Editorial Review / Publisher's Information:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle....
These are the words of ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, whose now-classic treatise, The Art of War, was written more than 2,500 years ago. Originally a text for victory on the battlefield, the book has vastly transcended its original purpose.
Here is a seminal work on the philosophy of successful leadership that is as applicable to contemporary business as it is to war. Today many leading American business schools use the text as required reading for aspiring managers, and even Oliver Stone's award-winning film Wall Street cites The Art of War as a guide to those who strive for success.
Now acclaimed novelist James Clavell, for whom Sun Tzu's writing has been an inspiration, gives us a newly edited Art of War. Author of the best-selling Asian saga consisting of Shogun, Tai-Pan, Gai-jin, King Rat, Noble House, and Whirlwind, Clavell first heard about Sun Tzu in Hong Kong in 1977, and since then The Art Of War has been his constant companion--he refers to it frequently in Noble House. He has taken a 1910 translation of the book and clarified it for the contemporary reader. This new edition of The Art Of War is an extraordinary book made even more relevant by an extraordinary editor.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Art of War is the Swiss army knife of military theory--pop out a different tool for any situation. Folded into this small package are compact views on resourcefulness, momentum, cunning, the profit motive, flexibility, integrity, secrecy, speed, positioning, surprise, deception, manipulation, responsibility, and practicality. Thomas Cleary's translation keeps the package tight, with crisp language and short sections. Commentaries from the Chinese tradition trail Sun-tzu's words, elaborating and picking up on puzzling lines. Take the solitary passage: "Do not eat food for their soldiers." Elsewhere, Sun-tzu has told us to plunder the enemy's stores, but now we're not supposed to eat the food? The Tang dynasty commentator Du Mu solves the puzzle nicely, "If the enemy suddenly abandons their food supplies, they should be tested first before eating, lest they be poisoned." Most passages, however, are the pinnacle of succinct clarity: "Lure them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion" or "Invincibility is in oneself, vulnerability is in the opponent." Sun-tzu's maxims are widely applicable beyond the military because they speak directly to the exigencies of survival. Your new tools will serve you well, but don't flaunt them. Remember Sun-tzu's advice: "Though effective, appear to be ineffective." --Brian Bruya