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The Thirty-Six Stratagems by Peter Taylor

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3. Kill with a borrowed knife

Attack using the strength of another in a situation where using one’s own strength is not favourable. Trick an ally into attacking him or bribe an official to turn traitor in your favour, or use the enemy’s own strength against him.

Borrowing a knife to kill may seem rather too devious but fundamentally it is making use of others’ resources for your own gain and sometimes without your opponents knowing it.

The story is told of Huan, the Count of Zheng who planned to conquer the state of Kuai. He published a document announcing that in case Kuai should fall into the hands of Zheng, ministers and generals of Kuai mentioned in the paper would be granted ‘special status’ in the state of Zheng. In addition, the entire ...

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