The Art of War by Sun Tzu

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The Art of War by Sun Tzu


Translated from the Chinese with Introduction and Critical Notes

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

Ancient secrets to speedy accomplishment of objectives is explored in great detail in this book.

Read about secret diagrams hidden in the 2,500 year-old classic on competitive success.

The book discusses secret symbols, analogies, and metaphors which are painstakingly explained and interpreted for optimum comprehension.

This is a must reading not only for students of military science. This is also a must reading for businessmen and anyone who wants to excel in any field.

Book Excerpts:

7 of the 20 items ON WAGING WAR

[Tsao Kung has the note: "He who wishes to fight must first count the cost," which prepares us for the discovery that the subject of the chapter is not what we might expect from the title, but is primarily a consideration of ways and means.]

1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers,

[The "swift chariots" were lightly built and, according to
Chang Yu, used for the attack; the "heavy chariots" were heavier,
and designed for purposes of defense. Li Chuan, it is true,
says that the latter were light, but this seems hardly probable.
It is interesting to note the analogies between early Chinese
warfare and that of the Homeric Greeks. In each case, the war-
chariot was the important factor, forming as it did the nucleus
round which was grouped a certain number of foot-soldiers. With
regard to the numbers given here, we are informed that each swift
chariot was accompanied by 75 footmen, and each heavy chariot by 25 footmen, so that the whole army would be divided up into a
thousand battalions, each consisting of two chariots and a
hundred men.]

with provisions enough to carry them a thousand LI,

[2.78 modern LI go to a mile. The length may have varied
slightly since Sun Tzu's time.]

the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000

2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

[This concise and difficult sentence is not well explained
by any of the commentators. Tsao Kung, Li Chuan, Meng Shih, Tu
Yu, Tu Mu and Mei Yao-chen have notes to the effect that a
general, though naturally stupid, may nevertheless conquer
through sheer force of rapidity. Ho Shih says: "Haste may be
stupid, but at any rate it saves expenditure of energy and
treasure; protracted operations may be very clever, but they
bring calamity in their train." Wang Hsi evades the difficulty
by remarking: "Lengthy operations mean an army growing old,
wealth being expended, an empty exchequer and distress among the
people; true cleverness insures against the occurrence of such
calamities." Chang Yu says: "So long as victory can be
attained, stupid haste is preferable to clever dilatoriness."
Now Sun Tzu says nothing whatever, except possibly by
implication, about ill-considered haste being better than
ingenious but lengthy operations. What he does say is something
much more guarded, namely that, while speed may sometimes be
injudicious, tardiness can never be anything but foolish -- if
only because it means impoverishment to the nation. In
considering the point raised here by Sun Tzu, the classic example
of Fabius Cunctator will inevitably occur to the mind. That
general deliberately measured the endurance of Rome against that
of Hannibals's isolated army, because it seemed to him that the
latter was more likely to suffer from a long campaign in a
strange country. But it is quite a moot question whether his
tactics would have proved successful in the long run. Their
reversal it is true, led to Cannae; but this only establishes a
negative presumption in their favor.]

6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

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