“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” – Jeannette Rankin

I continue to read a business book every week in an effort to find some good new ideas to share with you and to save you the time of reading most of it, which may be very bad, yourself.

I’ve just finished reading “The Art of War for Executives,” By Donald G. Krause. It’s 116 pages of stuff like:

* “Wear out your competition with unrelenting attention to the needs of your constituents.”

* “Learn more about the people who use your products. Move quickly before your competitor finds out.”

Books that explain business in martial terms may dispense individual bits of good advice like these. (Who could argue with “learning about” your customers or “attending to the needs” of your constituents?) But the underlying premise — that you achieve more by beating down the other businesspeople in your marketplace — is just plain wrong.

It’s wrong for so many reasons:

* Strong competitors mean growing markets — and that is good for you.

* Growing competitors create profitable sharing opportunities.

* When a competitor is really successful, he creates gaps of opportunity in his wake that you can fill.

* Fighting makes you pay attention to the wrong thing.

* Fighting makes your thinking less flexible.

* Fighting is exhausting.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it here to underline an important truth: Good business is not like war. It’s much more like love and marriage. If you don’t get it, I just don’t know what else I can say to convince you. Get married and have some beautiful children.

Bottom Line: Don’t read “The Art of War for Executives” and don’t pay attention to people who tell you that business is like war. Share with your competitors. Help everyone you can. Make good deals. Prosper.