the top. What determines your failure or success is your style of leadership and the chain of command that you design.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“ведения войны заключается в том, чтобы не полагаться на то, что противник не придет, а полагаться на то, с чем ты можешь его встретить. Сунь-цзы. «Трактат о военном искусстве» (IV в. до н. э.)”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“Strategic warriors operate much differently. They think ahead toward their long-term goals, decide which fights to avoid and which are inevitable, know how to control and channel their emotions. When forced to fight, they do so with indirection and subtle maneuver, making their manipulations hard to trace. In this way they can maintain the peaceful exterior so cherished in these political times.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War


“When you have success, be extra wary. When you are angry, take no action. When you are fearful, know you are going to exaggerate the dangers you face. War demands the utmost in realism, seeing things as they are. The more you can limit or compensate for your emotional responses, the closer you will come to this ideal.”
― Robert Greene, quote from The 33 Strategies of War



About the author

Robert Greene
Born place: in Los Angeles, California, The United States
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