Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 9 years ago

Have you ever read "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu?

If so, what's your thoughts on it? I'm debating whether to read it or not.


To Travis Anderson: Thank you... I appreciate your help. I hope you don't mind if I contact you via email if I have any questions or comments. But how good is the book, really?

Update 2:

Could you guys list your favorite quotes from the book?

Update 3:

@Taunt & @Nihil: can't touch it, sorry :)

8 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Trust me, read it.

    I am infamous on here as kind of a Sun Tzu nut as I can go on and on about it all day long. But suffice to say, Sun Tzu is one of the classics-short, to the point and extremely broad in it's applications.

    Sun Tzu laid down the basis of strategic thinking, so much so that to this day it is required reading in many, many fields of competition and conflict.

    I myself own many versions of his book and in addition am developing my own versions based on my own fields of interest.

    If you read it and have any questions I can help you understand any part part in it, as well as how it applies to nearly any subject you could think of.


    The Art of War, if you read it only for military strategy is a great book, but it's true value lies in it's ability to apply to many fields. Let me give you an example:

    "11:23 Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve.

    11:24 Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard."

    This was seen in the D-Day invasion, where there was no chance for retreat, no possibility of mercy if captured. So what did these young men do? They fought with an intensity that has become legendary.

    But how does this apply to someone who will never lead soliders or be one? Well, consider the force of will a mother gets when her child is in danger, and she knows that unless she acts, BOTH of them will die. She finds strength no one could have imagined she had, and with the rage of a wildfire, she lashes out and is ruthless in the proetection of that which is most dear to her.

    Or, let's use another concept. "The Cornered Rat Bites Back." This is a common saying, and this is what it means. We are the most weak when we know we have an excuse-someone to run to or something to blame. When we know there is a way to escape, we don't really put forth our best effort. But if you corner a rat or even a human, and give them no choice BUT to act, they will act every time.

    For a personal example-one which was not so life or death but involved no choices-I was the the leader of a team in a factory. On our line, there is a button that someone could press if they were getting behind. All but one woman was good at there job, and she kept hitting this button because she knew she could. I knew that she needed the job so what did I do? I simply put her in a situation where she had no choice BUT to keep up. I simply moved her down the line where she could not hit that button, and told everyone else not to hit it for her. She suddenly got much faster and was able to keep up. I removed her excuse.

    Source(s): The Local Sun Tzu enthusiast
  • Darren
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    If your interested in strategy you should read it. One of my favorite quotes is, "The ruler cannot mobilize the army out of personal anger. The general cannot engage in battle because of personal frustration. When it is advantageous move; when not advantageous, stop. Anger can revert to happiness, annoyance can revert to joy, but a vanquished state cannot be revived, the dead cannot be brought back to life."

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Great book for the strategic edification.

    I'd also recommend Von Clausewitz and Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings."

  • 9 years ago

    Yeah, good stuff. It's one of the oldest texts that still exists today. What Sun Tzu wrote is still taught in military schools TODAY...and that books is thousands of years old.

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  • niHil
    Lv 6
    9 years ago


    It seems like he is rehashing over and over again. It boils down to

    1. Attack to kill

    2. Go right for the eyes.

    3. A fight should never last more than 45 seconds.

    Of course this is with a samurai sword.

  • Dyn-Æ
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    a timeless book on strategy and the human condition

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    its mostly about carts of rice...logistics in other words...boring unless you are an accountant...

    for fighting a modern war i would suggest reading Gen. Curtis Lemay,and GEN.William Tecumseh Sherman...

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago


    liked it

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