How To Win Without Fighting

August 2019Words by Mr Jamie Millar

Winning Not Fighting by Messrs John Vincent and Julian Hitch. Image courtesy of Penguin


“Read Sun Tzu, The Art Of War,” corporate raider Gordon Gekko commands his protégé Bud Fox in the 1987 film Wall Street. “‘Every battle is won before it is ever fought.’”

As Mr John Vincent, the co-founder of healthy fast-food chain Leon, rightly points out in his new book, Winning Not Fighting: Why You Need To Rethink Success And How You Achieve It With The Ancient Art Of Wing Tsun, business is not war. So, just how applicable is a military treatise written by a Chinese general around the 5th century BC? Are orders to “divide and conquer” the competition, “smash” targets and “target” customers all that helpful?

In fact, argues Mr Vincent, it’s actively damaging: war, actual or metaphorical, leads to destruction, suffering, casualties – for losers and victors. Instead, he proposes an alternative model for business: the ancient Chinese martial art of Wing Tsun or Wing Chun Kung Fu made famous by Mr Bruce Lee (before he invented his own discipline, Jeet Kune Do) and the Ip Man series of movies based on his master and their relationship.