The Art of War – Sun Tzu


Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general that lived apparently around the 6th century BC. So, this treatise has been around for a couple of years. Its maxims have been used by many well-known people through history. 

Before this book, I read another one of similar characteristics, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to StrategyThere were a couple of insightful reflections in both books. They are not mainly about cold strategies and tactics. They wrote about discipline, honesty, wisdom, courage; all things needed in life and not just to fight. And one should fight only when necessary. According to Sun Tzu (and any other rational human being) war should be the last resort. 

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Another book I read relating this subject was The Prince, which I reviewed here. These books make a powerful combination. They show you how to get power and how to keep it. And if things get too ugly, then you have to follow some rules and have a couple of strategies under your sleeve in order to win. However, in my opinion, The Prince has a more straightforward approach. It goes right to the point. Do you want to have power and learn how to maintain it no matter what? Do this and this and this because (reason here). Done. No poetic metaphors.

Anyway, there is a lot to be considered before your first move -once you decided it is wise to make that move. War is based on deception, so you should seem weak when you are ready to attack, make the enemy think you are far away when you are behind his neck! Yes, it is an art. The military general must carefully plan and calculate everything before taking action, that would sure lead him to victory. Same with life, it is always better to think things through before acting (I am sure you didn’t see that line coming).

Good book. I am so ready to go to the office tomorrow.


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