The Art of War

The Art of War

[Sunzi Bing Fa]

eBook - 1994
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The definitive translation of Sun-tzu's timeless classic of military strategy, Art of War

Art of War is almost certainly the most famous study of strategy ever written and has had an extraordinary influence on the history of warfare. The principles Sun-tzu expounded were utilized brilliantly by such great Asian war leaders as Mao Tse-tung, Giap, and Yamamoto. First translated two hundred years ago by a French missionary, Sun-tzu's Art of War has been credited with influencing Napoleon, the German General Staff, and even the planning for Desert Storm. Many Japanese companies make this book required reading for their key executives. And increasingly, Western businesspeople and others are turning to the Art of War for inspiration and advice on how to succeed in competitive situations of all kinds.

Unlike most editions of Sun-tzu currently available (many simply retreads of older, flawed translations), this superb translation makes use of the best available classical Chinese manuscripts, including the ancient "tomb text" version discovered by archaeologists at Linyi, China.

Ralph Sawyer, an outstanding Western scholar of ancient Chinese warfare and a successful businessman in his own right, places this classic work of strategy in its proper historical context. Sawyer supplies a portrait of Sun-tzu's era and outlines several battles of the period that may have either influenced Sun-tzu or been conducted by him. While appreciative of the philosophical richness of the Art of War , this edition stresses Sun-tzu's practical origins and presents a translation that is both accurate and accessible.

Publisher: Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 1994.
ISBN: 9780465013272
Characteristics: 1 online resource (375 pages) : illustrations.
Alternative Title: Sunzi bing fa

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gomiami1972
Jul 20, 2018

It gets 3 1/2 stars for two main reasons. First, I accept that some information is lost in translation but this is not a translation but a transliteration, which makes it even more dubious that I am getting the author's words and meanings rather than the translator's. This is the third version I have read and all three WIDELY differ. All of them contain stunning material but are these the thoughts of a Chinese general 2,500 years ago or the thoughts of a 20th century individual? Even native Chinese speakers can't agree on the meaning of certain characters.

Second, the text is obviously corrupt in many ways. Whole sections appear to be missing and, in a few chapters, other Chinese authors (albeit Chinese authors from antiquity) have inserted material. This is not surprising given the age of the text so this is not a criticism...it simply is a fact.

Overall, despite these limitations, The Art of War is a tremendous read, more for what it does not say rather than what it spells out, giving the reader head space to draw our own conclusions. Such a shame that the full, original text is not extant.

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MrGouda
Jun 27, 2018

This is basically a book with various proverbs from Sun Tzu with annotations from various sages and ancient generals. There are some very good nuggets of information sprinkled throughout. Don't go into this book thinking that this is a comprehensive guide to warfare, as it tends to focus on not just the practical aspects of war but also the psychology and philosophical ideology.

I have to admit, the book could have used some better organization like in the chapter of types of terrain they still bring up topics about negotiation and disciplining troops. Not the most organized book as it tends to wander off topic at times. But even when it does, there are still some useful information to be had.

Overall, there are some genuinely useful information spread throughout which can be applied to various applications in life. Depending on how you view things, some proverbs will be far more useful than others. Either way, I still found lots of thought provoking proverbs about philosophy and warfare.

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blurpblurp
Mar 21, 2017

Berniebrunet:
Did what you said, looked up the quotes online, got the lay of the land. Best piece of advice in a long time. No need to waste one more minute on that.

Cheers.

b
berniebrunet
Jan 02, 2017

The Art of War is a book of quotes organized in several arbitrary chapters. That's it.
There is no story here, no semblance of a plot, not even explicit advice, unless you are interested in 12th century army logistics.

As the author states in the long winded (38 pages) introduction, many quotes are purposely ambiguous, which reflects the uncertainty of life and the fact that leaders need to be adroit politicians. However, many are just paraphrases of others or are different shades of grey. Many are included in multiple chapters. And many should be in the trash bin of history. “ If there are birds on a citadel, then the army has fled.” Is this advice on an invasion? Investment guidance? Too many like this inhabit the book.

So who would benefit from this book? The demand for Sung Dynasty military strategic advice has certainly fallen off. The general reader would find this a tedious slog with few rewards. But if you are in the military or feel that your life and/or career has been one long battle (My sympathies), then possibly.

The hoary “Business is War” axiom will induce many an MBA to seek out this tomb. Don't waste your time. Instead, google “Quotes from The Art of War” and paste one or two on your screen background. Then find out your immediate supervisor's favorite quote from it (He hasn't read it either.) and in an appropriate moment, look thoughtful and regurgitate it. As Cao Cao said : “This means true information is not leaked. ”

LoganLib_Beenleigh Jun 28, 2016

Great book. Highly recommended

AbigailCurious Jul 28, 2015

It's a bible on war, and it reads like one.

b
bsmith60653
Aug 12, 2014

Perfect

MANNYROJAS Aug 29, 2012

BE A WIINER WITHOUT FIGHT ,SAVING A LOT OF ENERGY AND RESOURCES

l
lightbytheway
Dec 08, 2010

A great chinese classic. Despite the title it contains deep wisdom. This book in my opinion it is a must read.

2
21288004285819
Oct 08, 2010

Was highly recommended to me by training instructor - as a book on how to be politically savvy.

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gomiami1972
Jul 18, 2018

gomiami1972 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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