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The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition [Hardcover]

Sun Tzu
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2012 The Art of Wisdom
This classic Chinese text, the earliest known treatise on war, offers strategy and tactics that can be applied to every type of human conflict. Central to Sun Tzu's philosophy is the concept of using deception and superior intelligence to minimize risk, which has made his book required reading at military, business, and law schools around the world. With a Foreword by B.H. Liddell Hart and a 74-page Introduction, this deluxe edition--beautifully presented in a sumptuous silk hardcover--is a standout offering in the successful Art of Wisdom series.

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The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition + The Book of Five Rings + Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
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Review

"As a reflection of the Chinese mind, this little work is as relevant as any Confucian classic."--The Times (London)

"Shows managers how to be fearless in resolving conflicts."--Boardman Reports

"A brief tract on strategy that has been admired in China for centuries. Some of Mao Tse Tung's most eloquent thoughts are merely rehashes of Sun Tzu and his interpreters."--The Los Angeles Herald Examiner

"Samuel Griffith's original and scholarly translation of The Art of War shows how good scholarship can make an easily readable translation that is much more useful to modern readers."--The Philadelphia Inquirer --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

maps --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
OVER the centuries countless Chinese critics have devoted a great deal of attention to examination of literary works ascribed to the 'classical' period, an era usually defined as extending from 551 B.C., the probable birth year of Confucius, to 249 B.C., when King Chao of Ch'in liquidated the Chou dynasty. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an instruction book for ass-whoopin' April 11 2005
Format:Paperback
It is interesting to note that all of the readers see this as a text on war, and how to beat your enemies. The first part of the book should be a leson to all of the war-mongers out there, that is If You Go To War You Have Already Lost. The consequences to your own people and soldiers and even the land must be counted for years after the battle is done. Sun-Tzu explains this well, and proceeds to explain how to wage a war causing the minimum amount of damage and suffering.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ageless art July 7 2004
Format:Paperback
One would intuitively think that any book on war written thousands of years ago would long-since be rendered obsolete by all the technological advances in warfare that have occured over the past few centuries. Not so, says Sun Tzu. The present text is perhaps even more relevant today than when the master put pen to scribe.
The best generals throughout history (Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, Lee, Patton) have all either innately grasped the lessons of this book, or they have learned by reading from the master. The worst generals, on the other hand (Nicias, Crassus, Hooker, Burnside) have been oblivious to Sun Tzu's teachings - and more often than not they paid dearly for their shortcomings.
Much of THE ART OF WAR is straightforward. Some of it even falls under the category of common sense. Amazingly, even the most rudimentary instructions have been ignored by military leaders down through the ages.
If, perhaps, there is one single "golden" rule of warfare that Sun Tzu would ultimately allude to, it is this: warfare is a complicated business. Do not enter into it without thinking through what it is you wish to accomplish by going to war. Do not go into combat half-cocked, and don't rely on half-baked plans or half-wit generals.
The penalty for not following this dictum could very well be either your annihilation or the financial and materiel ruin of your society. For further elaboration on this point I will defer you to the Chinese sage himself.
Given the amount of information rendered by this book, it is a surprisingly quick read. As a bonus, we are also able to peruse the trenchant commentary of various other Chinese military persons.
This book is, quite simply, a must for the military historian - both amateur & professional. I would hope that it is standard reading for all major war colleges in my country. While the instruments of war change over the centuries, the rules of war remain constant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Indeed, I am heartened to read one reviewer lambasting the general critical acceptance of "The Art of War" as "flowery". Unfortunately, most Westerners see Chinese philosophy as little more than yoga meditation and interior decoration. Of course, this is not the case.
Take, for example, Sun's "Art of War". Here is a man sick of watching ancient Chinese warlords wage war in a sloppy, haphazard fashion (more as a social tradition than anything else), wasting their populace's resources and lives. Thus, Sun writes a magnum opus discussing the proper means of waging war, from gaining the support of the people to clearly articulating goals to ensuring success of well-trained armies in short and long campaigns all the way to the minute details of using fire (even setting other people on fire). Far from the flowery rhetoric of most Western diatribes on Taoism and Buddhism and (enter your favorite Chinese term here), the Art of War is at once simple and immediate, which is why it has survived for 2500 years.
Griffith's translation of this work is masterful as well. Included are many of the commentaries of the ancient scholars (including, for you Three Kingdoms fans, copious amounts of Cao Cao), which show how Sun's text was used in various situations, both in war AND peace). Also, he includes an excellent introduction which places the work in its historical context and speaks of Mao Zedong's use of its precepts. Also are five appendices, one of which contains the other famous Art of War, that of Wu. I was particularly surprised at his none-too-flattering comments regarding the Japanese understanding of this work (truthfully, I think that too many people see the art of war in the Gordon Gecko, "Rising Sun" business sense), particularly in pointing out their blunders during WWII.
All in all, reader, you will be hard-pressed to find a better translation of this seminal work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Leadership Ever Written Sept. 6 2002
By Samurai
Format:Paperback
For years I've heard people refer to this book as the ultimate tactical planner's guide. However, I never took the time to read it because I was turned off by images of greedy, yuppie stockbrokers refering to this book as their Bible. I didn't want to read anything recommended by corporate head-hunter types. I detested those individuals and any philosophy they espoused.
However, when the war in Afghanistan started, I became fascinated with military tactics and questioned why we have to bomb everything in sight. Is that the only way to win a war and does bombing actually end the conflict or prolong it? I picked up this book hoping to glean some Eastern wisdom from the legendary Sun Tzu. I was not disappointed.
Sun Tzu confirmed everything my instincts had been telling me about this dunderheaded Clausewitzean approach to military tactics. The US's overrealiance on ordinance and smart munitions has resulted in us becoming more and more tactically and politically inept. Our military destroys infrastracture and imposes silly sanctions that only prolong the "total war". In the end we exhaust our resources, frustrate our troops, alieanate our public, and forever ruin the indigenous people's lives. The tragic irony being we do more damage to the people we are trying to save than the "enemy" could have done himself.
Individuals like Bin Laden could have been apprehended had we taken up the offers of the Sudanese or freed up the small tactical units that warned us of this nutjob years ago. Instead we blunder forward with our highly destructive and inevitably ineffectual answer which is attrition warfare. The same thing that probably got us in this mess in the first place.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It good word. Book shiny. Book hevy
Published 4 days ago by d
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever
Great book and the best book to apply to everyday life. I bought this book on the advise of a friend and am applying alot of the thought to the poker tables.
Published 25 days ago by corey jay craig
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read.
Published 1 month ago by richard walker
4.0 out of 5 stars ebook
read some of it can see how it is diametrically opposed to my way of handling things.still very good book
Published 5 months ago by mark haun
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep Thinkers Only
What a different book. I picked it up, knowing it had been around forever and I had a mild curiosity what it had in it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by fredamans
2.0 out of 5 stars "Incomplete" edition
A very basic edition without any meaningful comments or preface. You get the text, but not much else: should not be surprised, I suppose, considering the very low price.
Published 6 months ago by Sylvain Gagné
5.0 out of 5 stars still one of the best lessons for everyone to learn.
The Chinese have lived by these lessons for centuries and they still are using them to create a dynasty for the future. Don't believe it? Read more
Published 9 months ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
did not read this book yet but at 99 cents it is worth having on my kindle. Will read eventually, as it is a classic
Published 12 months ago by Julien
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun Tzu's Excellent Advice
I owned this book for many years and it gave me great strength when dealing
with adversarial situations. I lent it to my son who is in a very competitive business. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2010 by Sidders
3.0 out of 5 stars A few grains of truth in a lot of chaff
Today many of Sun Tzu quotas are floating around mixed with Shakespeare and the Bible. And as with many of the quote they are out of context and misleading. Read more
Published on July 21 2006 by bernie
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