Friday, September 16, 2011

For the Love of Reading: The Art of War

I have had this book for years now but it's the first time I've read it completely. I read it halfway before, but then I got busy with family life, newborn baby and totally forgot it (still unpacked in a box that we used when we moved to our apartment). Now, I finally have the time to pick it up and read it completely. And I’m glad I did!

The Art of War was written by Sun Tzu in the 5th century BC. Sun Tzu is a Chinese Military general.

Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China (722–481 BC) as a military general serving under King Hel├╝ of Wu, who lived c. 544—496 BC. Modern scholars accepting his historicity place the completion of The Art of War in the Warring States Period (476–221 BC), based on the descriptions of warfare in the text, and on the similarity of text's prose to other works completed in the early Warring States period.*

Fast forward to the 21st century, his tactics and philosophies are still relevant. His strategies are stil very much useful not only in battle-fields but also in the corporate world and one can learn a lot from this book that can even be applied in our day-to-day living and fight for survival.

There are a lot of versions for this book. But I read the one edited by James Clavell. I've browsed through a lot of quotes from the other translations and I think Clavell's edition is better due to use of simpler (and more understandable) words and for easier reading.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

· The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before a battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.

· To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

· He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

· ‎If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself and not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

· The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

· Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

· Without harmony in the state, no military expedition can be undertaken; without harmony in the army, no battle array can be formed.

· For you should not press a desperate foe too hard.

· Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

· The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.

So what are you waiting for? Go to the nearest bookstore soon and grab this book! (Don’t forget to pay for it =p)

Happy reading and happy weekend, everyone!!! (“,)



* Sawyer 2007, pp. 421–422, Sawyer, Ralph D. (2007), The Seven Military Classics of Ancient Classics, Basic Books, ISBN 0465003044.

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