Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu's Art of War

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is in my opinion the second greatest book ever written (the first is the Bible for me). Written by the famous Chinese general, Sun Tzu it is considered to be one of the oldest military strategy books ever written. It is considered mandatory reading in some military colleges and was said to have been carried by Napoleon and Chairman Mao during their respective life times.

I first heard about this in highschool and got curious as to what it was. Also I was a GI Joe nut at that time and at one point even wanted to join the military *snicker*. I read 2 other versions of the The Art of War by Sun Tzu but the version I'm most comfortable with was the one edited by esteemed novelist, James Clavell. I found it a lot easier to understand because of the anecdotes that were included in between texts that made visualization easier as to what Sun Tzu was driving at. If reading books is not your thing, I also saw a comics version of this somewhere, bet there's probably even a manga version out there.

Why I think it is important is because I've been able to apply it in real life, especially in terms of conflict areas. In its core is the concept that in order to win a battle one must make a lot of preparations and calculations and that one must engage the enemy in your own terms and not the enemy's.

Then of course there is the famous quote:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

The Art of War is not a book you read once but something that you must immerse yourself in often. This way the lessons taught in this book can be more easily understood by you and by that way you can learn to apply it in your day to day life.

The Art of War is not a promotion of war, war is an ugly thing that ruins countless lives because of people's greed. The purpose of this book is as a deterrent because as an often repeated quote, the true object of war is peace and that the true measure of supreme generalship is winning a battle without ever having have to fire a single shot.