The Art of War
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Written 2500 years ago, The Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world, a classic study of competition and rivalry that has been utilized by soldiers ever since. Napoleon studied its strategies and tactics. It is required reading for intelligence personnel in the United States Marine Corps. "Warriors" of Wall Street and in corporation cultures rely on it for guidance. It's even been rumored to help players win at the board game Risk. This 1910 translation by the British Museum's Lionel Giles is the most popular one available, a highly readable version of this still startlingly relevant text. Lionel Giles also translated The Book of Mencius and Sayings of Confucius. Sun Tzu lived in China in the 6th century B.C. and was a contemporary of Confucius.
to keep a country at peace and an army intact. XIII. THE USE OF SPIES Sun Tzu said: Raising a host of a hundred thousand men and marching them great distances entails heavy loss on the people and a drain on the resources of the State. The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces of silver. There will be commotion at home and abroad, and men will drop down exhausted on the highways. As many as seven hundred thousand families will be impeded in their labor. Hostile armies may face each
foreknowledge. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men. Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes: (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies. When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none can discover the secret system. This is called “divine
When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy. VI. WEAK POINTS AND STRONG Sun Tzu
battle, and fighting will be to your disadvantage. These six are the principles connected with Earth. The general who has attained a responsible post must be careful to study them. Now an army is exposed to six several calamities, not arising from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is responsible. These are: (1) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse; (4) ruin; (5) disorganization; (6) rout. Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled against another ten
camp, he is never at a loss. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete. XI. THE NINE SITUATIONS Sun Tzu said: The art of war recognizes nine varieties of ground: (1) Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground; (4) open ground; (5) ground of intersecting highways; (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; (8) hemmed-in ground; (9) desperate