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The more popular kingdoms of the three Wei and Shu. Wu is usually forgotten....i guess its because they dont have enough interesting people. Personally i like Wei because CaoCao, in my opinion, is a great leader. He thinks of all the strategies on his own and usually wins.

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The Three Kingdoms are actually like three big companies in the corporate world (I heard that big Japanese companies are indeed using "Romance of Three Kingdoms" for staff training).

For Wei, they got good CEOs and brilliant managers. Cao Cao and his son and even grandson were competent rulers (CEOs). But they trusted their senior manager Mr. Sima too much. Mr. Sima suddenly launched a hostile takeover and succeeded after the third CEO passed away. By the way, the other shareholders (Cao's royal family) were deliberately given least say by the second king of Wei. So there was not much resistance to Mr. Sima.

For Wu, they got lousy CEO but very brilliant managers. Except the first king, the others were all playboys. But their managers were very smart. Down from Mr. Zhou to Mr. Lu, they helped Wu keep the land south of Yangtze in peace.

For Shu, other than the first CEO and first manager and first generation of staff, the succcessors with a few exceptions were all garbages. Of course, it failed the first.

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Bascially after the first generation of rulers died, the three countries basically had no good rulers/managers/politicans/leader.

Liu Bei was never too useful, he depended almost totally on ZhuGeLiang and his 5 "Tiger" generals. Shu failed totally because of Liu Bei's useless son, Liu Chan. There were at least two times when ZhuGeLiang had complete advantage over SiMaYi when Liu Chan called him back. Also, He just gave up Shu while Jiang Wei was still doing his best fighting off Wei.

Caocao never really depended on anyone; he occasionally asked his advisors such as Si Ma Yi for help. All the able generals bascially died off one by one soon after CaoCao died, leaving Wei with very little strong generals. After SiMaYi died, SiMaZhao had basically complete power over Wei, economically, politically, and military wise. So when he rebelled, CaoShuang had no ability whatsoever to settle it.

For Wu, after Zhou Yu died, the only able manager was Lu Xun. Wu was bascially corrupted right after LuXun died. Not much more need to say about Wu.

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In fact the three kingdoms were even more "brothers" than the three sworn brothers: they appeared together and died together...

Cao Cao was powerful not because of his own qualities, but because he could attract able counsellors and generals to his service, and even more, to keep them.

In the novel, he was the first to see the true value of the three brothers when they first appear, and he was the only one to ask Pang Tong 庞统 to join him at first sight (The "Phoenix" displeased both Liu Bei and Sun Quan).

Cao Cao was surely the ablest among the 3, but Liu Bei was the hero he feared most. Liu Bei was a poor warrior, but he alone could attract and fully use the talents of Zhu Ge Liang.

This latter is the true hero of the novel: there is a "before" and an "after" Zhu Ge Liang.

The popular stories about the Three Kingdoms were widespread long before the novel was written (under the Ming).



( If a man has not accomplished anything to pay his debts to his country, he should be ashamed to hear the popular stories about the Duke of Wu, ZhuGe Liang). These verses were written at the end of the 13th century by a Vietnamese.

Speaking about History, it was under the Wu that the second major Vietnamese uprising occured (248), led by a woman named Triệu thị Chinh (赵氏贞)...

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Zhuge Liang excelled in governance but fared poor in personnel management.

Throughout the history of Shu, the kingdom was besieged by the feud among different cliques. Those early retainers of Liu Bei, those from Hubei clique and those from Sichuan clique always engaged in power struggle.

Right after Zhuge's death, General Wei was murdered due to power struggle. (The novel said that General Wei had stepped on the lifeline lanterns of Zhuge and had plan to revolt were all baloney.)

By the way, the novel should not be read alone. It should be combined with the "History of Three Kingdoms" written by scholar Chen in the subsequent Jin Dynasty.

Of course, the novel is understandably pro-Shu while the history chronicle is understandably pro-Wei. But at least such combination will provide readers with different angles of view.

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I have to disagree with you that Wu just got two able managers.

Even the son of Lu Xun was an able manager.

Throughout his life, Jin army would not dare launch an invasion.

And General Lu Jr had charisma too. When General Yang of Jin sent wine as gift to General Lu Jr, the other Wu Generals advised General Lu Jr not to drink since the wine might be poisoned.

But General Lu Jr said, "How dare your would say that General Yang would commit such act of poisoning?"

Wu perished not because of its managers but its CEOs.

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Another problem with Zhuge Liang as a manager is that he didn't know how to delegate authority.

When his army faced off with Wei army led by Sima, his messengers were inquired by Sima on how Zhuge spent his time. The messenger said that Zhuge stayed late until 3/4 a.m. every night and even looked at details like the promotion of rank and file soldiers.

Gee.......That shouldn't be his job.

No wonder Zhuge died at just 50+. And he probably died of "kurosi" -- Japanese term for death due to exhaustation from overwork.

Moreover, Zhuge was too over-prudent and did not take General Wei's advice to launch a surpise attack at Wei's capital -- Loyang.

Since Shu was comparatively scarce in resource compared with Wei, the large scale military operations staged repeatedly by Zhuge had undermined its national strength.

I guessed Zhuge understood such principle. But he also knew that if he didn't engage in offensive, in the long term, it also worked at Shu's disadvantage since Wei could grow faster than Shu did.

What Zhuge did was "Do it even though he realizes that he cannot make it".

That is what he was great in.

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"Do it even though he realizes that he cannot make it"

I have been watching 走向共和, and just last night it said that "明知不可為而為之" is called "大忠" :roll: . Not a very smart principle of modern management, but a highly valued virtue in the past.

And we call it "愚忠" today. :wink:

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Zhuge Liang was hardly 愚忠.

He had a national plan even before Liu Bui visited him 3 times in the grass-thatched hut in Hubei.

(It was amazing how a 20+ years old scholar could have such perspective.)

His plan was only consecutively screwed up by Kuan Yu (the most over-boasted figure in both novel and history) and Liu Bei.

It was completely not Zhuge's fault.

Zhuge probably knew that it would be a tragic ending for Zhu but he tried best to buy time for some unpredictable and unforseeable changes (History had and has happened that way but not this time).

Moreover, Zhuge only devoted himself for Shu as kind of gratitude to how Liu had admired him.

I had visited the make-believe Zhuge's grass-thatched hut in Hubei 15 years ago. Standing there and imagining how Liu, Kuan and Zhang visited him there under heavy snow was really overwhelming!

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