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“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Sun Tzu - The Art of War


The moment Man The Fuck Up morphed from a t-shirt slogan to a cause/movement was a very surreal experience. When we began, I thought it was going to be just a matter of regurgitating motivational quotes and printing them on t-shirts with whatever bold font was trending at the time. How hard can that be? (Answer: A lot harder than I thought, but that’s a topic for another time). Funny thing happened once we got going...we soon realized that with people looking to us for motivation, with our community looking to us to help make a change, that we were going to need to put a whole lot more thought into everything we did.

One of my favorite books is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I remember watching the movie Wall Street and one of the things I remembered most about the movie was Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) quoting Sun Tzu to a young stockbroker named Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) - “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” I was too young at the time to know what the fuck that meant, but something about it intrigued me and piqued my interest to the point that I went and bought my first copy of the book. I thought Gekko was bad-ass and if that book motivated and taught that character something that I should be able to learn something from it too.

Wall Street (1987) - Oliver Stone classic

I remember reading that book over and over. I had notes written in every margin as I attempted to figure out what Sun Tzu was trying to say and how I was going to apply sixth century war strategy to my life. I’ve forgotten most of the lessons from the book but as I was designing the new graphics for the 2017 fall/winter hoodie one of the passages from the book hit me. If I’m going to take this on and focus my energy and effort building a brand that can affect change, then I’m going to do it right. And just like the movement itself, just like the people who wear the brand, we are going to “fall like a thunderbolt”.

This was the first of many copies that I've purchased over the years