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The Art of War


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 15, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780195014761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195014761
  • ASIN: 0195014766
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (714 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The Art of War is among the greatest classics of military literature ever written. Sun Tzu warfare is as applicable today as when the book was written some 2,500 years ago....Pick up The Art of War and read it."--General A.M. Gray, Marine Corps Gazette


"As a reflection of the Chinese mind, this little work is as relevant as any Confucian classic."--The Times (London)


"Westerners have dozens of books to choose from if they want to learn about Japanese philosophy and military tactics....But when the Japanese, especially those in business, want information on the subject, many turn to an ancient Chinese, not Japanese, military manual, The Art of War....Shows managers how to be fearless in resolving conflicts."--Boardroom Reports


"Shows managers how to be fearless in resolving conflicts."--Boardroom Reports


"A brief tract on strategy that has been admired in China for centuries. Some of Mao Tse Tung's most eloquent thoughts are merely rehashes of Sun Tzu and his interpreters."--The Los Angeles Herald Examiner


"Samuel Griffith's original and scholarly translation of The Art of War shows how good scholarship can make an easily readable translation that is much more useful to modern readers."--The Philadelphia Inquirer


About the Author


The late Samuel B. Griffith is the author of The Battle for Guadalcanal and the editor and translator of Mao Tse-tung: "On Guerilla War".

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Customer Reviews

Easy to read and very understandable.
Henrik Andre Olsen
The translator has done a good job translating the original text and providing commentary.
Khaled Mahmoud Al Anani
Sun Tzu's The Art of War is a great book about strategy and battle.
Jason Crowley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

205 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Scott R. Dukart on March 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Art of War seems to be a classic piece of Chinese philosophy that is easy to translate into a mediocre work. I've read a number of translations of Sun Tzu that are clunky and have none of the wit of the original text. Now, I don't read ancient Chinese, but when a Chinese philisophical text reads like a manual for a microwave, you know something is lost in translation.

On the other hand, this translation, done by Thomas Cleary, showed me the subtlety in the Art of War. In addition to the work itself (which would make a very thin book) there is a long, interesting introduction written by the translator which I found very helpful in thinking about the Art of War, as well as helping to put the work in both a historical context, and the context amongst many of the other ancient Chinese philisophical works. How Sun Tzu's work relates to Taoism is very interesting. Also, there are selected commentation on each of the paragraphs of the Art of War. These commentaries were written over different periods of time by different Chinese philosophers. These help to show how many different points of view can exist over a single statement made by Sun Tzu.

I find this translation very well done, and I can easily recommend it to anyone who wants to read The Art of War.
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107 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Peter Mackay on May 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
War is ugly, dirty, brutal, wasteful and expensive. That is the reality of it. Let's not pretend otherwise.
Having said that, the ancient Chinese master strips away all the familiar trappings of war - the warriors, weapons, forts and tactics - to reveal the essence of conflict and how to win.
His lessons are as valid here and now as they were in an empire a long time ago and far, far away. It simply does not matter how you are fighting, what you are fighting over nor even why you are fighting. If you are forced into conflict with another, the lessons in this book will guarantee victory.
Brute strength, overwhelming force, super weapons, holding the high ground, none of these are required for victory. All that is needed is a leader who can understand and apply the principles of warfare.
Essentially it boils down to three ideas.
1. Know yourself.
2. Know your enemy.
3. Only fight when you can win.
Do this, and you will win competitions, elections, games. Anything that involves conflict. Even wars.
Sun Tzu's elegant language lays bare the principles of warfare, illustrating his lessons with examples from Ancient China. It is a thought-provoking, colourful and valuable book.
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205 of 221 people found the following review helpful By Virtus on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The translation is clumsy and needs improvement. Copy editing is sloppy. Numerous typos, misspellings, punctuation, and format errors. Serves as a cheap option, but would not recommend it for anyone seeking a quality copy to add to their collection or library.
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193 of 209 people found the following review helpful By John Doe on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This edition was published by Filiquarian Publishers and from a publishing perspective, this book appears to have been designed in a basic Word processing program. Shoddy, shoddy, work. Lacks creative design, weak choice of fonts, inconsistent spacing, erroneous punctuation symbols, etc. Additionally, one of the chapters was out of order. I'm speculating that the publisher didn't know how to read roman numerals and therefore placed the chapter incorrectly, and if they did, and there was a purpose for this, it should have been addressed in the non-existent introduction. The content of the book is fine, just buy an edition by a an established publisher rather than someone working from their basement.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
This ancient classic of 13 chapters was written over 2,500 years ago by the legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu. It is a must have for military buffs that enjoy reading about the tactics of the most succesful generals. It is rumored that Napoleon used a French translation of the Art of War to his advantage while conquering most of Europe, and he lost when he broke its principles.
The principles that are with in this ancient text can also be used in games of strategy, business conflicts, and the day to day battles of life.
Here are ten principles to give you a sample of the wisdom found in its pages:

Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance with out fighting.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

Spies are the most important element in war, because upon them depends an army's ability to move.

All warfare is based on deception.

The general who wins a battle makes many calculations before the battle is fought.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from a prolonged war.

The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals.

In war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. (So they can retreat).

Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained, fight not unless the position is critical.

Taken as a whole this is a book of wisdom and principles on how to win. I rank it in my top ten books I have ever read. It is a must have for any home library. The is a very small book that is quick and easy to read.
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