Sun Tzu The Art Of War

ISBN 13: 9781515136439

The Art Of War

 
9781515136439: The Art Of War
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“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
--- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician. The text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly known to be the definitive work on military strategy and tactics of its time. It has been the most famous and influential of China's Seven Military Classics, and "for the last two thousand years it remained the most important military treatise in Asia, where even the common people knew it by name." It has had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.

The book was first translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot and a partial translation into English was attempted by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905. The first annotated English language translation was completed and published by Lionel Giles in 1910. Leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, General Douglas MacArthur and leaders of Imperial Japan have drawn inspiration from the work.

Themes

Sun Tzu considered war as a necessary evil that must be avoided whenever possible. The war should be fought swiftly to avoid economic losses: "No long war ever profited any country: 100 victories in 100 battles is simply ridiculous. Anyone who excels in defeating his enemies triumphs before his enemy's threats become real".

Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of positioning in military strategy. The decision to position an army must be based on both objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective beliefs of other, competitive factors in that environment. He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment; but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations.

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Review:

The Art of War was written over 2,300 years ago in what is now North China. Yet it still remains a contemporary lesson on how to attain victory without going to battle. Modern-day warriors find its ancient strategies helpful regardless of whether the conflict dwells in the boardroom or the bedroom. Despite numerous references to enemies, generals, and armies, The Art of War is about nonaggression. At its core, The Art of War offers a sophisticated lesson on "taking whole," meaning staying openhearted and relaxed in order to sidestep a fight--whether you are a field commander, a CEO, or a frustrated mother putting a resistant son to bed. This particular translation comes from the Denma Translation Group, led by scholars Kidder Smith and James Gimian (publisher of Shambhala Sun magazine). Because of the text's obscure wording (even the Chinese find the original document cumbersome), the translators have inserted helpful commentary that removes some of the linguistic barriers. --Gail Hudson

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6 1-hour cassettes

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