On Deception

I was forced to study and memorise the “Art of War” by Sun Tzu since a young age, Art of War has been a source of contention for me because I was also forced to study Confucius classics that focus on morality and ethics, and how to live a life of “Junzi” while Art of War focus on military tactics, pragmatism and deception.

One of the most important quote that I live by is “all warfare is based on deception”.

Art of War is also studied by million in the modern business world and by top managements. Do you think as a CFA candidate and charterholders, we are disadvantaged because we are bound by a much higher ethical standards and our tool of deception is limited or non existant? Do you think deception has any place in our career? For example, we should be absolutely loyal to our clients and our employers, but can we use deceptive tactics against our competitors or colleagues that might not necessarily violate Code and Standards?

What is your view on the use of deception in everyday life outside investment industry?

as long as you do not get caught

I’ll give you three guesses, but the first two don’t count.

? don’t know what i’m suppose to guess.

The battlefield is a specific realm. Deception is to be expected in war and high politics. When considering whether deception is admirable, consider the context, and do not think that all life is war. There are some people who do think that way, but they do not appear to live happy lives, even if some of them look outwardly successful.

In relations with associates, and clients and friends, it’s best to be honest and forthright. Reputations can take ages to build and can be lost over a single thing. Trustworthiness is valuable too, if you are not at war with your clients.

Being honest does not mean that others have the right to know everything. It’s perfectly legitimate to say, “I’m not prepared to tell you that,” or “That’s not your business.” Once you realize that, being forthright is not necessarily so bad.

We often imagine the temporary gains we might make if we had lied or cheated when an opportunity came, but we often don’t imagine the downsides catching up to us. Thus we can deceive ourselves by imagining just the upside of deception without imagining the downside.

Deception in war or in a fight are very different than in everyday life.

One is tactical the other is weakening a relationship based on trust.