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The Wisdom of Sun Tzu

Author: 郭闻平,钟少异(Guo Wenping, Zhong Shaoyi)
ISBN: 978-7-5085-1754-4
Original Region: China
Original Language: Simplified Chinese
Publication Date: 2010
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Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise that was written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, during the Spring and Autumn period. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time, and still one of the basic texts.
The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy. It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors 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.
The book was translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and into English by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905. It likely influenced Napoleon, and leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini, and General Douglas MacArthur have claimed to have drawn inspiration from the work. The Art of War has also been applied to business and managerial strategies.
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“In civilian discussions of military affairs, they inevitably refer to the thirteen chapters of Sun Tzu’s Art of War .” Sima Qian (145 BC ~ 86 BC), the great Chinese historian, author of The Records of the Grand Historian
Sun Tzu is a “great military expert”. Mao Zedong (1893~1976), the founder of the People’s Republic of China
Sun Tzu’s essays on ‘ The Art of War ’ form the earliest of known treatises on the subject, but have never been surpassed in com comprehensiveness and depth of understanding. They might be termed the concentrated essence of wisdom on the conduct of war. Among all the military thinkers of the past, only Clausewitz is comparable, and even he is more ‘dated’ than Sun Tzu, and in part antiquated, although he was writing more than two thousand years later. Sun Tzu has clearer vision, more profound insight, and eternal freshness.
Liddell Hart (1895~1970), the English military strategist
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is less than 100 pages, but much deeper in substance and much easier to understand and apply.
Sun Tzu stresses the importance of out-thinking the enemy, while Clausewitz focuses on destroying the enemy’s army and occupying his lands. Sun Tzu focuses on the end, while Clausewitz stresses only one means to that end. Destruction and occupation are simply methods to achieve victory through force, according to Clausewitz. While not discouraging the use of force, Sun Tzu openly examinees other methods for achieving victory which require more flexibility, creativity and foresight than brute force alone. Sun Tzu’s writings are as pertinent today as they were when written in 500 B.C. Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr. , the command historian of the U.S. Army's 28th Infantry Division
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is, of course, a classic. At least six English translations can be found in most large bookstores on bookshelves next to another much cited but little read military favorite, Carl von Clausewitz’s On War. Translator Roger Ames describes The Art of War as “the world’s foremost classic on military strategy.”…
In the coming decades, with the United States remaining the world’s dominant military force, employing Sun Tzu’s strategic lessons will be more important than ever. The United States might not incorporate all of Sun Tzu’s lessons into its offensive strategy, but it will face opponents who use these lessons, or similar lessons, against the United States. Opponents recognize that direct confrontation with the United States can only result in their defeat.
Colonel Douglas M. McCready , author of Learning from Sun Tzu
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