The Art Of War, Famous Book
- Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves
the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of
defeating the enemy.
- To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own
the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
- Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against
defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
- Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without
being able to do it.
- Security against defeat implies defensive tactics;
ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.
- Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient
strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.
- The general who is skilled in defense hides in the
recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from
the topmost heights of
heaven. Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on
the other, a victory that is complete.
- To see victory only when it is within the ken of
the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
- Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight
and conquer and the whole Empire says, "Well done!"
- To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength;
to see the
sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is
no sign of a quick ear.
- What the ancients called a clever fighter is one
who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
- Hence his victories bring him neither reputation
for wisdom nor credit for courage.
- He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making
is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an
enemy that is already
- Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position
makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the
- Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist
battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to
defeat first fights and afterwards
looks for victory.
- The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and
adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control
- In respect of military method, we have, firstly,
secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly,
Balancing of chances; fifthly,
- Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation
to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of
chances to Calculation;
and Victory to Balancing of chances.
- A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as
a pound's weight placed in the scale against a single grain.
- The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting
of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.
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