Your finance coworker Steve Stafford is in a Zoom call with a copy of The Art of War prominently displayed in his bookcase. What could this mean? The implications are many, for Steve is a student of Sun Tzu.
Perhaps Steve wants you to know he’s well-read so you’ll respect him. On the other hand, Sun Tzu advocates hiding your competence so your opponents will underestimate you. The fact that Steve seems unaware of this basic principle makes it seem like he hasn’t fully grasped the wise tome.
But perhaps Steve is feigning ignorance. He wants you to think he’s a weird white guy who’s way too into asian culture and military history. After all, a white guy who’s read The Art of War is only one step above a guy who’s read The Pick Up Artist Manual. Steve wants you to pity him and his strange hobbies. And when Steve’s enemies think he’s a creepy weeb who probably watches anime, it’s the perfect time to strike. But strike what? He’s WFH, not WF an ancient battlefield.
And isn’t making yourself look pathetic to your coworkers and supervisors a bad idea? You don’t want people to underestimate you if you want a promotion – you want people to overestimate you…which is exactly what Steve is doing by telling us he’s read The Art of War! And to make us aware of this fact without even saying it – Steve truly is a master of stratagems.
At first you thought he was a dumb guy who wanted to seem smart, but now you realize he’s a smart guy who wants people to know he’s smart. A warrior of the mind, Steve is. Upon closer inspection, a copy of Ready Player One is also visible on his bookshelf.
Steve’s dumb as shit.