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on September 19, 2014
Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is a great book.
This ancient classic was written over 2,500 years ago by the legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu, being a
a timeless masterpiece of interaction of power and politics this book 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.
The Art of War is an ageless book that teaches human nature and how to deal with difficult situations in life and business.
The lessons learned in this book can be allied to relationship, friendship, career and make you a more complete person in general. I I recommend this book to be read by all those who wants to succeed in anything they do, It is not just about lessons in war but can be used and applied for everyday life.
"The Art of War" is a must read.
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on December 27, 2003
As an exposition on Chinese General Sun Tzu's ideas of fighting, "The Art of War" is an excellent source to use to look upon the spirit of ancient Chinese war. Written as truly a guide for sucessful battle campaigns, it is functionally just that. It provides a glimpse at how Chinese generals (yes plural - thanks to commentary that is given) viewed fighting and winning battles. In many ways, it provides a philosophical view of how full frontal assaults and pride can lead to the fall of conquests. However, this work is often misused as an application for businesses by capitalists who think that they too should treat the market as a war-zone. In this case, they reduce Tzu's warfare (which would be used to defend the good) to something that harms innocent workers for self-aggrandizement.
If not read from a greedy capitalist standpoint, "The Art of War" provides an excellent source of enlightenment about war tactics of ancient China (that are in many ways applicable today). However, to use Tzu's work as a guide on how to work (and hence, live) is a terrible reason for reading "The Art of War".
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on October 11, 1999
I cannot remember who introduced me to "The Art of War", but I know I could not hold onto the book for very long. Each friend I thought would benefit from the ancient words of Sun Tzu received a copy from me. I went through seven copies before buying the hard cover for my collection.
I found James Clavell's version quite difficult to find, but well worth it - due to clarity of reading and balance.
I tried reading Cleary's version, but could not get through the first chapter. However, I did purchase "Mastering the Art of War" by Cleary; finding it a better tour guide.
Clavell's "Art of War" offers tactical insight on overcoming an opponent whether it be war, work, relationships, or your own personal demons.
Sun Tzu created a timeless piece of history written for the future. I personally feel that today's society needs to look back, master the art of war, in order to repair the future.
Today I'm buying book #9 for a person who inspired me... I wanted to return the favor.
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on April 23, 2003
A friend of mine works for the city of Los Angeles. He told me about all kinds of problems he's had in the past dealing with co-workers over and under him. And then he told me about what helped him to deal with people in a work environment more than anything else: The Art of War. When I got a copy of this book, I was shocked and amazed to see how small the actual book is. But that's not all that shocked me.
This book is the essential and definitive published work on tactics. Every chapter is short, concise, and brilliant. Instead of bothering to tell you about every kind of battle that could possibly take place, the master who wrote this book tells you about every tactical position you might have to deal with in a war, and the best thing to do while in that position. Much of this counsel is simple, even obvious. But that doesn't change the fact that when tensions run high we all need reminders.
The tactics taught to you in this book are amazing. Huge amounts of writing have been devoted to expaining and utilizting the counsel in this book, and what you learn from it will benefit you in all kinds of situations. In business, in games, and in life in general. This book is ESSENTIAL reading. Secure a copy before your enemies do.
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on December 3, 2001
The true object of all war is peace & its requires supreme excellence of knowledge to dismantle enemies resistance without fighting, wiz-a-wig all kinds of intelligence, discipline, deviations - multi-dimensional factors dictate the matter of life, death and the road to , says Shiladitya 'Sunny' Ghosh in a book review of "The Art of War" edited and fore worded by James Clavell.
Very little seems to have changed since last 2,500 years when Sun Tzu, the great Chinese Philosopher wrote "The Art of War" with respect to philosophies of fighting wars. They are still driven by the law of Moral, Commander, Earth, Heaven and Methods of the Majesties commission. But what might have transformed lies in conditions & present resources of war.
Thirteen chapters of must enforceable laws & a foreword on the author Sun Tzu covers the entire spectrum of waging wars. From waging wars to the use of spies, intermingled brilliantly with tactics out of history this book has served as the stratagem guide to Napoleon & the Soviet political-military hierarchy, where it is obligatory bible for soldiers studying the art of war.
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on February 20, 2001
I got this particular edition of Sun Tzu's Art of War at a strategy course for sales. I already had a copy of it at home, but this edition is so nicely done that I gave my old copy away and kept this one. The introduction of James Clavell is a nice touch.
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.
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on January 11, 2001
The Art of War by Sun Tzu covers the basic premises on how to wage war and command troops, much like Machiavelli's Il Principe instructs aspiring rulers the proper way to govern a country. Although the books are similar, The Art of War applies to many more aspects of life than just the conquest of territory. It can easily be carried over into the office, into the home, and even into personal romances. The topics are so broad they can be applied to almost anything yet the details discussed are applicable to every scenario you can think of.
Sun Tzu covers all as he describes the proper course of action to take in all scopes from the entirety of the war to the relations with the individual soldier. Everything from maneuvering troops, to the proper use of various classes of spies is covered in the book, as Tzu describes himself nothing can be omitted from this timeless classic as "The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected." (1). As history has unfolded, it has never been devoid of wars, and does not appear to be in our future. The foreword presents fascinating insight into how great rulers are said to have used and succeeded with The Art of War, prestigious rulers such as Napoleon.
This universal applicability of The Art of War is one of its most enticing and lasting appeals. The book leaves nothing out, covering every aspect of war and its orchestration. Thus it successfully dictates the best course of action to take whether you're a CEO or just another guy looking to pin his relationship down. The foreword is excellent as well, it does a good job setting up the book and giving a brief and quite interesting background of the book's history. The only negative comment I have is the odd editing works during the book when the editor re-summarizes some of the original text into his own words, as that text lacks the power and simplicity of the other directly translated text.
This book is definitely worth the read! Take your time to see how Sun Tzu's writing apply to your own life and you will see how powerful his words are, as it will provide insight into almost any situation you're in.
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on August 11, 2000
As the subject implies, this work is certainly a work of art. Although James Clavell in no way can take credit for this book he has done a great work puting this edition together. This is not only shown in the translation, but also in the foreword as well as in the numerous short interludes that describe events in the Chinese history - events that was either descided upon by the use of Sun Tzu's words, or events that makes a point.
During the XIII chapters you are guided trough all aspects of desicion making in a very poetic but also very precise manner. This will give you a large part of the knowledge you will ever need when commanding your own army. However, this is where the great gets better - take this knowledge and use it in every day life. Wheter you are an admiral or a car salesman you will be able to draw conclusions from this work in a wide number of ways. So do not miss out on this book, this work of art, this book of war - this manual to life itself.
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on September 5, 2000
This book is simply legendary. Why? Something legendary is something that lasts forever. Now, The Art Of War was written by Sun Tzu in about 500BC, and guess, it's still applicable today. The book is divided into thirteen chapters, each explaining every topic on warfare, from laying plans to tactical dispositions and the use of spies. The foreword by James Clavell is very sharp and strong, appropriate to this book. You pretend that a book written in 500BC has many diffucult and not-still-in-use words, but it hasn't! It is so clear that seems simply too easy to understand. Many of the great generals of all time have read it, including the Chinese warriors, the Japanese shoguns, Julius Caesar and Napolean Bonaparte. If I was prime minister I would have made this book obligatory for students of all military warfare with an exam passmark of 95%, because simply, if you know it, you'll win. This is a great book from a great philosopher and it's well worth reading.
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on March 3, 2000
This is the first edition of "The Art of War" I've read and I'm glad I made the decision to pick this one up. Cleary does a remarkable job in the introduction of explaining Sun Tzu's philosophy. The peak efficiency of knowledge and strategy is to make conflict altogether unnecessary: "To overcome others' armies without fighting is the best of skills."
Also, Cleary goes into detail of the Taoist aspect of the text by using quotes and examples from other ancient writings including the Tao Te Ching.
A rather nice touch to this edition is that following each of Tzu's sentences or paragraphs (written in boldface to be indentified easily) are the further explanations of various Chinese commentators from Cao Cao in 155-200 C.E. to Ho Yanxi of the Sung Dynasty. These commentaries help to easily show the finer points of each ideology.
Overall, a quality work that I'd recommend to anyone interested in reading "The Art of War".
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