The Art of War (Word Cloud Classics)

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9781626860605: The Art of War (Word Cloud Classics)
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No library is complete without history’s oldest treatise on warfare.

Dated to about fifth century BC, The Art of War is considered the oldest treatise on war in the world. Attributed to Sun Tzu of the Zhou dynasty, the book is composed of thirteen chapters, each addressing a particular aspect of warfare, such as planning offenses, military combat, and the employment of spies. Influential in eastern civilization for millennia and in western culture since its first translation in the 18th century, the teachings of this book have been applied to scenarios as varied as office politics, the Vietnam War, and American football. Now this living military heirloom is available as part of the Word Cloud Classics series in a chic affordable edition for readers everywhere.

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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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