Sun Tzu or Sunzi

Sun
Tzu or Sunzi
544 B.C.
496 B.C.

Chinese Military General, Strategist and Philosopher known for authoring "The Art of War"

Author Quotes

Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

Supreme excellence in warfare consists of subduing the enemy without fighting.

The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to w in or lose.

There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.

To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.

When able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

You have to believe in yourself.

It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best.

Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.

Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.

The art of giving orders is not to try to rectify the minor blunders and not to be swayed by petty doubts.

The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

To perceive victory when it is known to all is not really skillful. Everyone calls victory in battle good, but it is not really good.

When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.

It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.

Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose.

The art of war is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are: 1) The Moral Law; 2) Heaven; 3) Earth; 4) The Commander; 5) Method and discipline. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regard less of their lives, undismayed by any danger. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness. By Method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the gradations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

The more you read and learn, the less your adversary will know.

There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

It is imperative to contest all factions for complete victory, so the army is not garrisoned and the profit can be total. This is the law of strategic siege.

No leader should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no leader should fight a battle simply out of pique. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. Hence the enlightened leader is heedful, and the good leader full of caution.

Author Picture
First Name
Sun
Last Name
Tzu or Sunzi
Birth Date
544 B.C.
Death Date
496 B.C.
Bio

Chinese Military General, Strategist and Philosopher known for authoring "The Art of War"