Title: The Art of War.
Writer(s): Sun Tzu.
Publisher: Arcturus Publishing.
Release Date: May 15th, 2017 (first published -500 BC).
Genre(s): Classics, Philosophy, Non-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Disputes. Fights. Confrontations. Conflicts. Battles. War. The opposition of two forces is not unbeknownst by humankind. It has led many to obtain what they desire through a stunning demonstration of wit or force. After all, history is written by the victors and no one goes out there to lose. Or die. However, the road to victory has been paved by many in a myriad of ways but is there a never-failing guideline to achieve it? The answer might actually be in a tiny booklet written 500 years before Christ.
What is The Art of War about? In a 13 chapter compilation, Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu explores the necessary military strategies and tactics to warfare. Divulged in a format similar to a bulleted list, he presents the secrets to come out victorious in a battle that couldn’t be avoided. While he doesn’t hesitate to highlight the advantages and weaknesses that can be identified during war, he makes it easy for anyone to understand that overcoming adversity and laying waste to your opponent is all within arm’s reach.
Unsurprisingly, this short piece of wisdom indulges analogies and metaphors focused on nature and animals to convey its maxims regarding warfare. Straight-forward, clear, and simple, each sentence looks to argue and convince the reader of the simplicity of victory through knowledge of the battlefield and the enemy. While it is easy to conclude that numbers and resources are all you need to win battles, Sun Tzu reminds us that war also includes a psychological battle of minds as he often alludes to deception as one of the greatest tools for victory.
With very little words, he is able to convey the complexity of war and break down the subtle strategies that make all the difference in managing your odds at triumphing over your opponent. I won’t lie that Sun Tzu’s ability to demonstrate the superiority of a passive-aggressive display of power is impressive. War isn’t just about flexing muscles. It implies a meticulous analysis of circumstances, ranging from opportunities to inside information, that will be decisive in a battle.
Over the years, this book has been mentioned thoroughly throughout various forms of entertainment, almost making it seem like it had something to offer beyond the context of war. It is true. Many of the one-liners and quotable bits can be extrapolated to various dynamics in life, whether it be within sports or within your job’s organization. I do, however, feel like it still remains much more insightful in the context for which it was designed, as a lot is lost and sometimes misinterpreted when applied outside of military environments.
Not to mention that its incredibly masculine vision of war will probably not appeal to many and complicate it a bit in its potential application to everyday life. Nonetheless, there are still countless contexts, whether it’s between two individuals or online groups in the cyberworld, where this book offers unquestionable advice for success.
The Art of War is an eye-opening philosophy of warfare resource management and understanding trimmed down to essential rules for victory.