This book is absolutely brilliant, and reading it is a tremendous experience. Sun Tzu is the master, and the Art of War, though aimed specifically on military warfare, is a masterpiece on general strategy and tactics that can be used in many sitautions. In fact, I will bet you that many of the most succesful sports coaches, boxers, businessmen, ploiticians, etc use tactics similar to those found in this book.
The Art of War is not a long book, but despite its size, it is totally packed with content. Some themes of the book include
- always ensuring you are prepared
- adapting and responding to circumstances
- knowing yourself, the enemy, and the environment
- being unpredictable, secretive, and deceptive
- making calculations
- exploiting opportunities
- avoiding your enemy's strengths, and attacking his weak spots
- causing disorder among your enemy
- using baits to manipulate others
- ensuring good teamwork through picking the right people to do the right job, good communication, and synergy
- knowing when to fight and when not to fight
The book is an absolute gem. It is invaluable and a must read. Sun Tzu has a beatiful style, and I really love the Lionel Giles translation, which although old, is still hihgly readable and among the best there is. I also recommend Rodney Ohebsion's tranlsation and selection and arrangement of passages, which is an adaptation of the Giles translation, and is in the book A Collection of Wisdom.
In summary, I would just like to say that The Art of War is definitely one of the greatest texts ever written, and is a must for the student of life.