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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 6, 2014
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. I've quoted Sun Tzu often enough, especially in the old Quote meme I used to host, but felt weird having never read the book.
Amazon had it free and that was my golden opportunity to read it and see exactly what I had been missing.
Aren't most philosophical statements just common sense told in parable? That's how I see them, and that was especially true in this book. Most of the points or statements Sun Tzu made, I felt were common sense if you just sat and thought about it.
I took time after each point/statement and thought hard about what it meant. Sometimes you didn't have to think hard at all, it was plain as day. Each one rang true, and each one was different from the last.
Look, I know we are not a world where every country is at war. But this book isn't just about fighting a war on land, it also touches on the wars we have within ourselves.
Sadly, I don't think everyone will 'get' this book. Nor will everyone enjoying reading it, but I did.
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on August 27, 2003
What do Tony Soprano and Gordon Gekko have in common?
A. They are successful leaders
B. They are fictitious characters
C. They have been involved in illegal activities
D. They quote The Art of War by Sun Tzu
E. All of the above
Both the HBO character Tony Soprano and the Wall Street maverick played by Michael Douglas expounded on the wisdom found in The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Reading this short book will provide you with interesting quotes at cocktail parties, such as "In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace."
As you may be aware, The Art of War is not a recent edition to Amazon's list; it missed Amazon by 25 centuries. It is, however, a favorite of many contemporary executives who believe that its lessons on strategy and tactics of warfare may be applied metaphorically to business situations. In addition, since it is read and studied in Asia, it is thought by many to provide insight into eastern thought and philosophy, especially in business competition.
As a reference for leaders, it provides timeless advice for dealing with conflict, especially in competitive situations. For example it provides advice to:
End conflicts quickly: "In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare."
Conduct research thoroughly: "The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought."
Build Esprit de Corps at all levels of the organization: "He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks."
Beware of five leadership faults: recklessness, cowardice, delicacy of honor, hasty temper, and over solicitude for subordinates.
By the way, the correct answer is "E".
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on February 13, 2012
Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of positioning in military strategy, and that the decision to position an army must be based on both objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective beliefs of other, competitive actors in that environment. He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations.
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on April 30, 1997
I agree with fellow reviewers that this is a
classic for any situation or need... However,
given Cleary's history of mistranslations (such
as The Book of the Five Rings) I believe that
a translation from a modern author of Chinese origin (maybe even another westerner- but I doubt it) who is fluent in both English and Chinese would fare better with readers. (I've seen one - unfortunately I forgot the author's name)
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on February 25, 2001
This is a well-edited edition of Sun Tzu; the only aspect that left something to be desired was the inclusion of illustrative anecdotes; I would have preferred if they were left to the end of the chapter.
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.
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on December 8, 2000
If you're in competition of any sort, you'd do well to read this classic work of Eastern Philosophy. While it primarily applies to warfare, with a little thought, you can understand how the information within can be applied to anything -- from business to sports.
The book is well laid-out, with an informative introduction to the work. Throughout, we get the primary points of Sun Tzu's work, which are further expounded upon by other Chinese philsophers that followed him. In most cases, this allows you to understand exactly what Sun Tzu what saying, there are instances where the quotes/explanations from the other philosophers directly contradict what Sun Tzu said, which makes things a little uncertain.
This does not mean you should discount this book -- it is actually an extremely good piece, both for the Eastern Philosophy or Military Sciences enthusiast, but for the beginner as well.
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on July 2, 2002
I read this book as part of a summer internship that I had, and I read it, along with The Book of the Five Rings and Machiavelli's The Prince, with the goal of parallelling its age-old principles to modern business. It is a good book, at some points very military-specific, but all in all a book that anyone could walk away from having benefited from the read. Its maxims can, with an open mind, be applied to almost any walk of life, though especially to the business world. It emphasises loyalty, determination, and most importantly foresight and analysis as keys to success in life.
I give it a 4. Its not necessary to get through life. A lot of what it says is obvious. It is a good book to recommend to anyone because you cant go wrong with it and you look well read. I certainly recommend it over the Book of the Five Rings.
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on February 13, 2001
Going to war? No matter if it's a marketing campaign, dealing w/that antagnistic co-worker, or playing a game of chess this is the book that you should have close at hand.
True to the original text this easy to read primer for strategy & tactics describes when & what do regardless of the situation with one admonishment from The Master himself "But remember: While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules and modify your plans accordingly." This dynamic prompts the user to look for more ways to insert the sage advice of this great man.
A bit more detailed & secular than Miyamoto Musashi's "A Book Of Five Rings" it is the perfect supplemental and complentary guide w/these two books you can conquer any adversary.
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on September 2, 2001
As an astrologer, metaphysician and VisionCoach, I have been recommending this book to my clients, most of whom are women and most of whom would never have considerd reading such a book as this unless I had pointed it out to them. I think it is a shame more women don't read this book. I have been a student of military history for many years and I understand that in many ways, life is war. This book, in such a beautiful new translation by James Cleary, teaches us excellent metaphysics in the most ancient of ways. Learn how to nip your problems in the bud, like the doctor's "famous eldest brother". Read this quick, easy and user-friendly version of a classic theory of prevention that has stood the test of time. And, please, tell a woman friend!!
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on July 22, 2003
Sun Tzu's The Art of War is a great book about strategy and battle. It provides methods for beating your opponent by forcusing on Taoistic beliefs of peace. In other words beating your opponent with out even having to fight them by out smarting them.
This book is excellent in that it can be applied to politics and business, and for me, the stockmarket. All people can take many good ideas from this book.
The only down side, is that some of it gets repetative, and you often times need to read slow because of the philosophy behind it, in order to take it all in.
This book should be a must read on anyones list!
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