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Chinese military general and strategist Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is a well-known literary classic that has widely influenced not only the leaders of military studies all over the world but politicians, business people and athletes as well. Written around 2,500 years ago,…
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Book Review of The Art of War by Sun Tzu
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The Art of War by Sun Tzu: A Book Review The Art of War by Sun Tzu: A Book Review Chinese military general and strategist Sun Tzu’s“The Art of War” is a well-known literary classic that has widely influenced not only the leaders of military studies all over the world but politicians, business people and athletes as well. Written around 2,500 years ago, “The Art of War” enumerates several strategic principles that one can apply to different situations in order to achieve success in both anticipated and foreseen challenges, relationships, and in war or conflict. According to Sun Tzu, formulating a clean and effectual strategy can avoid disagreements and can help develop rational decisions especially during demanding conditions. In a concise thirteen-chapter piece that seem like a long essay instead of a whole book, the author acknowledges the essentiality of accomplishing the goals set by an individual or an institution and the authority that comes with it, thus maintaining that success results to wealth, power and supremacy (Sun and Cleary, 2005).
Strategizing a game plan before executing any action is a potent instrument in understanding the behavior and thinking process of your rivals. By devising multiple plans in a given situation, one can predict the possible moves of the other party and therefore obtain an upper hand in the process. Sun Tzu reveals the five main factors of his strategy: moral ethics, climate, ground or terrain, leadership and method. Studying these elements before engaging to combat will greatly increase one’s chances of victory. The author’s principles are based on Taoist philosophy which means that moral ethics should act as the central factor in any decisions or actions that a company or an institution make. In addition, climate or changes in weather, temperature and other uncontrollable factors can be favorably used in grabbing the chance of prospering when the opponent least expects it. This is applicable not only to military tactics but to businesses as well, since the economic environment is a vital factor in modifying strategies according to proper timing. Moreover, ground is considered as the battlefield where military actions take place. An effective leader must know how to handle a particular location or situation and use it as an asset against the other group. Flexibility and adaptability are very important in resolving uncontrollable circumstances. Furthermore, leadership and methods used are also significant factors in winning since the wisdom of the leader together with the creation of effective methods in surviving and success assures the discipline and dedication needed in combat (Sun and Cleary, 2005).
Although considered mainly as a rulebook for warfare, “The Art of War” possesses deep wisdom about strategy and planning that is also relevant in achieving success in everyday life. A historical overview of the author’s life and of the situation of China in the ancient times are established in the beginning of the book, while different tactics and concept of historical battles. However, most of the ideas found in the book are either too common or outdated. The lessons that Sun Tzu imparts to the reader are obvious reminders that are usually being done in most situations such as the benefits of formulating a strategy, the best time to retreat and when to find an alliance. Also, the quotes throughout the book are lyrical yet the overall text is kind of disjointed in thought, probably because of the limitations in the translation from the original version. Another thing that was observed was that the author literally praised his own strategies in battle in the early part of the book, insisting that his ways are better and that any opposed views are comparable to ignorance. The arrogant perspective of Sun Tzu reflect a biased approach on his work, thus gives the reader a feeling of overconfidence on his part. Consequently, Sun Tzu is a Taoist therefore the messages conveyed in the book may pose a deeper meaning when thoroughly pondered on.
Nevertheless, “The Art of War” is an indispensable narrative that is essential in dealing with war and conflicts, as well as with various situations related to business or sports where an individual is striving for success. Strategies are utilized to effectively achieve one’s goals and conducting different plans of actions in different climates and elements are important in properly executing such actions. Outdated as it may seem due to its antiquity, Sun Tzu’s work is still considered as a vital piece in attaining victory in any given circumstances.
Reference
Tzu, Sun and Cleary, Thomas. 2005. The art of war. Shambhala. Read More
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