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

The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete.

There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army: By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey; This is called hobbling the army. By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army; This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds. By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to baulk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine.

You cannot stop innovation.

Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack. One defends when his strength is inadequate; he attacks when it is abundant.

Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards... Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

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.

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"