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The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition Hardcover – May 1 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Watkins Publishing; Ill Rep edition (May 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780282990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780282992
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 939 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"As a reflection of the Chinese mind, this little work is as relevant as any Confucian classic."--The Times (London)

"Shows managers how to be fearless in resolving conflicts."--Boardman Reports

"A brief tract on strategy that has been admired in China for centuries. Some of Mao Tse Tung's most eloquent thoughts are merely rehashes of Sun Tzu and his interpreters."--The Los Angeles Herald Examiner

"Samuel Griffith's original and scholarly translation of The Art of War shows how good scholarship can make an easily readable translation that is much more useful to modern readers."--The Philadelphia Inquirer --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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maps --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a good read. Very insightful, and the book itself is very beautiful. You have to see it in order to appreciate it because these photos don't do the book justice. It's got a cloth-like wrapping that completely encompasses the cover, and the material looks like it shimmers in the light. The lettering looks like gold foil! Honestly, I never knew I'd use the word regal to describe a book but this wonderful book definitely fits the bill.
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Format: Paperback
It is interesting to note that all of the readers see this as a text on war, and how to beat your enemies. The first part of the book should be a leson to all of the war-mongers out there, that is If You Go To War You Have Already Lost. The consequences to your own people and soldiers and even the land must be counted for years after the battle is done. Sun-Tzu explains this well, and proceeds to explain how to wage a war causing the minimum amount of damage and suffering.
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Format: Paperback
For years I've heard people refer to this book as the ultimate tactical planner's guide. However, I never took the time to read it because I was turned off by images of greedy, yuppie stockbrokers refering to this book as their Bible. I didn't want to read anything recommended by corporate head-hunter types. I detested those individuals and any philosophy they espoused.
However, when the war in Afghanistan started, I became fascinated with military tactics and questioned why we have to bomb everything in sight. Is that the only way to win a war and does bombing actually end the conflict or prolong it? I picked up this book hoping to glean some Eastern wisdom from the legendary Sun Tzu. I was not disappointed.
Sun Tzu confirmed everything my instincts had been telling me about this dunderheaded Clausewitzean approach to military tactics. The US's overrealiance on ordinance and smart munitions has resulted in us becoming more and more tactically and politically inept. Our military destroys infrastracture and imposes silly sanctions that only prolong the "total war". In the end we exhaust our resources, frustrate our troops, alieanate our public, and forever ruin the indigenous people's lives. The tragic irony being we do more damage to the people we are trying to save than the "enemy" could have done himself.
Individuals like Bin Laden could have been apprehended had we taken up the offers of the Sudanese or freed up the small tactical units that warned us of this nutjob years ago. Instead we blunder forward with our highly destructive and inevitably ineffectual answer which is attrition warfare. The same thing that probably got us in this mess in the first place.
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Format: Paperback
Indeed, I am heartened to read one reviewer lambasting the general critical acceptance of "The Art of War" as "flowery". Unfortunately, most Westerners see Chinese philosophy as little more than yoga meditation and interior decoration. Of course, this is not the case.
Take, for example, Sun's "Art of War". Here is a man sick of watching ancient Chinese warlords wage war in a sloppy, haphazard fashion (more as a social tradition than anything else), wasting their populace's resources and lives. Thus, Sun writes a magnum opus discussing the proper means of waging war, from gaining the support of the people to clearly articulating goals to ensuring success of well-trained armies in short and long campaigns all the way to the minute details of using fire (even setting other people on fire). Far from the flowery rhetoric of most Western diatribes on Taoism and Buddhism and (enter your favorite Chinese term here), the Art of War is at once simple and immediate, which is why it has survived for 2500 years.
Griffith's translation of this work is masterful as well. Included are many of the commentaries of the ancient scholars (including, for you Three Kingdoms fans, copious amounts of Cao Cao), which show how Sun's text was used in various situations, both in war AND peace). Also, he includes an excellent introduction which places the work in its historical context and speaks of Mao Zedong's use of its precepts. Also are five appendices, one of which contains the other famous Art of War, that of Wu. I was particularly surprised at his none-too-flattering comments regarding the Japanese understanding of this work (truthfully, I think that too many people see the art of war in the Gordon Gecko, "Rising Sun" business sense), particularly in pointing out their blunders during WWII.
All in all, reader, you will be hard-pressed to find a better translation of this seminal work.
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Format: Paperback
War is ugly, dirty, brutal, wasteful and expensive. That is the reality of it. Let's not pretend otherwise.
Having said that, the ancient Chinese master strips away all the familiar trappings of war - the warriors, weapons, forts and tactics - to reveal the essence of conflict and how to win.
His lessons are as valid here and now as they were in an empire a long time ago and far, far away. It simply does not matter how you are fighting, what you are fighting over nor even why you are fighting. If you are forced into conflict with another, the lessons in this book will guarantee victory.
Brute strength, overwhelming force, super weapons, holding the high ground, none of these are required for victory. All that is needed is a leader who can understand and apply the principles of warfare.
Essentially it boils down to three ideas.
1. Know yourself.
2. Know your enemy.
3. Only fight when you can win.
Do this, and you will win competitions, elections, games. Anything that involves conflict. Even wars.
Sun Tzu's elegant language lays bare the principles of warfare, illustrating his lessons with examples from Ancient China. It is a thought-provoking, colourful and valuable book.
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