So begins The Art of War, a meditation on the rules of war that was first published in China. Historians don’t know the exact date of the book’s publication (though they believe it to be in the 4th or 5th century); in fact, they don’t even know who wrote it! Scholars have long believed that The Art of War’s author was a Chinese military leader named Sun Tzu, or Sunzi. Today, however, many people think that there was no Sun Tzu: Instead, they argue, the book is a compilation of generations of Chinese theories and teachings on military strategy. Whether or not Sun Tzu was a real person, it’s clear that “he” was very wise: The Art of War still resonates with readers today.
Sun Tzu is one of those to study over and over… and it appears when we choose not to follow the Master’s words we find regret–evident in many of today’s conflicts. The Art of War presents the basic principles of warfare and gives military leaders advice on when and how to fight in 13 chapters…many outstanding quotes just trying to gather a Top 10
1: Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
2: If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
3: The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
4: All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
5: The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
6: Therefore the skilful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.
7: The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
8: Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
9: Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
10: The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
Thoughts? What are we forgetting?