The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.
The Art of War is the first book I picked up for my Classic Club Project and I also read it using the serial app over 5 days. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book I only knew that it was a rather short one and I was curious to see why it has survived this long as classic work. Also it was constantly brought up in the movie “Bring it On” and as a kid I always wanted to know more about it because of that reference.
This book was divided up for me in 5 serial issues and it was a really interesting experience for me to read it in these small chunks. Normally when a book is this small I would read it cover to cover not instead I had the opportunity to read and think about each section before moving on to the next and I really think that added to the reading experience.
The book in itself was a lot more interesting than I originally pegged it as. I mean a book literally about war and war tactics could of been really dry. However I was really surprised by how invested I was in this book. I mean the form and means of battle are clearly dated but the theory and terms are still applicable today. I had a lot of fun trying to apply the terms to wars and battles that have been fought today and it was so amazing seeing the different types of war.
I surprisingly really liked this book though it won’t be a favorite I can totally see why it has stood the test of time and I am really happy that I finally got around to it. It was a quick and fascinating read.
Some quote worthy moments
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected .”