This is basically a book with various proverbs from Sun Tzu with annotations from various sages and ancient generals. There are some very good nuggets of information sprinkled throughout. Don't go into this book thinking that this is a comprehensive guide to warfare, as it tends to focus on not just the practical aspects of war but also the psychology and philosophical ideology.
I have to admit, the book could have used some better organization like in the chapter of types of terrain they still bring up topics about negotiation and disciplining troops. Not the most organized book as it tends to wander off topic at times. But even when it does, there are still some useful information to be had.
Overall, there are some genuinely useful information spread throughout which can be applied to various applications in life. Depending on how you view things, some proverbs will be far more useful than others. Either way, I still found lots of thought provoking proverbs about philosophy and warfare.
Did what you said, looked up the quotes online, got the lay of the land. Best piece of advice in a long time. No need to waste one more minute on that.
The Art of War is a book of quotes organized in several arbitrary chapters. That's it.
There is no story here, no semblance of a plot, not even explicit advice, unless you are interested in 12th century army logistics.
As the author states in the long winded (38 pages) introduction, many quotes are purposely ambiguous, which reflects the uncertainty of life and the fact that leaders need to be adroit politicians. However, many are just paraphrases of others or are different shades of grey. Many are included in multiple chapters. And many should be in the trash bin of history. “ If there are birds on a citadel, then the army has fled.” Is this advice on an invasion? Investment guidance? Too many like this inhabit the book.
So who would benefit from this book? The demand for Sung Dynasty military strategic advice has certainly fallen off. The general reader would find this a tedious slog with few rewards. But if you are in the military or feel that your life and/or career has been one long battle (My sympathies), then possibly.
The hoary “Business is War” axiom will induce many an MBA to seek out this tomb. Don't waste your time. Instead, google “Quotes from The Art of War” and paste one or two on your screen background. Then find out your immediate supervisor's favorite quote from it (He hasn't read it either.) and in an appropriate moment, look thoughtful and regurgitate it. As Cao Cao said : “This means true information is not leaked. ”
Great book. Highly recommended
It's a bible on war, and it reads like one.
BE A WIINER WITHOUT FIGHT ,SAVING A LOT OF ENERGY AND RESOURCES
A great chinese classic. Despite the title it contains deep wisdom. This book in my opinion it is a must read.
Was highly recommended to me by training instructor - as a book on how to be politically savvy.
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