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The Art of War [Abridged] [Hardcover]

Sun Tzu , Thomas Cleary
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (989 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 13, 2009 1590307437 978-1590307434 Har/Com Re
Compiled more than two thousand years ago, the Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world today. A study of the anatomy of forces in conflict, it has been discovered by modern business people, who understand the principles it contains are as useful for understanding the interactions of modern corporations as they are for understanding the tactics of ancient Chinese armies. This illustrated edition includes two audio CDs read by Lloyd James.

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The Art of War + The Book of Five Rings + The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition (The Art of Wisdom)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Art of War is the Swiss army knife of military theory--pop out a different tool for any situation. Folded into this small package are compact views on resourcefulness, momentum, cunning, the profit motive, flexibility, integrity, secrecy, speed, positioning, surprise, deception, manipulation, responsibility, and practicality. Thomas Cleary's translation keeps the package tight, with crisp language and short sections. Commentaries from the Chinese tradition trail Sun-tzu's words, elaborating and picking up on puzzling lines. Take the solitary passage: "Do not eat food for their soldiers." Elsewhere, Sun-tzu has told us to plunder the enemy's stores, but now we're not supposed to eat the food? The Tang dynasty commentator Du Mu solves the puzzle nicely, "If the enemy suddenly abandons their food supplies, they should be tested first before eating, lest they be poisoned." Most passages, however, are the pinnacle of succinct clarity: "Lure them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion" or "Invincibility is in oneself, vulnerability is in the opponent." Sun-tzu's maxims are widely applicable beyond the military because they speak directly to the exigencies of survival. Your new tools will serve you well, but don't flaunt them. Remember Sun-tzu's advice: "Though effective, appear to be ineffective." --Brian Bruya --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Thomas Cleary's translation of Sun Tzu's 2,000-year-old Art of War makes immediately relevant one of the greatest Chinese classical texts. There's not a dated maxim or vague prescription in it. ‘To win without fighting is best,’ Sun Tzu said. For him, war was coeval with life. Absorb this book, and you can throw out all those contemporary books about management leadership.”—Newsweek

"This volume of ancient Chinese wisdom is consistently rated higher than most modern leadership books.”—Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Har/Com Re edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590307437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590307434
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (989 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
213 of 216 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Translation of a Classic 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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115 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Timeless Beauty of War 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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214 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic that has practical application February 20, 2001
Format:Paperback
I got this particular edition of Sun Tzu's Art of War at a strategy course for sales. I already had a copy of it at home, but this edition is so nicely done that I gave my old copy away and kept this one. The introduction of James Clavell is a nice touch.
It is amazing to me that this book is not read in high schools or colleges in favor of Machiavelli's work (The Prince or The Art of War.) Sun Tzu's writing is clear and to the point. Unlike the popular Book of Five Rings by Musashi, this book is not metaphorical and poetic; it's downright practical. And it's not hard to read, unlike many classics.
If you are doing business in China, this is also a good book to know. I mentioned some of the classic strategies while giving a course in China, and every member of the class had read it, knew it well, and gave me many examples from recent Chinese history where Sun Tzu's strategies were employed. This book is close to their hearts, and will give you insight if you are doing business in the East.
Of course, the most famous anecdote from this book is about gaining the obedience of troops; the emperor, wishing to interview Sun Tzu for the commission of general, asked if Sun Tzu's military principles could be applied to women. Sun Tzu replied yes, the principles worked for women as well as men. Accordingly, Sun Tzu was given the task of organizing the emperor's many concubines into an army. Sun Tzu lined up the concubines and set the two favorites as officers at the head of the columns.
He gave them a simple set of orders to march and drill (eyes front, right face, about face. The drums sounded and instead of following the commands, the girls simply giggled and blushed.
He repeated the orders again, saying that if the orders were not clear, it is first the fault of the general.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless piece of history written for the future. October 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I cannot remember who introduced me to "The Art of War", but I know I could not hold onto the book for very long. Each friend I thought would benefit from the ancient words of Sun Tzu received a copy from me. I went through seven copies before buying the hard cover for my collection.
I found James Clavell's version quite difficult to find, but well worth it - due to clarity of reading and balance.
I tried reading Cleary's version, but could not get through the first chapter. However, I did purchase "Mastering the Art of War" by Cleary; finding it a better tour guide.
Clavell's "Art of War" offers tactical insight on overcoming an opponent whether it be war, work, relationships, or your own personal demons.
Sun Tzu created a timeless piece of history written for the future. I personally feel that today's society needs to look back, master the art of war, in order to repair the future.
Today I'm buying book #9 for a person who inspired me... I wanted to return the favor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars book it
great copy. quick delivery.
Published 4 hours ago by bogorgod
5.0 out of 5 stars Applicable in more ways than one
The Art of War, by Sun Tzu is an easy yet interesting read. Once you really start to dig into it you realize that a lot of the thoughts and ideas are applicable to becoming a... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Andrew Olsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book download was easy price was right.
Published 1 day ago by P. Allers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product and fast shipping!
Published 4 days ago by victor dominguez jr
5.0 out of 5 stars a gift
bought as a gift. Reader was very happy
Published 4 days ago by C. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book, highly recommend
Published 6 days ago by B. Schnirel
5.0 out of 5 stars I am the new CEO thanks to this book.
I have successfully taken over my company thanks to this inspiring piece of work.
Published 7 days ago by m regidor
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic on offensive strategy!
A beautifully lucid translation of Sun Zi's classic on offensive strategy. Though the work itself is relatively brief and might even be read in a single setting, it bears multiple... Read more
Published 7 days ago by R. Griswold
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice for conflict, not a guide to life.
This book explains the art of war. Office politics can be war. If you must use the tactics in this book be warned you tread on dangerous ground that can end your career but if... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Spencer Little
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