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 The Art of War : Penguin Classics - Sun Tzu

The Art of War

Penguin Classics


Published: 3rd September 2009
For Ages: 18+ years old
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'Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.'

For more than two thousand years, Sun-Tzu's The Art of War has provided military leaders with essential advice on battlefield tactics, managing troops and terrain, and employing cunning and deception. An elemental part of Chinese culture, it has also become a touchstone for the Western struggle for survival and success, whether in battle, in business, or in relationships.

The first half of this edition presents the core text; the second half presents the same text with extensive running commentary from the canon of traditional Chinese commentators and others. With John Minford's crisp, accessible translation and lively, learned introduction, even readers already familiar with The Art of War will experience it anew, finding it more fascinating-and more chilling-than ever.

'The strategic advice that [The Art of War] offers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of prepvebial wisdom, a book of life.'
- John Minford, from the Introduction

Edited and Translated with an Introduction by JOHN MINFORD

About The Author

Sun Tzu (pronounced SOON-zuh) means Master Sun. His first name was Wu.

"The strategic advice that [The Art of War] offers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of proverbial wisdom, a book of life." John Minford, from the Introduction"

Making of Plans

Master Sun said:

War is
A grave affair of state;
It is a place
Of life and death,
A road
To survival and extinction,
A matter
To be pondered carefully.

There are Five Fundamentals

For this deliberation,
For the making of comparisons
And the assessing of conditions:
The Way,

The Way

Causes men
To be of one mind
With their rulers,
To live or die with them,
And never to waver.

Heaven is
Ying and Yang,
Cold and hot,
The cycle of seasons.

Earth is
Height and depth,
Distance and proximity,
Ease and danger,
Open and confined ground,
Life and death.

Command is

Discipline is

Chain of command,
Control of expenditure.

Every commander is aware

Of these
Five Fundamentals.
He who grasps them
He who fails to grasp them

For this deliberation,
For the making of comparisons,
And the assessing of conditions,

Which ruler
Has the Way?

Which general
Has the ability?

Which side has
Heaven and Earth?

On which side
Is discipline
More effective?

Which army
Is the stronger?

Whose officers and men
Are better trained?

In which army
Are rewards and punishments

From these
Can be known
Victory and defeat.

Heed my plan,

Employ me,
And victory is surely yours;
I will stay.

Do not heed my plan,

And even if you did employ me,
You would surely be defeated;
I will depart.

Settle on the best plan,

Exploit the dynamic within,
Develop it without,

Follow the advantage,
And master opportunity:
This is the dynamic.

The Way of War is

A Way of Deception.

When able,
Feign inability;

When deploying troops,
Appear not to be.

When near,
Appear far;

When far,
Appear near.

Lure with bait;

Strike with chaos.

If the enemy is full,
Be prepared.
If strong,
Avoid him.

If he is angry,
Disconcert him.

If he is weak,
Stir him to pride.

If he is relaxed,
Harry him;

If his men are harmonious,
Split them.

Where he is
Where you are

This is

Victory in warfare;
It cannot be
In advance.

Victory belongs to the side

That scores most
In the temple calculations
Before battle.

Defeat belongs to the side

That scores least
In the temple calculations
Before battle.

Most spells victory;

Least spells defeat;
None, surer defeat.

I see it in this way,

And the outcome is apparent.

ISBN: 9780143105756
ISBN-10: 0143105752
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 3rd September 2009
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.4  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.26