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The Art of War Paperback – November 1, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
--Toronto Sun Times
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This translation has many typos and errors. Very sloppy. Find a different translation for this excellent textPublished 22 hours ago by TDBJ
Excellent, one of the best in the market for strategic thinking.Published 1 day ago by helmet010101
Four stars because it wasn't the book I expected, but still makes it's point. Can't complain for the price.Published 1 day ago by James Cronkhite
Every marketing dweeb is in love with this book!!!
We should not be at war for no reason but its a way to justify how to screw over the common man.