Waging Business Warfare

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Principles and lessons of warfare are more universal than have been realized. The key elements-- strategy, tactics, and leadership-- apply equally well to intense competition of any kind, including the contest for markets and profits.

Overall competitive superiority is achieved when a firm is stronger than its rivals in one or more important areas. Rogers adapts traditional principles of war into seven lessons: leading, maintaining the objective while adjusting the plan, concentrating greater strength at the decisive point, taking the offensive and maintaining mobility, following the course of least resistance, achieving security, and making certain that all personnel play their part.

Military history may not have obvious business applications, but Rogers makes a convincing case for its relevance in the introductory chapter, which also summarizes the book’s main points. As warfare is not a trivial subject of study, it holds much inherent interest. Unfortunately, the presentation rapidly becomes meandering, unfocused, and repetitious. His haphazard documentation of quotations and assertions often leaves the reader with no choice but to take his word.

Finally, at a time when business ethics have deservedly received considerable attention, it is surprising to see no discussion of such issues. Perhaps Rogers considers himself a modern Niccolo Machiavelli, but surely the business world can no longer afford to believe that winning has nothing to do with right and wrong.