Death Ground—Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” and “Top Chef”

“Ground in which the army survives only if it fights with the courage of desperation is called ‘death.'”

“In difficult ground, press him; in encircled ground, devise stratagems; in death ground, fight.”

“Throw the troops into a position from which there is no escape and even when faced with death they will not flee. For if prepared to die, what can they not achieve? … In a desperate situation they fear nothing; when there’s no way out they stand firm.”


I am finally watching the season finale of “Top Chef” and the two finalists could be quoting Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. “This is it. Press forward. Hold nothing back.”

Desperation makes interesting things happen. Sometimes those things are triumphant, sometimes cataclysmic, but if they are truly born of desperation they are rarely boring.

Are you fighting in your business or for your business? If you aren’t fighting, you aren’t really on Death Ground. You might be on Annoyed Ground, Inconvenienced Ground, or even Kinda PO’d Ground. But if you are on Death Ground, you will fight.

What’s your strategy? And how are you going to get out of this alive?

If you need help figuring that out, email me.



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