The Art Of War Book Summary By Sun Tzu

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The Art of War is a classic, thousands-of-years-old Chinese military treatise that stands as the definitive work on military tactics and strategy.

It has had a tremendous influence on both eastern and western methods of warfare and approaches to legal and business strategy.

It is no wonder that leaders such as General Douglas MacArthur and Mao Zedong were so impressed with this book; they found great inspiration within its pages.

The Art of War is not just about physical combat but also describes tactics for victory when competing against opponents of equal or superior force.

The Art Of War Book

Book Name: The Art of War (Classic military strategy for politics, business, and everyday life)

Author(s): Sun Tzu

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 14 Minutes

Categories: Management & Leadership

Author Bio

Sun Tzu was a remarkable leader who lived in the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China during ca.500 BC.

He was not only an exceptionally talented general and strategist, but also an incredibly wise philosopher.

Sun Tzu wrote a famous book called "The Art of War".

This timeless piece of literature is still widely studied and emulated today due to its relevance and important insights on military strategy, tactics and philosophy.

The Art Of War: Master The Seven Key Factors Of Victory On The Battlefield


When engaging in warfare, careful planning, calculating and comparing armies is essential for victory.

It’s well-known that a general who doesn’t plan ahead will be defeated by one who does.

This was true even in ancient times, when The Art of War was written by Sun Tzu.

To understand the art of war, a state should assess seven criteria when measuring the opposing armies: obedience to rulers, capability of generals, advantages of heaven and earth, discipline of soldiers, strength of army and training of officers and men.

By comparing these considerations between the two forces involved in war, a commander can assess which side has the edge – allowing them to make informed plans for battle accordingly.

Ultimately, victory is gained by knowing your enemy and yourself – so using methods like strategic planning can lead you down the path to success in any conflict.

So for anyone looking to succeed on the battlefield: remember that planning, calculating and comparing armies leads to victory!

The 5 Essential Rules Of Victory For Successful Strategists

If you want to be a successful general, it is wise to always think strategically and avoid battles you may lose.

A successful strategist only enters conflicts they know they are sure to win.

The Art of War explains these principles perfectly, stressing the importance of securing yourself against defeat and waiting for an opportunity for victory.

The five key rules outlined in The Art of War include understanding when to fight and when not to fight, knowing how to handle forces both superior and inferior, maintaining a strong uniform fighting spirit in your army, fighting so that you are prepared while the enemy is not and having the capacity to lead your troops unhampered by any sovereign.

Being cautious and only entering battle with an advantageous edge are also essential concepts from this text.

Being aware of traps laid by your enemies will help ensure success.

Finally, it’s important never enter battle simply out of anger as this can easily lead to defeat – something which can’t be remedied afterwards.

At the end of the day, if you take these key rules into account and secure yourself against defeat while waiting for an opportunity for victory – then should have no trouble being triumphant on the battlefield!

Leaders Must Take Care Not To Impede Their Armies Or They Risk Defeat In War

In order for warfare to be successful, it is important that sovereigns and generals do not make mistakes when it comes to the command of their army.

Errors such as advancement or retreat when such action is impossible, governing the army too laxly or by placing officers in inappropriate roles can cause an army to lose confidence.

Generals are also responsible if any of the six calamities – hurling an army against a force ten times its size, having soldiers too strong/weak in relation to officers, higher officers being angry and undisciplined, general being weak and indecisive or being unable to estimate an enemy’s strength – befall upon the army.

Such errors will inevitably lead to ruin.

Therefore, it is essential that both generals and sovereigns take great care so as not to cause their own defeat.

It is only with careful direction from them that warfare will see success.

Conserve Resources And Win Wars Through Stratagems, Foraging, And Espionage

Conserve Resources

The Art of War has sound advice on how to conserve a country’s resources during warfare.

It begins with understanding that maintaining an army is expensive- it takes 1,000 ounces of silver a day to feed, arm, and move a host of 100,000 men!

Therefore, it is wise to pursue decisive victories instead of prolonged campaigns in order to save resources.

Similarly, besieging walled cities can be incredibly costly in terms of human life and money.

The best way to conserve the state’s resources is to capture the enemy’s country/city/army without comprising much in battle.

To achieve this requires more resources (men and weapons) than your opponent can muster.

Alternatively, warfare can be won without any fighting at all by attacking through stratagems: a skillful general needs excellence not only in winning but also in achieving victory with ease.

Another method is local foraging which allows you to draw upon the enemy’s supplies while sparing your own people from sustaining the burden of feeding and arming you troops.

Last but not least is espionage- if spies deliver accurate intelligence that suggests an attack might result in defeat or capture; then it will be one critical aspect preventing open conflict which could deplete the nation’s reservoir even more quickly than expected.

How To Use Deception And Trickery To Win A War

The Art of War teaches us that deception is key when looking to win a war.

Confuse, irritate, and deceive your enemy in order to make him careless.

Play with your enemy like a cat toys with a mouse.

Deception is the best way to seize the initiative and impose your will on the enemy.

Make it look like your troops are disorderly when they are actually highly disciplined.

Make it seem like you are far away when you have drawn close; attack when it looks like retreat.

When attempting to get the enemy to advance, put out bait for them and inflict damage for them if desiring retreat.

Keep your opponent guessing as to where you will attack — attacking on multiple fronts means numerical weakness and difficulty for him to respond effectively in time.

With deception and surprise always be one step ahead and alter the course of battle in your favor with clever tactics and strategy!

The Art Of War: Adapt Your Tactics To The Situation And Take Advantage Of Opportunities

The Art of War teaches us that to achieve success in battle, we must observe the terrain and our enemy and then adapt accordingly.

We need to recognize the natural advantages and disadvantages of a particular landscape, as well as anticipate potential ambushes or other dangers.

We should also be up-to-date with the conditions of the enemy’s army; for instance, if their soldiers are faint from starvation, exhausted from thirst or willing to fight to the death.

All this can be deduced by observing certain behaviors such as leaning on their spears when standing or not hanging their cooking pots over camp fires.

By remaining flexible and not adhering strictly to preconceived strategies, we can identify opportunities as they arise and take full advantage of them.

As Sun Tzu said: “Just as water shapes its course according to the ground it flows over, so you too must adapt to the situation, to the terrain and to the enemy’s disposition.”

The Path To Victory: Lead Your Troops Effectively And Unleash Their Full Potential In Desperate Situations

Full Potential

It is essential to ensure success in warfare by managing troops sternly and keeping them in constant anticipation.

By doing so, they are much more likely to fight to the death if necessary.

According to The Art of War, a general should treat his soldiers as beloved sons, but at the same time exercise strict discipline and punishments when needed.

Additionally, secrecy is paramount in war; change plans often and take challenging circuitous routes instead of direct ones.

Make sure soldiers remain ignorant about certain matters and don’t reveal your every move until you’re deep in hostile country.

Keeping morale high is also important- make sure your soldiers know about positive developments but don’t share information about the negative things happening at any given time.

Finally, put your troops into situations with no obvious escape routes- this will make them less fearful and willing to fight like never before!

This idea combined with the tactics mentioned above are essential if you want to wage war successfully and come out victorious on top!

Wrap Up

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military book that offers a concise but powerful strategy for winning wars.

Its key message is that warfare is a matter of life and death for the state and should be treated with proper planning and estimating, focusing on victory rather than defeat.

Overarching tenets include conserving resources, imposing will on the enemy and adapting to the terrain.

Additionally, it suggests maintaining discipline among troops through stern management, keeping them in uncertainty and prompting them to fight to the death.

By following these strategies, one can secure advantages over their enemies, leading to a state of total victory.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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