The Book "The Art of War" was written by the philosopher General, Sun Tzu of ancient China in the 6th century BC. It was written around a time of great political turbulence and almost constant military activity. The Art of War is probably the oldest know text on the subject of military strategy and tactics.

Currently, the book has an extraordinary influence on the modern world. People from all areas of professions, from all walks of life: stock brokers, hackers, corporate executives, bankers, buyers, sellers, in-laws and notorious outlaws have all drawn inspiration and solid practical guidance from Sun Tzu's' 13 chapters.

The book was totally unknown to the western world until the year 1772. A French Jesuit priest named Jean Joseph Amiot, the Jesuit missionary to Pai King China, translated the book into French, where it was said to have been read by Napoleon Bonaparte. An English version became available after a translation was made by Captain Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905.

The period in which Sun Tzu's usually linked is the mid forth to the mid fifth century before the Common Era. This was a high point in the evolution of human wisdom and achievement.

Among Sun Tzu's near contemporaries were: Confucius, Zoroaster, Sophocles, Gautama Buddha, Pythagoras, and Herodotus, the prophets Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, Pericles of Athens. Religion, art, music, science, philosophy and literature flourished in the 4th and 5th century……So did war and conquest.

The 13 chapters in the book are about War, not a book of general philosophy, rather a professional manual on war. It was only meant to be available only to a select few, a secret type society of kings and generals, not to the public masses.

Today, the Art of War can be used as a sound and practical guide book for a number of scenarios that requires strategy such as: negotiating tactics, office politics, sports, day to day business management, corporate strategy, executive training even situations involving love and affairs of the heart.

If you are able to set in your mind and view every situation as a potential combat zone where the stakes are high and failure is not an option, where, if you loose, your world will come crashing down around you . Then, you can very well employ The Art of War in your every day endeavours to achieve your goals and aspirations. You will also be more skilful at avoiding pitfalls ,traps, barriers and obstacles in the way of you winning your battles with ease.

Chapter summary

Laying Plans:

An introduction to deception and Calculation.

Waging War:

The economy of war

Attack by stratagem:

Basic stratagem, Not fighting at all. The five essentials for victory

Tactical dispositions:

Defensive and offensive postures …winning with ease method and discipline

Energy…and Power:

The power of decision, combined energy

Weak Points and Strong:

Exploiting opportunism


How to win unavoidable confrontations

Variation in Tactics:

Advantage and disadvantage…the infinite variation of tactics….the five faults of generals or leaders

The Army on the March:

Understanding the enemy, training soldiers.

Terrain :

Six kinds of ground, balancing the forces within the army, Fame.

The 9 situation:

The types of situations pertaining to ground, changing plans and the advantage of adversity.

The Use of Spies:

The five sources the importance of information

Sun Tzu puts great emphasis on the usage of stratagem and intrigue as ways of outsmarting an enemy, without having to engage in a physical war with them. The Art of War teaches us to rely on the likelihood of the enemies not coming, but our own readiness to receive him. Not on the chance of his, not attacking; but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

This is why the book The Art of War is such a good read and study. It can be used in a variety of applications and or endeavours that are highly competitive but do not require any actual war like combat.

Sun Tzu said, "The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lays in our own hands .but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus; the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy".

Hence the saying: "One may know how to win but is unable to do it ".


"He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight" Sun Tzu.

"The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy so he cannot phantom our real intent"

.Emperor, Tai Sung {Commentator of Sun Tzu}

"Birds and beasts when brought to bay will use there claws and teeth"

Chen How. {Commentator of Sun Tzu}

"All warfare is based on deception" Sun Tzu.

"The best way to wage war is not to fight at all" Sun Tzu.

"The skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man the covetous man and the Stupid man. The wise man delights in establishing his merit, the brave man likes to show his courage in action; the covetous man is quick at seizing advantages and the stupid man has no fear of death. Du Mu. {Commentator of Sun Tzu}

Sources: The Art of War, adapted by Lionel Giles 1910.

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