‘The Art of War’ is a military strategy book written by the 6th century Chinese author Sun Tzu. It is a classic and is considered to be one of the greatest books ever written on the subject. The principles explained in this book are applicable in various fields of planning, business tactics or even political campaigning. It was even used by the Brazilian football coach to plot his match strategy for the 2002 World Cup. Wherever there is a ‘versus’ scenario, these tactics can be used.

1. Realize that the victorious strategist is he who only seeks battle after the victory has been won. He who is destined to lose, fights first and then looks for victory. It is the acme of excellence to not only win, but to master winning at ease. The clever fighter makes no mistakes and establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. He secures his position so that he may seem invincible and judiciously hides his weaknesses.

2. Understand that the control of a large force is no different than controlling of a few men, being merely the question of dividing the force. The true leader knows both how to utilize his resources and when to make a decision. He plans by making a combination of direct and indirect tactics. He combines his forces so that the enemy may bear similarity to an egg in the path of a grinding stone. Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

3. Know that to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence.Supreme excellence consists of breaking you’re enemy’s resistance without fighting. It is better to recapture an entire army, establishment or company than to destroy it. Hence, the highest form of generalship is to foil you’re enemy’s plans. Second best is to prevent the junction of his forces. Next in order is to attack his forces in the field(direct encounter) and the worst is to conquer his forces. The rule is to avoid destruction if possible. The skillful leader subdues his enemies troops without any fighting. He captures their kingdom without laying siege to them. He overthrows their nation without lengthy operations. He triumphs without losing a man.

4. Know that it is an essential in war to know when to attack. If we outnumber the enemy, we attack them. When evenly matched, we may offer battle. When slightly inferior, we may overcome by superior strategy. If unequal on all accounts, we must flee. For a greater force will, in the end, overcome the inferior force. There are thus 5 essentials to victory… He will win:

  • who knows when to fight and when not to
  • who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
  • who’s army is animated by the same spirit throughout all the ranks.
  • who prepares and takes the enemy unprepared.
  • who has full control over his decisions.

5. Know your enemy as you know yourself.In war, let your objective be victory and not lengthy campaign. Avoid prolonged warfare. Invade your enemy’s resources, for 1 quota of his provisions is equivalent to 20 of our own. Use your enemy’s strength to augment your own.

6. Understand that the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy and does not allow his will to be imposed on him. You can be successful only if you attack those points that are undefended and only defend those which cannot be attacked. Throw in you’re enemy’s way that which he cannot comprehend. This will force him to come out even of the darkest of shadows and reveal himself. Divide his forces and keep your forces concentrated. Scheme so as to discover an enemy’s plan. Find his vulnerabilities. Compare your strength to his. Supreme strategy always aids the inferior side. Do not repeat those tactics that have previously gained you victory. Let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

7. Accept that soldiers must be treated with humanitarianism but controlled by the means of iron discipline. Treat them as your own children and they will stand by you unto death.

8. Believe that the general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service is a true jewel. The question of using a strong or weak force is a question of studying the terrain. We must never enter an alliance with someone without studying their designs. It is only when an army is put in harm’s way that it is capable of striking a death blow for victory. At first, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until he gives you an opening. Then emulate the rapidity of a running hare and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose you. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles without cultivating the spirit of enterprise. The enlightened ruler lays his plans way beforehand. The triumphant commander is he who has the foreknowledge and wisdom to manage his resources effectively and execute his plans without errors.
_______________
About the Author

 

This article was a submitted contribution. see more.

 

Recently Published

Key Takeaway: The consumption of avocados has tripled from 2001 to 2020, with 90% grown in the southwest Mexican state of Michoacán. However, this intensive avocado production is causing significant environmental damage. Monoculture, which introduces homogeneous, high-yielding plant varieties, leads growers to abandon native crops, making the local ecosystem more vulnerable to threats such as […]
Key Takeaway: Archaeologists often find historical objects to be intriguing and fascinating. Some of these objects include carved stone balls, Roman dodecahedra, Neolithic chalk drums, bronze age “lock-rings,” and Romano-British cosmetic grinders. Neolithic stone balls, found predominantly in Scotland, are sculpted and have been a source of debate. Roman dodecahedra, found in Britain, are finely […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaway: The global demand for critical minerals, particularly lithium, is increasing rapidly to meet clean energy and de-carbonisation objectives. Africa hosts substantial resources of these minerals, leading foreign mining companies to invest in exploration and acquire mining licenses. The critical minerals market doubled in five years, reaching US$320 billion in 2022. The demand is […]
Key Takeaway: Oscar nominees Cillian Murphy and Bradley Cooper are gaining attention for their performances and preparation methods. Murphy lost 20 pounds and practiced fake cigarettes to mimic Oppenheimer’s appearance, while Cooper spent six years training in conducting. Method acting, a psychological approach, is often used to make characters seem more real and believable. However, […]

Trending

I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Login

Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics