the art of war by sun tzu

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is one of the oldest texts in the world, and the oldest known treatise on warfare. It has become de rigueur in war colleges, business schools, and other venues.

Most people have incorporated at least part of Sun Tzu’s teaching and thinking in their lives as leaders – whether they know it or not.

It is available in a variety of formats online, so I’m not adding a whole lot of ‘new’ insights, here, more just my thoughts and reactions to the text.

I first read The Art of War online several years ago – it’s an extremely quick read, but it’s very dense, too. I also have it as an audio book (read, sadly, in a near monotone) – and listening to it while driving or at work has been enlightening.

Chapter List

(see alternative headings here)
  1. Detail Assessment and Planning
  2. Waging War
  3. Strategic Attack
  4. Tactical Dispositions
  5. Strategic Military Power
  6. Weaknesses and Strengths
  7. Military Maneuvers
  8. The Nine Variations
  9. Movement and Development of Troops
  10. Situational Positioning
  11. The Nine Battlegrounds
  12. Attacking with Fire
  13. Intelligence and Espionage

Other References

Interestingly, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene covers some of this same ground (no surprise, since his work is based on observations through history).

Today, none of the content of Sun Tzu’s efforts seems surprising: but I can only imagine how revolutionary his work must have been some 2500 years ago.