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4.2 out of 5 stars33
4.2 out of 5 stars
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2004
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2003
The Art of War was originally intended for reading by ancient China's ruling military elite, and not lowly commoners such as us. It is one of the few great books people seem to be universally familiar with, and for good reason.
The struture is blindingly simple - Sun Tzu writes short chapters about different areas of battle which consist of simple dictums. Utterly straightforward, and generalisable to any form of conflict.
Surface-reading this book will take you minutes, not hours - however, time must be spent with even the barest of his principles. The purchase of this book has become alarmingly trendy over recent years, but with no noticeable effect on the global intelligence of its middle manager market. Books like this do not read themselves.
A more accurate edition would have gained 5 stars without a second thought. The fact that much better versions are available (and freesource!) holds this version back.
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on October 23, 2014
Classics never die. Good take on the original version. Very little changed, making it a reliable read.

Must have, especially at this price point
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on June 12, 2014
13 rules who can be use in any battlefield no matter for what you fighting for. This book is that and believe it it's one the more useful reading I did.
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on April 10, 2014
Very good book. I watched a You Tube Video a while back and this book followed along with the video. Very Informative.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2004
Written long before MBA programmes and graduate schools of management were formed, this book is often considered THE authority on managing people and competitive situations. Sun Tzu was a remarkably insightful man, who seems to have captured the psychology of combat and running a team. So many of the principles he espouses are applicable in civilian life that it is worth reading by anybody managing people. There are sections in the book that deal very specifically with fighting (especially the discussions on terrain), but many of the other chapters could replace the word 'army' with 'team' and the meaning would be the same. Whilst many of the lessons appear simplistic and obvious, experience tells us that sometimes common sense is not so common. Sometimes concepts need to be presented in a simplified fashion for their full power to be revealed. I think that any person either training to be a leader or is already one (military or civilian) should read this book and ponder it's meaning.
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on September 6, 2015
Must read for anyone, 2000 years old but still the basis for civilization and business.
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on November 2, 2015
For the value paid as well the shipping cost, the book and subject was not worth it
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on March 25, 2015
Not much to say on this title. its a military and business staple.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2004
Though this book is rather old, it tells of strategies for team leadership that can be employed in todays society. It is a book detailing great planning and strategy of wartime. It discusses the role of leaders and how they should handle their troops. This information is useful when applied to managing one's own team. When managing a group of workers in a workplace, one must view them as an "army" so to speak who will work together for the greater good of accomplishing a goal. Sunzi's work gives very explicit directions on how to do this.
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