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Why Roger Stone’s book ‘Stone’s Rules’ Is the 21st century’s ‘Art of War’

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Let’s begin with three “Adams’ Rules” providing context for the 140 “Stone's Rules: How to Win at Politics, Business, and Style” — by political strategist Roger Stone, his sixth and latest book.

Rule #1: If you follow politics you have heard of Roger Stone.

Rule #2: Having heard of Roger Stone means you hold either a strong positive or negative opinion of the man — he leaves no middle ground — by design.

Rule #3: Loving or loathing Roger Stone should not preclude you from reading “Stone’s Rules” because it is a 21st-century version of "The Art of War." 

If you are unfamiliar with "The Art of War", it is a famous strategy and tactics manual written 2,500 years ago by Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist. In 2001 the best-selling book was introduced into pop culture as the favorite operating manual of television mobster Tony Soprano. But for centuries before the Mafia, “The Art of War” was studied by conquering generals and more recently by American generals while planning Desert Storm in Iraq.

Therefore, equating ‘Stone’s Rules’ to Sun Tzu’s ancient classic is not intended to be a frivolous comparison and here’s why:

Whether you admit it or not, you are engaged in “battle” while trying to accomplish your goals in this ultra-competitive world. Perhaps your objective is to make a name for yourself; get that promotion; grow your business; win a contract; sell a product or service, win a lawsuit; or run a marketing, sales, public relations, or political campaign. Whatever your field of endeavor, select and apply the “Stone’s Rules” that offer you a competitive edge. 

Thus, even if you detest the man and his politics you can still respect the wisdom and insight he has gained after spending thirty-years on the front lines serving eight Republican presidential candidates. Additionally, Stone has helped elect senators and governors and was involved in high level national/ international business transactions and problem-solving.

Stone’s extraordinarily colorful and influential career was chronicled in the Netflix movie, "Get Me Roger Stone,” released in May 2017. Amazingly (see Rule #7, “Miracles Do Happen”) three unknown documentarians started filming him in late 2011 — four years before Stone’s friend and associate of 40 years — a businessman by the name of Donald J. Trump — announced that he was running for president in June 2015.

Stone’s role in that campaign is a whole other story detailed in his 2017 book, "The Making of the President 2016."

Of course, “that campaign” still keeps Stone’s name in the headlines, affording him frequent guest appearances on cable news while he travels the nation promoting “Stone’s Rules” and engaging Rule #81 in real time: “Admit nothing; deny everything, launch counterattack.”

Recently reporting on Stone’s involvement in the latest chapter of the Trump/Russia collusion saga the Washington Examiner wrote, “Stone has not been charged by Mueller nor has he been accused of any wrongdoing by the respective House and Senate intelligence committees.”

Stone’s 140 rules is an instruction book for our dog-eat-dog world where there is increasingly less compromise and more conflict, written by a polarizing man who is a controversy magnet.

Conversely, for those who only know Stone from his public persona as a “troublemaker” and “dirty trickster,” the book pulls back the curtain to reveal an educated, and sophisticated man whose rules incorporate established benchmarks for success on today’s battlefield. Rules cover such tactics as attacking your enemy, proper dress, personal style, determination, creativity, persistence, understanding yourself, being organized, the importance of planning, reaching higher, using the media to your advantage, and following through, to name a few.

There are simple rules like #44 “Write it down” where Stone intersperses old-fashioned wisdom with a Nixon-era White House antidote while teaching the reader how to be more effective on a daily basis. Rule #128 is also one worth noting, “Make your most difficult phone call first.” That advice was given to Stone by the late legendary senator from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond who taught Stone, “You must deliver the bad news early in the day, or it will never get made.”

“Stone’s Rules – How to Win at Politics, Business and Style” with a forward by Tucker Carlson, is a unique conglomeration of dress for success, personality, humor, history, and storytelling assembled on heavy glossy paper with color photos, making it an exceptionally attractive and entertaining book.

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” written around the year 450 BC has given way to the “Art of the Rules” – “Stone’s Rules” a new classic strategic and tactical manual for the war you are waging on today’s battlefield and how to emerge victoriously. 

And if you don’t, there’s Rule #13 “Never quit” and Rule #93 “Reinvent yourself” to help you win the next time around.

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