The Art of War, with eBook (Tantor Unabridged Classics)

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9781400158416: The Art of War, with eBook (Tantor Unabridged Classics)
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"All warfare is based on deception. Thus, when able to attack, we must seem unable. Hold out bait to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant."

Written before Alexander the Great was born, this Chinese treatise on war has become one of the most influential works on the subject. Read widely in the east since its appearance 2,500 years ago, The Art of War first came to the West with a French Jesuit in 1782. It has been studied by generals from Napoleon to Rommel, and it is still required reading in most military academies of the world.

Although it was meant to be a practical guide to warfare in the age of chariots, many corporate and government leaders have successfully applied its lessons to battles in the modern dog-eat-dog world. Sun Tzu covers all aspects of war in his time, from strategy and tactics to the proper use of terrain and spies. In this version, Sun Tzu's lessons are brought to life with commentaries from ancient Chinese history, which illustrate both the philosophy and the principles of his teachings.

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Review:

The Art of War is the Swiss army knife of military theory--pop out a different tool for any situation. Folded into this small package are compact views on resourcefulness, momentum, cunning, the profit motive, flexibility, integrity, secrecy, speed, positioning, surprise, deception, manipulation, responsibility, and practicality. Thomas Cleary's translation keeps the package tight, with crisp language and short sections. Commentaries from the Chinese tradition trail Sun-tzu's words, elaborating and picking up on puzzling lines. Take the solitary passage: "Do not eat food for their soldiers." Elsewhere, Sun-tzu has told us to plunder the enemy's stores, but now we're not supposed to eat the food? The Tang dynasty commentator Du Mu solves the puzzle nicely, "If the enemy suddenly abandons their food supplies, they should be tested first before eating, lest they be poisoned." Most passages, however, are the pinnacle of succinct clarity: "Lure them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion" or "Invincibility is in oneself, vulnerability is in the opponent." Sun-tzu's maxims are widely applicable beyond the military because they speak directly to the exigencies of survival. Your new tools will serve you well, but don't flaunt them. Remember Sun-tzu's advice: "Though effective, appear to be ineffective." --Brian Bruya

From the Publisher:

Here is a seminal work on the philosophy of successful leadership that is as applicable to contemporary business as it is to war. James Clavell has taken a 1910 translation and clarified it for the contemporary reader.

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