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The Art of War—Spirituality for Conflict: Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) Kindle Edition
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From the Author
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 256 pages
- Publisher : SkyLight Paths; 1st Edition (November 17, 2010)
- ASIN : B01HT6DGOY
- Publication Date : November 17, 2010
- File Size : 2056 KB
- Language: : English
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #723,022 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I would like to express a point that hasn't been made, however. The 6-page forward Marc Benioff wrote is alone worth the price you'll pay for the entire book. It is excellently written and Benioff tells the story of how he has employed the teachings of Sun Tzu every step of the way in building a $2 billion dollar company from the ground up over the past 14 years.
The key to unlocking the power of Sun Tzu is to take the strategies and tactics he presents and apply them to the every day challenges of your life and work. Benioff is a master of this and he identifies the exact teachings in the text that guided him in devising the creative and bold solutions to problems he faced in building Salesforce.com. Everyone's challenges are different, but the theory to overcoming them remains the same. Seeing how someone else has done it is extremely helpful to someone who seeks to learn how for themselves. You will observe your own creativity and boldness being stirred by the story.
Benioff also zeros in on a key point that you're unlikely to encounter elsewhere. In "The Art of War", this treatise on defeat and victory on the battlefield, there is a surprising theme at the heart of all Sun Tzu's counsel: Compassion. Personally, I find it inspiring that a Chinese general from 2,500 years ago presents the profound ideal of compassion that Marc Benioff lives by.
And I believe you will, too.
Initially I did not understand the reference to "spirituality" in this book's subtitle but as I read Thomas Huynh's Introduction, I realized that during my previous readings of The Art of War, I had misunderstood one of Sun Tzu's most important points: It is for reasons of compassion as well as practicality that every possible effort must be made to avoid combat. According to Huynh, "Sun Tzu's goal in writing The Art of War was not to glamorize warfare but to instruct military leaders in the best way to end an armed conflict as rapidly as possible or - even better - to prevent the outbreak of war in the first place. When Sun Tzu spoke of victory, this is what he meant - the prevention or quick resolution of conflict, not the conquering of your opponent." There is a scene near the conclusion of the film Fort Apache when Cochise tries and fails to negotiate an agreement with a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. Soon afterward, the officer and most of his men die in combat. As the dust clears, Cochise reappears carrying the regiment's flag and angrily slams its stanchion into the ground with obvious disgust. Yes, the Apaches are the victors this day but their leader feels nothing but sadness and frustration as well as rage because the loss of life could have been avoided.
What sets this edition apart from others of which I am aware is the insightful Foreword by Marc Benioff and Preface by Thomas Cleary in combination with a well-crafted translation by Huynh and the editors of Sonshi.com. They are supplemented by Huynh's annotations juxtaposed with the key passages on which he comments. Readers will also appreciate the provision of brief explanations of core concepts that are inserted throughout the narrative. The title of my review suggests that Huynh and his Sonshi associates have -- with extensive scholarship, rigorous analysis, and lively eloquence -- created a three-dimensional context or frame-of-reference for Sun Tzu's observations and insights. To the extent that it is possible to do so with a literary work, they have brought it to life. That is indeed a brilliant achievement.
For example, consider this introductory comment to Doing Battle: "According to Sun Tzu, a skillful military general [or any military leader] only does battle when there is no other option. Many disagreements can be solved without the situation escalating into actual confrontation or battle, which often exacts a heavy toll on both sides." Huynh's 13 exceptionally informative annotations accompany the narrative in which Sun Tzu explains how best to pursue and achieve the eminently worthy objective of avoiding direct combat.
With regard to "Formation," [it] means more than simply the physical position you take to face your adversary; to Sun Tzu, it is the position of invincibility your enemy cannot surmount. This state of invincibility reduces the number of conflicts you will have to face, because adversaries will quickly see the futility of trying to challenge you." Huynh's 10 exceptionally informative annotations accompany the narrative in which Sun Tzu explains how best to pursue and achieve another eminently worthy objective, avoiding direct combat by convincing an opponent that there is no way he opponent can prevail. On the contrary, the opponent will be annihilated.
I am so impressed by the results of their collaboration that I not only recommend this edition to everyone who has not as yet read The Art of War but also to those who now have other editions because, in this non-scholar's opinion, it would be difficult to gain an understanding and appreciation of the material that would otherwise not be possible without the assistance of Thomas Huynh, Marc Benioff, Thomas Cleary, and their associates.