Chess, strategy, 5 moves and 17 books

Strategy and chess. Business, like chess, is a game of thinking several moves ahead. Patrick Bet-David, the author of “Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy”, thinks that five moves are the sweet spot of thoughtful strategy and swift action. Five moves are enough to ensure you anticipate future outcomes and see moves and countermoves. What sets good strategists apart is their ability to anticipate.

Five meta moves

According to the book, there are five meta moves.

  1. Move 1 is about knowing yourself, a topic rarely talked about in business circles. What you’ll see is that thinking ahead is impossible without self-awareness.
  2. Move 2 is about the ability to reason. I’ll show you how to process issues and provide a methodology to deal with any decision you’ll face, no matter what the stakes.
  3. Move 3 is about understanding others so you can build the right team around you.
  4. Move 4 is about how to implement a strategy to scale to create exponential growth.
  5. Move 5 is about power plays. We’ll discuss how you can beat the Goliath in your industry.


You become who you are by learning who you are. Studying yourself helps you reach self-acceptance, which liberates you from self-judgment. Self-awareness is the key to unlocking success.  Full of the usual:

  • Those who can tolerate pain the most—the ones with the most endurance—give themselves the highest chance of winning in business.
  • The only thing separating us from greatness is a vision and a plan for achieving greatness. When you’re fighting for a cause, a dream, or something greater than yourself, you will find the enthusiasm, passion, and joy that make life a great adventure.
  • Embody who you want to be by living your future truth.
  • Whom do you want to be? That’s the question we started with, and it’s the one we’ll end with. The only way to answer it is by becoming clear about the life you want to live. In doing so, you will immediately embody that person and act as if you are already there.
  • When you’re honest about who you are, you learn to stop wanting everything.
  •  Do you have a code of honour? Do you embody it?

It all boils down to the fact that alignment is the key to fulfilment. Keep these things in mind: Your vision must align with who you want to be. Your choices must align with your vision. Your effort must align with the size of your vision. Your behaviour must align with your values and principles.


The book reference a lot of other books, such as Principles, 33 Strategies of War, and blue ocean strategy. The book jumps from  topic to topic and is very complete (but bitty):

Some tips from the book

  • Strategy is transferable. Desire is not.
  • Everyone needs a consigliere: 
  • Create a principles-based culture
  • Never compromise on nonnegotiables. 
  • Micromanage until there is trust. 
  • Be radically open-minded but not easily persuaded. 
  • Fight any temptation to lower expectations and standards. 
  • Create an environment where our team is taken care of financially and professionally.
  • We need friction in all areas of our lives.
  • The key word in the expression “tough love” is “love.” If you want love without conflict, get a dog.
  • Trust = speed
  • Trust is multi-dimensional, not one-dimensional.
  • Time is money. 
  • love you, but please sign the prenuptial agreement
  • No matter what stage your business is in, you need a plan for capitalizing on it.
  • Being around strong CEOs who are constantly raising their standards can be uncomfortable.
  • Focus on regret minimization
  • Codify your knowledge
  • Transparency is the ultimate performance-enhancing drug.
  • Business is war. Or, to put it another way, for a business, peace never exists. 
  • Business is a bloodbath.
  • Get complacent for one minute, and you’re going to be toast.
  • Make friends with Murphy’s law.
  • Admit defeat by accepting small losses.
  • Once you’ve entered a chaotic situation, you’re vulnerable to decision paralysis. To avoid this problem, commit to deciding on your next three steps quickly.
  • You need a small circle of people around you who will tell you the truth.
  • Recognize how unproductive it is to take things personally. Your ego is your enemy.
  • Show me a successful CEO with decades of longevity, and I’ll show you a CEO who has stayed paranoid. Stay alert; stay alive.
  • You’ll have to stay healthy to have the energy to compete.
  • Be shameless about self-promotion
  • Have a personality. Be bold. Be brash (if that’s who you are). Be engaging. Trumpet yourself when you’re right. Poke fun at yourself when you’re wrong. Accept the loss when you’re wrong.
  • Instead of name-dropping, book-drop. If you can give two or three book recommendations in a business conversation with somebody, in that person’s mind, you’re a well-read autodidact.
  • Committing to incremental success will help you outimprove anyone.
  • Study mobsters. There’s a reason why so many CEOs and leaders consider The Godfather (parts I and II) more education than entertainment.
  • Remember that the “gift of gab” is overrated. What’s underrated is conviction.
  • Real power is having options.
  • The number one factor in reaching your potential is simple: It must matter to you.


The book has a Grant Cardone, blood-on-the-wall approach to business, which is refreshing. Covers a lot of topics. It is a plea for entrepreneurship and controlling your own destiny. And a plea to use entrepreneurship to solve the world’s problems. We both believe that many of the world’s problems are going to be solved by business.

sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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