The 33 Strategies of War

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The 33 Strategies of War
AuthorRobert Greene
CountryUnited States
GenreBusiness, management, military history, psychology, self-improvement
PublisherPenguin Group (HC); HighBridge Audio (CD)
Publication date
January and April 2006
Media typePrint (hardcover) and CD
ISBN0-670-03457-6 (HC); 978-1-59887-091-6 (CD)
Preceded byThe Art of Seduction 
Followed byThe 50th Law 

The 33 Strategies of War is a 2006 book written by American author Robert Greene that is described as a "guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the ... military principles in war".[1] It is composed of discussions and examples on offensive and defensive strategies from a wide variety of people and conditions, applying them to social conflicts such as family quarrels and business negotiations.[2][3][4]


The Independent said Greene has set himself up as "a modern-day Machiavelli" but that "it is never clear whether he really believes what he writes or whether it is just his shtick, an instrument of his will to shift £20 hardbacks." and concludes "There is something less than adult about it all."[5] Admiral James G. Stavridis said the book had good breadth, but it lacked depth.[6] Leadership theorist and author John Adair said Greene "shows a poor grasp of the subject" and the book is based on the flawed "assumption that the art of military strategy and the art of living are comparable".[7] Booklist said the book was repetitive, lacked a sense of humor, and had an annoying "quasi-spiritual tone".[8] NBA player Chris Bosh stated that his favorite book is The 33 Strategies of War.[9][10][11] The 33 Strategies of War was part of the reading list for youths attending the Indigenous Leadership Forum organised by the University of Victoria, which aimed to redesign radical Indigenous politics and the Indigenist movement.[12] It is also read by students attending a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary course in Christian apologetics.[13] The book has been banned by several US prisons.[14]

In the book Greene writes that "Afghanistan was rich in natural gas and other minerals and had ports on the Indian Ocean":[15] Afghanistan is land-locked. (Trade to and from Afghanistan uses ports in other countries, such as Chabahar Port in Iran.[16]) The political tales in the book are said to be "mostly foolish or just plain wrong".[17]

The book has "far too many duff sentences",[5] for example: "Your goal is to blend philosophy and war, wisdom and battle, into an unbeatable blend."[5][18]

It has sold more than 200,000 copies.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greene, Robert, "The 33 Strategies of War", Viking Adult, 2006
  2. ^ Fearn, Nicholas (March 5, 2006), "The 33 Strategies of War, by Robert Greene", The Independent, retrieved August 15, 2018
  3. ^ Lee, Eloise (May 4, 2012). "33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life". Business Insider. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  4. ^ Youssef Aboul-Enein (March 30, 2006). "The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene". The Waterline. Comprint Military Publications. Archived from the original on May 29, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
  5. ^ a b c Fearn, Nicholas (March 5, 2006). "The 33 Strategies of War, by Robert Greene". The Independent.
  6. ^ Stavridis, Jim (2006), The 33 Strategies of War, U.S. Naval Institute, retrieved January 12, 2014
  7. ^ Adair, John (2006), All is fair in work and war?, Management Today, retrieved January 12, 2014 alternative URL
  8. ^ Driscoll, Brendan (2006), The 33 Strategies of War, Booklist, retrieved January 12, 2014
  9. ^ Tice, Carol. All’s Fair?. Entrepreneur. November 1, 2006.
  10. ^ Green, Mark (January 12, 2012). "Not a Third Wheel: A GQ&A with Chris Bosh". GQ.
  11. ^ Mirchandini, Raakhee (January 5, 2007). "The Merchant of Menace". The New York Post.
  12. ^ "Indigenous Leadership Forum IGOV 595/384 A01" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 18, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
  13. ^ William A. Dembski. "PHREL 4373 Christian Apologetics" (PDF). Retrieved July 25, 2006.
  14. ^ Books Banned in U.S. Prisons Featured at Minneapolis Art Festival (video), Unicorn Riot Media, June 25, 2018
  15. ^ Greene, The 33 Strategies of War, p284.
  16. ^ Sawhney, Asha (April 8, 2019), "Chabahar Port: Unlocking Afghanistan's Potential", New Perspectives in Foreign Policy, Center for Strategic and International Studies (17)
  17. ^ St Louis Post-Dispatch, If war's a given, then strategy is the wild card, by Joseph Losos, 29 January 2006.
  18. ^ Greene, The 33 Strategies of War, preface, pXX.
  19. ^ Robert Greene Interview, Part 1. Power Seduction and War. July 7, 2006.

External links[edit]