When and how do we use the idiom 草船借箭?
I know where the story comes from — 《三国演义》— and I know the meaning. But I'm still not really clear in what situation I'd say this.
It's not a 成语, actually. As a Chinese person who was born and raised in mainland China, I've never ever used it as a 成语, and I've never heard anybody use it as a 成语. When our teacher told the story of 草船借箭 to us in primary school, she didn't say 草船借箭 is a 成语 at all. It's just a famous story. And we rarely talk about this story.
草船借箭 refers to one specific chapter in one specific novel. there's not much chance it comes up in common day to day conversation.
例 企业经营要善于 草船借箭
see comment #4 under the question
This example sound very odd. It is like saying " A man need to go Die Hard (refers to the movie) to stay alive". Someone who watched the movies, would understand 'go Die Hard' means 'be resourceful', because it was what the main character did to stay alive. But it is hardly an common idiom because there are many other things associated with the movies, you could say "go Die Hard" means " Do it all by oneself" or "be extremely violent"
It is the same with 草船借箭. The story can refer to :
able to anticipate other's action
clever use of deception
solve problem creatively
take from the enemy is twice as good as making it yourself (you gain on enemy's lost)
and some other things.
you can see it ,is usually quote it,not using it, it is same like “空手套白狼”，it meaning is like this joke "空手套白狼"means the ancient time, the empire found white wolf with nothing to loose (white wolf is good blessing in ancient china )