Thoughts on: The Art of War by Sun Tzu

June 14, 2012
Article first published as Book Review: The Art of War by Sun Tzu on Blogcritics.

About:
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is an ancient Chinese military treatise. The book, a classic within the science of military studies is only attributed to the high ranking general and was believed to have been complies during the last spring and autumn of the Warring States period(either 476 BC or 453 BC).

  • 62 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936041758

Book Review: The Art of War by Sun Tzu

My rating for The Art of War5

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

Thoughts:
I first heard of The Art of War by Sun Tzu when I was in the military. I heard of the book in passing and read a bit more about it when I got home, but never picked up a copy until several years later.

The first thing which struck me was how short the book was, but the more I read, the more I realized the wisdom behind the book. The second, third, forth and more I read this book I stopped for contemplation about what Sun Tzu’s words mean to me, how I implemented his advice both in the military and outside of it and the mistakes I made, how can I learn from them and if I will repreat them again.

But The Art of War is more than just about war. The book is about every struggle or confrontation, whether external or internal. I can certainly see how the advice applies to ancient warfare, but when analyzed, the book can apply to politics, business and more.

Sun Tzu understood, as any great leader/manager that the leaders set the tone and spends much of the book discussing those qualities. This is true in any organization, the sergeants will treat the soldiers the way the platoon leader treats them, who treat the sergeants the way the captains treat them, etc. Middle management will treat their employees the way upper management treats them – so simple, yet so profound.

However, the part that really struck home, for me, was when Sun Tzu speaks about knowing yourself and your enemy.

So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

Profound advice from a great general – one does not go into any competition without knowing the opponents. Athletes do not step onto the field without spending house analyzing every available movie showing their opponents at play and generals dissect enemy strategies to tiny details before forming their own.

So tell me, do you think The Art of War is still relevant today?

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I bought this book

BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read The Art of War? If so link up your review below:

--- Please like and follow ManOfLaBook.com ---

7 Comments

  • Jonathan June 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Great review, Z. I’ve never read The Art of War (even thouth I have it on a bookshelf somewhere), but you’re right. So much of the wisdom there is applicable to many different aspects of life. It should be required reading for… well, just about anything.

    So… I guess maybe I should take my own advice, then?

    Jonathan @ http://www.ireadabookonce.com

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Thanks for stopping by Jonathan, it’s a quick read but don’t underestimate the advice.

  • Jill June 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

    What is it with you men and war.
    War, war, war all the time. This book should never have been written.
    I read it and it is DISGUSTING.

    You declined to mention of of Santsu’s “important” stories where he beheads two women for not falling in line.
    O-M-G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Men are pigs for even looking at this book, I cant see any woman reading this kind of garbag and liking it.

    • Jonathan June 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Wow… just, wow. I don’t want to start a flame war on Z’s blog, but if you apply your same logic to, I dunno, Oliver Twist, then everyone who reads it and enjoys the book is an anti-semite since the primary villain is a Jew.

      Considering that times have changed a lot since The Art of War was written, it is fair to say that most people will not agree morally with everything that’s in there. Similarly, that doesn’t mean that the entire thing is a pile of rubbish. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • Ruth Seeley June 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Ha – I’ve wanted to read The Art of War for ages since it’s about strategy – recently found it was included on my ereader and concluded it was the kind of book I need to read as a real book (I think I got lost in the introduction, something that tends to happen with ereaders). And yes, I read the part about the beheading of the two concubines.

  • Gina June 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Okay, so I am amongst those that have NOT read this book, but have heard of it so often that the word “classic” would certainly apply. From your review, I’m gathering that although its initial purpose may have been to actual battles, a more comtemporary application may be in order for readers today. It’s basic but true…the same laws or rules followed (in a general sense) on the battlefield can be applied to our daily interactions…for better and for worse. That’s where the “thinking things through” and “planning” stages come into play so vitally. As for the strong reactions…it’s one of those things everyone happens to have…an opinion; some just take a moment to declare it more eloquently than others. Anywho, to each their own. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Gina.
      The Art of War could better be defined as a management book rather than a war book. Granted it uses war as example of management (and I certainly wouldn’t chop anyone’s head off) but the rules, as you said, still apply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

+ 15 = 21

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
RSS
Pinterest
Pinterest
fb-share-icon