Here’s the irony of my situation: I have material created over time that forms a complete course on all thirteen chapters of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. To create interest in this material, I need to promote this material. I would like to put it in an eBook format; even just as it is, it would be, with minor corrections and a broad typo hunt, a breath of fresh air to people who want to learn all about Sun Tzu, but who are prevented by doing so because… quite frankly, Sun Tzu is extremely concise and comes off to many as dry and impenetrable.
That’s where my course came in. I provide context by using examples from later eras, including the modern era, to show the relevance of a given passage or theme; elaboration extending the theme and weaving the tale; explanation that makes the material make sense to the reader; and everything after that is discussion, answering questions, fielding comments, etc., though the strength of my presentation has often made that step seem superfluous to the people who took my course. (Who are, I must say, the few and the proud.) The nicest compliment I received was that I had presented Sun Tzu in a way that wasn’t dry. That’s quite nice.
So what now? Ironically, my mission is to find the best way to give away samples for free… and I find it harder than you might think! What’s the best format? What’s the best medium? Sure, I have all of this in a PowerPoint format, but is that really the best way? So many challenges.
I will mention that I’ve found the PowerPoint format to be a very disciplining one. I have to insert good explanations in a way that doesn’t shrink the text size down, putting in maximum information with a minimum of waste. The good thing is that there’s no active copyright on the 1910 Giles translation of The Art of War, making the original book itself completely free for study, though as a former translator, I do take note that no translation is absolutely correct, and there’s usually room for tweaking the English presentation, even if the underlying gist is strong. (I’ve found the Giles translation far easier to extract the real meaning out of than some other translations I’ve seen.)
So how to provide free eBook samples to people? That is my mission.