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A guide to learn the ways of deception

The Meaning of Deception

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Deception: a deeply controversial concept which has often been misanderstood

The word deception comes from the Latin decipere (de- and capere), that is, "grasp and remove", meaning "lure" and "trap", and comes to the English language through Old French. From the beginning, the word was given a negative connotation, because it is considered synonymous to fraud. The condemnation of the use of deception and trickery as a morally reprehensible practice, a shameful expedient and an unlawful conduct has prevented the study of deception as an integral part of strategy, at least in the Western world. When we develop a plan to achieve a goal in a given time, and using a certain amount of resources, we have always to face circumstances, people, organizations and limitations that hinder our purpose. One way to solve this problem is to take direct action against what opposes us. This choice of a direct approach to problems can rarely produce a satisfactory solution, but always manages to produce bitter and costly conflict. A more intelligent and more useful option to implement our strategy is to hide its purpose and its most delicate steps from those who might be interested into opposing it. The best way to hide our purpose is to induce potential antagonists to look elsewhere, while we try to achieve it, or even to mislead our opponents to perceive our purpose in such a way to believe that its achievement is to their (real or illusory) advantage. In this way, we can turn an obstacle into an asset, reducing the potential for conflict that is otherwise triggered to our disadvantage. This ability to take advantage of the characteristics of a situation and change the behavior of potential adversaries in a manner more favorable to our intentions, is the ultimate meaning of deception. Therefore, this website is not concerned with frauds, hoaxes or trickery; instead, it investigates the idea of deception as a tool of analysis and strategy.

Corso di Strategia e stratagemmi negoziali

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Un'occasione per imparare tutte le possibilità di manipolazione che i normali corsi di negoziato collaborativo (Win-Win) vi ammoniscono a NON impiegare

Il corso si articola su tre ambiti. Il primo è quello dell'analisi delle informazioni – che rinvia alla necessità di conoscere se stessi e il proprio avversario prima di elaborare una strategia. Il secondo ambito è quello dello studio della deception e degli stratagemmi, per acquisire una conoscenza progressivamente più sofisticata della logica e degli strumenti dell'inganno, anche ai fini della counter-deception, ovvero della protezione dall'inganno altrui. Il terzo ambito è quello dell'utilizzo dell'inganno nella negoziazione. Questo specifico impiego è possibile soltanto dopo aver imparato come funzionano gli stratagemmi e presuppone una certa dimestichezza con le nozioni correnti di come impostare e svolgere un negoziato. I partecipanti acquisiranno una conoscenza di base della materia che consentirà loro di comprendere i meccanismi essenziali degli stratagemmi e le modalità del loro impiego. La seconda giornata si concentrerà sugli aspetti più comuni dell'inganno nelle trattative: la manipolazione della composizione delle delegazioni, la manipolazione dell'interazione tra delegazioni asimmetriche, l'uso dello spazio e del tempo nel negoziato, la manipolazione dei résumé e dei documenti, la ricostruzione di un piano negoziale compromesso, la gestione delle arene decisionali, la gestione delle risorse materiali e immateriali.


Deception Training for Managers

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A stratagem can save a company, two stratagems can make it profitable again, three stratagems can make it a market leader

Once the the administration has been re-organized, and the production has been rationalized, and the costs have been cut, and the efficiency of the stocks and supplies management has been increased, and the financial management has been refined, then every company – be it large, medium or small – becomes aware that its competitiveness in the face of its global competitors is a matter of quality in training human resources. In this respect, it is more and more difficult to choose how to invest money and time. This is all the more relevant to the higher value-added roles, like management, and the sales departments. Training is offered in almost every field of human knowledge, but there is a special expertise which is not being offered elsewhere. Business Deception training course consists of four training levels:

Basic course

Intermediate course

Advanced course

Special course



Deception training for companies which are doing business in China

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Learn how to protect yourself against Chinese stratagems

Many Companies which are doing business in China have to face unprecedented problems in dealing with their local partners behavior, which is often puzzling, sometimes disconcerting, in some cases seriously harmful. Even to countries very familiar with deception – like Italy – the number of stratagems nonchalantly employed by the Chinese is a new and quite unpleasant experience. Large multinational companies as well as small enterprises which chose to expand their business in the Far East have suffered heavy financial setbacks caused by the ambiguous, enigmatic and insidious attitude of their Chinese partners. They had also the chance to learn how insufficient is the legal protection China is able or willing to offer to their business.

However, there is a very special knowledge, which is completely ignored by a large part of managers and companies. This is the knowledge of the traditional Chinese strategic thinking and use of deception. It's not just a matter of bargaining skill and shrewdness, neither of competence in preparing your offer nor of diligence in redacting contracts. Beyond the linguistic and cross-cultural differences, there is a further chasm to be bridged in order for us to understand the words, the intentions and the actions of our Chinese partners. This knowledge is collected and preserved in very ancient books, and many of them are nowadays easily available in libraries and bookshops.


Articolo del Corriere della Sera

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Articolo del Corriere della Sera del 4 febbraio 2011

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