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 1 month ago by Julien
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. The quoter usually thinks repeating the word is some sort of magic.
Most versions of this work spend more time trying to identify and qualify Sun Tzu's writings than just quoting them. I will not go through...
Published on July 21 2006 by bernie
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic,
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This review is from: The Art of War (Kindle Edition)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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of War,
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Written in the 6th century B.C., The Art of War remains the ultimate guide to combat strategy. Sun Tzu explains when and how to engage opponents in order to prevail in difficult situations. Instead of describing the logistics of warfare, he shows the reader how to succeed by motivating soldiers and leveraging tactical advantages. In short, he explains how to win the battle of wits. Though it was written for the battlefield, The Art of War contains valuable advice for other endeavors as well. Tzu's work has been lauded by sports coaches, business executives, and other leaders of the 21st century. This edition contains the translation of Lionel Giles, widely considered the most faithful and authoritative translation.
3.0 out of 5 stars A few grains of truth in a lot of chaff,
This review is from: The Art of War (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Paperback)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. The quoter usually thinks repeating the word is some sort of magic.
Most versions of this work spend more time trying to identify and qualify Sun Tzu's writings than just quoting them. I will not go through all the arguments as to who "wrote what when" or "translated what when" as you can read this for yourself.
Another distraction is the attempt to show how the book was applied or not applied in recent wars. This may be interesting to someone whose intention is to apply the theories of Sun Tzu; however it is not his writing but someone else's interpretation of its application.
Now let's finally get to Sun Tzu. It is easy with hindsight and a closer look at the future to dismiss Sun Tzu as his practical tactical knowledge is of a time and place long gone. He spends a lot of time on the use of weapons and information gathering techniques of the time. This can be interesting in a historical context; other wise it is quite amusing.
Oh yes those grains of truth I mentioned, well they may sound like clich's but they are still viable. "Know your enemy and know yourself". Others are just practical sense and statistical outcomes that you learn in any military training. I could go through the list, but again that is why you buy the book.
Now just as you decide that the book is outdated for any practical purposes today we have artillery and now stealth and precision, the reminder that "no two wars are alike" and "it is flexibility that makes a difference" is being shown today to still be true. Even in today's wars there is a need for good intelligence and deception. We put a lot of time and energy into Psy-Ops. Sun Tzu shows the advantage in specialized units and crack troops.
I have spent several years in the military and in business and can say this book is a nice addition to history, otherwise of very little value to today's world for war or business.
The most abuse of this book is trying to use it for projects as project management is a science that that was in its infancy at the time this book was written.
5.0 out of 5 stars Applicable on more than just the battlefield,
This review is from: Sun Tzu on the Art of War (Paperback)The Art of War, a military treatise written by Sun Tzu around 500 B.C. in ancient China, teaches many good lessons to anyone who will ever have to command a group of people, in the workplace, in school, or on the battlefield. This is the only translation I have read, and it is easy to understand without being boring, so I assume that it is a good translation. A very useful and interesting book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should know about Sun Tzu...,
This review is from: Sun Tzu's Art of War: The Modern Chinese Interpretation (Paperback)I take a star off because, frankly, alot of the geography/history is a bit too arcane for the Western reader.
But it's a great book nonetheless.
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic translation,
By A Customer
This review is from: On the Art of War (Paperback)This is the classic translation by Lionel Giles, formerly of the British Museum, of Sun Tzu's great military treatise. It includes numerous footnotes and explanatory notes. It is a 'straight', translation with many of the more interesting and amusing anecdotes that have come to surround Sun Tzu - such as the 'drilling the concubines' story, in which Sun Tzu beheads the Emperor's favourite concubine to demonstrate the efficiency of discipline, and the requirements of leadership.
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just instructional,
4.0 out of 5 stars War, not business.,
I can understand why this book was a fad in the business world but object to claims that the tactics described in this book are easily applied to business. This is a book about conflict, specifically, war, and there is much wisdom lost if it is taken out of its context. There is much excellent advice for analogous situations; political persuasion and debate, games of Go, Shogi or Chess, or even sporting events.
When taken from the world of conflict to the business, the realm of cooperation (in the sense that competing businesses compete to cooperate the best with their customers), The Art of War becomes yet another tome of "Eastern" sayings which sound pretty and can be "applied to any situation" only because they come to mean very little.
Those who will be in a conflict situation or wish to prepare for one, even if it is a simple game of Go, should study this book. Read the text and the anecdotes, and come back later to read it again gaining fresh insight.
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic that has practical application,
It is amazing to me that this book is not read in high schools or colleges in favor of Machiavelli's work (The Prince or The Art of War.) Sun Tzu's writing is clear and to the point. Unlike the popular Book of Five Rings by Musashi, this book is not metaphorical and poetic; it's downright practical. And it's not hard to read, unlike many classics.
If you are doing business in China, this is also a good book to know. I mentioned some of the classic strategies while giving a course in China, and every member of the class had read it, knew it well, and gave me many examples from recent Chinese history where Sun Tzu's strategies were employed. This book is close to their hearts, and will give you insight if you are doing business in the East.
Of course, the most famous anecdote from this book is about gaining the obedience of troops; the emperor, wishing to interview Sun Tzu for the commission of general, asked if Sun Tzu's military principles could be applied to women. Sun Tzu replied yes, the principles worked for women as well as men. Accordingly, Sun Tzu was given the task of organizing the emperor's many concubines into an army. Sun Tzu lined up the concubines and set the two favorites as officers at the head of the columns.
He gave them a simple set of orders to march and drill (eyes front, right face, about face. The drums sounded and instead of following the commands, the girls simply giggled and blushed.
He repeated the orders again, saying that if the orders were not clear, it is first the fault of the general. He repeated the commands, and the girls simply stood and giggled again.
"If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders ARE clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers." Upon saying this, he ordered the two concubines at the head of the troop, favorites of the emperor, to be beheaded.
The emperor hurriedly sent down the command to stop, he had no desire to see his favorites executed. The emperor said "We are satisfied that the general knows how to command."
But Sun Tzu said, "Once having received the commission, there are certain commands I am unable to accept." And he ordered the two favorites to be beheaded. Once again, he gave the commands. The concubines marched, whirled about and drilled in perfect order. The emperor appointed Sun Tzu general.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun Tzu: Strategy for the Ages,
By A Customer
strategy treatise compresses all of the lessons
of Machiavelli into a workable reference, leaving
out the fifty ways to screw your neighbor but
leaving in how to win without lifting a finger.
Required reading for the businessman and other
players in the Big Game as well as those playing
chess with the sons and daughters of their
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The Art of War (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Sun Tzu (Mass Market Paperback - May 1 2003)
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