The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in t...

Title:The Art of War
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1590302257
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:273 pages

The Art of War Reviews

  • Sporkurai

    Evidently, it seems, for the last couple thousand years, EVERYONE has been using the same textbook on how to conduct a war. It also seems to be that nobody even knows for sure who wrote the book or when, but everyone uses it anyway. Included in this book are precious reminders that strategy helps you win, retreating helps you not die, if you outnumber the enemy 5 to 1, attacking would probably be a good idea, and also if you're a tiny country surrounded by powerful countries, it might be time to

    Evidently, it seems, for the last couple thousand years, EVERYONE has been using the same textbook on how to conduct a war. It also seems to be that nobody even knows for sure who wrote the book or when, but everyone uses it anyway. Included in this book are precious reminders that strategy helps you win, retreating helps you not die, if you outnumber the enemy 5 to 1, attacking would probably be a good idea, and also if you're a tiny country surrounded by powerful countries, it might be time to make an alliance or two. If these sound like things you don't already know, but would like to know, then this book is for you. However, in the off-chance you're in a position to command a war against enemy forces, and you DON'T study this book THOROUGHLY, you're probably going to die. Horribly. And all your country's women, children, and probably most of the men will be raped and slaughtered in such gruesome manner as to make those easily victorious soldiers who just did the raping and slaughtering vomit from their own gruesomeness.

  • Tom Marotta

    So many little wars must be waged daily. Works on the battlefield and the office.

    CLASSICS:

    "When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move."

    "In conflict, straightforward actions generally lead to engagement, surprising actions generally lead to victory."

    "Thus those skilled in war subdue the enemy's army without battle .... They conquer by strategy."

    "Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are igno

    So many little wars must be waged daily. Works on the battlefield and the office.

    CLASSICS:

    "When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move."

    "In conflict, straightforward actions generally lead to engagement, surprising actions generally lead to victory."

    "Thus those skilled in war subdue the enemy's army without battle .... They conquer by strategy."

    "Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy, but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril."

    "In war, numbers alone confer no advantage."

    "To ... not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues."

    "What is of the greatest importance in war is extraordinary speed: One cannot afford to neglect opportunity."

  • Petra Eggs

    Simply put, Sun Tzu says that it is better not to fight than to be involved in a conflict, but if you are going to have to fight, then you have to do it to win, and these are the various strategies, often brutal, that will get you that result.

    Niccolò Machiavelli, in

    says if you are in a position of power and seek to maintain it, it is better to be loved and respected, but if you can't achieve that, then at least enforce respect and these are the, often brutal, strategies that will get

    Simply put, Sun Tzu says that it is better not to fight than to be involved in a conflict, but if you are going to have to fight, then you have to do it to win, and these are the various strategies, often brutal, that will get you that result.

    Niccolò Machiavelli, in

    says if you are in a position of power and seek to maintain it, it is better to be loved and respected, but if you can't achieve that, then at least enforce respect and these are the, often brutal, strategies that will get that result.

    I say, if you are going to be a politician in the generally-winning party and you don't like reading much, The Prince is for you. Very sly. If however you see yourself in opposition, arguing your point, try Sun Tzu first.

    For the rest of us the books are short and make interesting historical and somewhat philosophical reading but they aren't going to change your life other than giving you a leg up on the intellectual book ladder, always a plus for the pseuds!

  • Alejandro

    I can't think in a better quote to begin this review.

    Sometimes, reading books about war tactics or novels of the genre of war, is confused with glorify wars, destruction, death and all sad things that are results of a war. But, at least, in my case (I can't speak for others) it's not that. I don't glorify war. One of my favorite historical subjects is World War II, but it's not because an insane instinct of glorify war. I just support the concept that any per

    I can't think in a better quote to begin this review.

    Sometimes, reading books about war tactics or novels of the genre of war, is confused with glorify wars, destruction, death and all sad things that are results of a war. But, at least, in my case (I can't speak for others) it's not that. I don't glorify war. One of my favorite historical subjects is World War II, but it's not because an insane instinct of glorify war. I just support the concept that any person who forget the past or don't doing anything to learn about the past, he/she will be cursed to repeat history.

    In the case of this particular book,

    , besides the obvious reading by people in military careers, it's a recommended lecture to people in areas such as business, in special for management, and certainly you can apply many of the lessons of the book to almost any field of interaction with others where a "victory" is involved.

    Without deception, the WWII couldn't be won, since while the real invading forces of D-Day were arriving to Normandy's beaches, the core of Nazi's forces were in other place falling to false messages and even a false settlement with even fake tanks that in pictures taken from the air looked like the real deal.

    Hard lessons about this can be learn from the conflict in Vietnam, just to name the quickest example that came to my mind.

    Giving a rest to the horrors of real wars, this lesson is an interesting explanation of why adventure stories are always so captivating. Since, you never saw a "hero" facing a weak opponent. In real life is quite wise and logical to do it, but in fictional literature? Oh, you always read about the underdog battling against the odds and fighting a very stronger enemy. I guess that sometimes logic can be boring against the excitement of tall challenges.

    Easily this can be the fragment that I liked the most to read in this book, since after reading it, well, my first thought was about Captain Jean-Luc Picard from

    , since in fiction, usually almost any leading character hardly will fall to the fault #2, but many times, for the sake of excitement and showing daring scenes, some leaders are faulty to one of more than one of those mentioned faults. Again, the conflict between practical logic against excitement.

    A good example of lessons about war and leadership can be seen in the recent film

    where in a film industry willing to give as much warfare and destruction without delay for the sake of selling tickets, in this movie, you can watch to "Caesar", the leader of the rising Ape community and his struggles to avoid war at all costs since he knows well how hard and costly can be the losses of any war, not matter if you resulted in the "victorious" one.

    Sadly, wars is part of the humankind, since I think that even in those so-called "peace times", always, in some place, in a small scale or in a bigger scale, there has been a war. So, learning how to avoid a war, and if you have to do it, learning how to carry it out with the fewer loss of human lives (of both sides of the conflict), always is a relevant topic.

  • Anne

    Hey! Look at me stepping outside my comfort zone!

    I saw this audiobook in the library, and I thought it looked interesting.

    Hell, I've got 4 kids. This could come in handy.

    Next year I'll have not

    , but

    teenage boys. I need to prepare myself to defend my

    home from the invading

    hoards. I figured this book would help me

    (

    ) when you head into battle.

    Still, even teenage boys

    in compa

    Hey! Look at me stepping outside my comfort zone!

    I saw this audiobook in the library, and I thought it looked interesting.

    Hell, I've got 4 kids. This could come in handy.

    Next year I'll have not

    , but

    teenage boys. I need to prepare myself to defend my

    home from the invading

    hoards. I figured this book would help me

    (

    ) when you head into battle.

    Still, even teenage boys

    in comparison to the sheer terror that comes with sharing a home with pre-pubescent girls...

    I can definitely use the help of a master strategist. Although, in retrospect, I actually have one of those living with me. She's 10, and she's been fully in charge of my home since she clawed her way out of my womb. My husband says I was hallucinating (

    ), but I swear I saw her gnaw off her own umbilical cord.

    She's ruthless, clever, and has the smile of an angel.

    Anyway, I could have skipped this, and simply begged for the honor to sit at her feet and learn.

    But the cover said this was only a 4 1/2 hour book.

    Confession time: I did

    make it all the way through the audiobook.

    I did,

    , make it all the way through

    . That part of it was short. I don't know what the actual length of time was, but I listened to it while I was making dinner, and then took it with me on a short jaunt to Wal-mart.

    The rest of this particular audio is supposedly speculation about Sun Tzu's life, and a history lesson on the politics of the time he lived in.

    All the names bled together in my head, and the words just sort of sloshed around inside my brain till I finally gave up on it.

    I'm not saying is was badly done or boring, but my tiny dinosaur brain isn't built to process books without pictures. So listening to someone with a smooth jazzy voice read from a history book, is just like

    for some sort of an internal meltdown to happen up there.

    So.

    I actually don't feel like Mr. Tzu had much to say that would help me out.

    I mean, a there were a few things translated into real life...

    Duh.

    Double duh. I've got every one of my kids on the payroll, and they each think they're the only mole I've got. Suckers!

    Hello? Why do you think I'm out at the pool all day long with them? It's not like I enjoy basking in the glow of my cellulite, all while gaining a few more liver spots. If Sun Tzu had mentioned dosing the enemy with Benadryl before long trips, I would have been more impressed.

    A lot of it, however, was about how to fight on different types of terrain. Swampy, mountainous, flat, etc..

    I need some sort of inside scoop that's going to give me an edge over the full blown she-devil I live with, the smaller demon-in-training (currently under the tutelage of the aforementioned she-devil), and the two walking hormones that used to be my little boys!

    Anyhoo, I'm glad I

    listened to it. It's one of those books you need to

    ...not read, though. So, I'm

    sure I missed the vast majority of wisdom by doing it this way.

    But so what? I can say I've read it!

  • Michelle

    This was on the "Surprise Yourself" stack at the library. It was a choice between "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "The Art of War". I took the latter even if I think I'm more of a lover than a fighter. Besides, the stack was on the front desk, choosing the former is kinda awkward. I am quite surprised I finished this book. I felt like I subjected myself to study even if I'm not required to do so. It's actually quite entertaining, more so that I know that there won't be a test later.

    Despite the title

    This was on the "Surprise Yourself" stack at the library. It was a choice between "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "The Art of War". I took the latter even if I think I'm more of a lover than a fighter. Besides, the stack was on the front desk, choosing the former is kinda awkward. I am quite surprised I finished this book. I felt like I subjected myself to study even if I'm not required to do so. It's actually quite entertaining, more so that I know that there won't be a test later.

    Despite the title, the text (I don't know if I should call it a primer) is more concerned with nonviolent strategy: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” it declares. Sun Tzu appears to regard war as a necessary, but wasteful, evil, and one to be avoided whenever possible. He made a lot of useful and brilliant points but this all I can remember. Most of the stuff I have read just went down the drain!

    Like I said, I'm a lover, not fighter! Buwahahaha!

  • Bill Paxton

    Awesome book... Pretty amazing insights. What I really loved is the fact that much of the insights can be used in today's fiercely competitive corporate scenarios as well. Must read! I bought this book at special price from here:

  • Alex Farrand

    I listened to

    for a few reasons; 1) It was only a hour long, 2) It was free because I am an Amazon Prime member, 3) It was narrated by Aiden Gillen, also known as Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger. So, I jumped into it, and listened to it during a car ride.

    is a well versed, and short guide book to strategize, and tactically win a war. There were tons of great advice, and still relatable today. I would go even deeper that it doesn't entirely reflect on physical warfare

    I listened to

    for a few reasons; 1) It was only a hour long, 2) It was free because I am an Amazon Prime member, 3) It was narrated by Aiden Gillen, also known as Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger. So, I jumped into it, and listened to it during a car ride.

    is a well versed, and short guide book to strategize, and tactically win a war. There were tons of great advice, and still relatable today. I would go even deeper that it doesn't entirely reflect on physical warfare, but a verbal confrontation or debate would suffice Sun Tze's philosophical meanings. Even playing chess I could take his guide book, and reflect on the game.

    It was quite an interesting book, and I found myself grinning at a few verses. Other times I thought to myself what he was saying was really obvious, but again I wouldn't think about it. Sometimes I don't always notice the obvious, but good thing someone points it out. At the end, I don't think I would apply to be a general. I wouldn't be a great general. I am too impatient, and my emotions would get the better of me. I would sometimes take the bait, and I don't always see the full picture. You should see me play chess.

    Lastly, my imagination formulated a great picture while listening, and it was due to the narrator. By the way he did a great job.

    . Since Aiden Gillen is the little sly bastard Littlefinger on the HBO series

    , I imagined Littlefinger sitting by a fire, in a plush chair, reading

    over and over again. Littlefinger was soaking the information to guide him to play the game, and to win. Here are a few examples of how he uses the book to his advantage: Scouts are important to win the battle, which he has to watch everyone. He sweetens his words to gain ground when there is weakness, and says nothing at all when the enemy is vigilant. He BAITS his enemies to attack, and knows how to TRAP them. Littlefinger you sly devil.

    It was an interesting read, and I recommend it. You could learn something from it. Happy reading.

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