The Art of War

The Art of War

Book - 2005
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, THE ART OF WAR is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, THE ART OF WAR applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.
Publisher: Boston, Mass. ;, London :, Shambhala,, 2005.
ISBN: 9781590302255
Branch Call Number: 355.02 SU
Characteristics: lxv, 170 pages ; 18 cm
Additional Contributors: Cleary, Thomas F. 1949-


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 26, 2020

What a profoundly stupid book! The translator, like too many others, wishes us to believe the Art of War is really profound - - then makes a number of silly statements lacking in judgment.
The translator says it is taught at the Harvard Business School and later slams the invasion of Iraq -- agreed, but it was due to President George W. Bush, past grad of the Harvard Business School [you know, that guy who also completed USAF ENLISTED basic training at Lackland AFB, but the PuppetMedia kept reporting that he was an officer {never attended OTS} and a pilot {never attended USAF flight school}]. The translator opined: "When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stared down Donald Trump . . . ."
All I need to know about Pelosi is the last [of more than one] workers' rights legislation she killed -- next the translator slammed Brexit, which is reintroducing collective bargaining to the UK [which membership in the EU destroyed] - - notice a pattern here?
The French female translator makes a snarky comment about Steve Bannon -- as one who has always been a radical progressive and never voted for a single republicon -- I have to state that Bannon has made the most intelligent comments on China [CCP] I've yet heard:
"Wall Street is the investor relations department for the Chinese Communist Party, because they're the ones that raise capital for them. The corporations are the lobbyists."
And Bannon continued about the ". . . egregious human rights abuses in China . . ."
Now why don't we hear that from the Clintons and the Bushes, et al.?
Instead, refer to the ancient Chinese game of Go, refined later by the Japanese and Koreans: China's major SIGINT/COMINT bases in Cuba, along with a submarine base and a spy ship base there. Southward: Huawei's presence and influence in Mexico - - and China's other facilities in South America - - their joint venture with Nicaragua to build a second canal - - China's Belt & Road Initiative [OBOR], encircling the Eurasian land mass - - their Cow's Tongue or chain of weaponized artificial islands covering the region where two-thirds of oil shipments traverse - - their joint venture with Iran to build a port where the remaining one-third of oil shipments pass by - - those Confucius Institutes established throughout North America and the planet [by the most anti-Confucius entity in existence, the Chinese Communist Party] - - soon that Go board will be completed!
[It's obvious that berniebrunet read this book {???} - - uncertain about the others . . . ]

Apr 25, 2019

Written as a manual for how to win wars, the art of war now has many uses outside of war, it is used in any competition such as sports and even stretches into the world of business, there are many CEOs and executives who have read this book and encourage the principals it teaches. In the book you will find how to strategically deploy an offensive attack, whether you are a striker for a soccer team, a hedge fund manager trying to leverage a buyout or are actually trying to deploy troops for an offensive attack. There is heavy emphasis on defense, increasing morale or getting the job done properly, being moral to the enemy and granting mercy. Finally how to use resources effectively. This book is 5/5 from me and is one of the many great philosophical books to come out of China. I recommend this book for to anyone competing in almost anything like the examples I listed previously. @selfhelpguru of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

Jan 22, 2019

U101 .S9513 2017

Jul 20, 2018

It gets 3 1/2 stars for two main reasons. First, I accept that some information is lost in translation but this is not a translation but a transliteration, which makes it even more dubious that I am getting the author's words and meanings rather than the translator's. This is the third version I have read and all three WIDELY differ. All of them contain stunning material but are these the thoughts of a Chinese general 2,500 years ago or the thoughts of a 20th century individual? Even native Chinese speakers can't agree on the meaning of certain characters.

Second, the text is obviously corrupt in many ways. Whole sections appear to be missing and, in a few chapters, other Chinese authors (albeit Chinese authors from antiquity) have inserted material. This is not surprising given the age of the text so this is not a simply is a fact.

Overall, despite these limitations, The Art of War is a tremendous read, more for what it does not say rather than what it spells out, giving the reader head space to draw our own conclusions. Such a shame that the full, original text is not extant.

Jun 27, 2018

This is basically a book with various proverbs from Sun Tzu with annotations from various sages and ancient generals. There are some very good nuggets of information sprinkled throughout. Don't go into this book thinking that this is a comprehensive guide to warfare, as it tends to focus on not just the practical aspects of war but also the psychology and philosophical ideology.

I have to admit, the book could have used some better organization like in the chapter of types of terrain they still bring up topics about negotiation and disciplining troops. Not the most organized book as it tends to wander off topic at times. But even when it does, there are still some useful information to be had.

Overall, there are some genuinely useful information spread throughout which can be applied to various applications in life. Depending on how you view things, some proverbs will be far more useful than others. Either way, I still found lots of thought provoking proverbs about philosophy and warfare.

Mar 21, 2017

Did what you said, looked up the quotes online, got the lay of the land. Best piece of advice in a long time. No need to waste one more minute on that.


Jan 02, 2017

The Art of War is a book of quotes organized in several arbitrary chapters. That's it.
There is no story here, no semblance of a plot, not even explicit advice, unless you are interested in 12th century army logistics.

As the author states in the long winded (38 pages) introduction, many quotes are purposely ambiguous, which reflects the uncertainty of life and the fact that leaders need to be adroit politicians. However, many are just paraphrases of others or are different shades of grey. Many are included in multiple chapters. And many should be in the trash bin of history. “ If there are birds on a citadel, then the army has fled.” Is this advice on an invasion? Investment guidance? Too many like this inhabit the book.

So who would benefit from this book? The demand for Sung Dynasty military strategic advice has certainly fallen off. The general reader would find this a tedious slog with few rewards. But if you are in the military or feel that your life and/or career has been one long battle (My sympathies), then possibly.

The hoary “Business is War” axiom will induce many an MBA to seek out this tomb. Don't waste your time. Instead, google “Quotes from The Art of War” and paste one or two on your screen background. Then find out your immediate supervisor's favorite quote from it (He hasn't read it either.) and in an appropriate moment, look thoughtful and regurgitate it. As Cao Cao said : “This means true information is not leaked. ”

LoganLib_Beenleigh Jun 28, 2016

Great book. Highly recommended

AbigailCurious Jul 28, 2015

It's a bible on war, and it reads like one.

Aug 12, 2014


View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Jul 18, 2018

gomiami1972 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top