Book review: THE ART OF WAR

July 04, 2018

World's most renowned text on martial strategy and tactics



“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 

GENRE-    Strategy Guide

AUTHOR-  Thomas Cleary, Lionel Giles(First English translation)

PAGES-     180

RELATED BOOKS- The book of five rings, 36 Stratagems: Ancient Chinese Military Tactics

ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                     

Sun Tzu  was a Chinese   general,   military  strategist, lived during the Eastern Zhou period. Born in 544 BC. The literal meaning of his name is Master Sun. Han Dynasty historians placed him as minister to king Helu. His work "Art of War" is praised throughout east basin warfare since its composition. This book grew popularity in western culture as well, here people discovered its teaching in other spheres of the profession.


  • Art of War is Jewel from history. Written by Chinese general Sun Tzu in 6th century BC. A famous translation is from Chow Hou Wee(2004).

  • The book devotes itself to advice on military success but the usage has reached business and politics as well. Comprising of thirteen chapters on a different aspects of war, the reader may find himself related to his professional front. The tone is authoritative and straightforward.

  • The philosophy described here can help people to analyze themselves, enemies, and surroundings to predict the outcomes. How to act in oppressive and submissive situations. 
  • Art of War discusses the detailed assessment of environment & planning, war operations, the strategy of attack, deployment of the army, use of creativity, timing and momentum of the army, analysis of strengths and weakness, how to act in variations and adaptability. 
  •  In the end, it gives a supreme note to the intelligence network and espionage, focusing on the importance of good information sources & specifies five types of intelligence sources and how to manage each of them.

  • The central message of this book is that it is best to win without fighting. Conflicts are however inevitable in this world that we live in. But these conflicts in nature are such that the harmony of the world is preserve. Conflicts takes place but they cause minimum possible damage. And this is exactly what is advocated by Sun Tzu.



  • To be able to use these advices in our own lives, I think, it is necessary that we should read the text at least a couple of times. Go through it slowly .This book cannot be read like a novel .Read one maybe two pages at a time and take your time to understand and absorb its philosophy.The languages is open-ended and metaphorical. You  need to think how you can apply the concepts or methods to a specific situation  in your life.
  • It will be an injustice to underestimate its scope to mere warfare strategy. We are well aware that every technological advancement or business model originates from the military. 






1 comment:

  1. An excellent bit of writing which can certainly de rail the competition if applied to business.


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