Deborah Leigh Wood
insights can show up in unusual places. For instance, there's
the game of Go, which the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans have
been playing and applying in business, politics and war for
some 4,000 years.
Go is part of the curriculum in some business schools, says
Troy Anderson '98, author of The Way of Go: 8 Ancient Strategy
Secrets for Success in Business and Life (Free Press).
Referred to as
the "game of geniuses," Go is like chess in that
players move pieces around a board to take control of it,
but Go aficionados use black and white stones and start with
an empty board.
The goal of Go,
and Anderson's book, is to make the best decisions in business
and life. Anderson, an experienced Go player and teacher (he
is one of five Americans to train at the Japanese Professional
Go Academy), says many leaders in Asian business, politics
and the military apply the game metaphorically to "maximize
their time and resources, seize the initiative, adapt to change
and compete in an established market."
the board either by "brute force, analysis or understanding
aesthetics and rhythms of the game," says Anderson, managing
director of Knowledge Management and Interactive Applications
at the Fannie Mae Foundation in Washington, D.C. "There
isn't just one way to get strong at Go or succeed in business.
At Kellogg, the better groups were the ones with a full complement
Kotler, the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor
of International Marketing at Kellogg, agrees: "Troy
Anderson told me years ago of his plan to write a book on
Go," he says. "I urged him to show the game's applications
to business and marketing strategy. He succeeded admirably."
Anderson says Go
can be played analytically to determine the intricacies of
finance and accounting. "Or you can be a complete artist
and get into it from an aesthetic point of view," he
getting hooked on this Zen-like "game of perfect information"
in his junior year at Stanford University. He is one of approximately
27 million Go players worldwide and 400,000 in the United
States. They're in good company: Famous Go players include
Mao Tse-tung, Bill Gates and John F. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning
economist/mathematician credited with revolutionizing game
says those who believe that "dominating an opponent"
is always appropriate, might be surprised that The Way
of Go demonstrates otherwise. "Sometimes the right
strategy is to be passive and play your opponent's best move,"