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Skill Level Beginner
- [Instructor] People want to change the future course of events, to redistribute power, and to gain control over their environment. However, various parties' conflicting interests and other unpredictable factors come into play. This is the realm of strategy. In Strategy, published by Oxford University Press in the UK, one of the world's leading authorities on war and strategic analysis, Sir Lawrence Freedman, presents a history of strategy of astonishing range and erudition. His history is a lesson in the limits of human ambition and control, and the world's intractable unpredictability. Humans use strategy when they recognize that even the best laid plans can go awry. And they fight back against the forces that foil their plans, including other people, circumstances and fortune. Often those forces respond, and people must respond in turn. This interplay, a fluid situation requiring flexibility and constant modification, is essential to strategy. Chimpanzees use strategy during conflicts over power and territory. Suggesting that the elements of strategy transcend human experience. The Bible gives early examples of strategy in action, including the battle of David and Goliath and the story of Exodus. In Bible stories, success often depends on faith or obedience to God. This notion underpinned the role of battles during the Middle Ages. The Greeks identified two primary secular modes of strategy, bie and metis, or physical strength and guile. This dichotomy provides a useful framework for understanding strategy throughout history. Modern conceptions of strategy spring from the Enlightenment's faith and reason.