Sun Tzu’s Art of War

THERE was no greater war leader and strategist than the Chinese military general Sun Tzu.

Sun Wu better known as Sun Tzu  was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed to have written The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as an author of The Art of War and through legend. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society, and his work has continued to influence both Asian and Western culture and politics. 

Historians have questioned whether or not Sun Tzu was an authentic historical figure. Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China (722 – 481 BC) as a military general serving under King Helü of Wu, who lived c. 544 – 496 BC. Scholars accepting his historicity, place his supposed writing The Art of War in the Warring States Period (476 – 221 BC), based on the descriptions of warfare in the text. Traditional accounts state that his descendant, Sun Bin, also wrote a treatise on military tactics, titled Sun Bin’s Art of War. Both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese writings, and some historians thought that Sun Wu was in fact Sun Bin until Sun Bin’s own treatise was discovered in 1972. Source: http://wordsworth-editions.com

Here’s his philosophy on how to win in various aspects of your life. 

  “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” 
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” 

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” 
― Sun Tzu, 
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” 
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” 
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” 
“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected .” 
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” 
“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.” 
“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.” 
“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: 
1 He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. 
2 He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
3 He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. 
4 He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. 
5 He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.” 
“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” 
“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.” 
“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.” 
“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.” 
“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. 

There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of
them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.” 

“When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.” 
“who wishes to fight must first count the cost” 
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.” 
“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” 
“Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.” 
“What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.” 
“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it. ” 
“Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.” 
“The wise warrior avoids the battle.” 
“The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.” 
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” 
“He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.” 
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