The Art of War was written by a Chinese named Sun Tzu, more than 2,000 years ago. While originally conceived as a war-manual, its profound wisdom and knowledge have made the Art of War an all-time classic.
Sun Tzu´s advice inspired communist leader Mao Zedong to victory in China´s Civil War (1946-1950), and has become an a must-have book for the stock-market professionals of Wall Street. Besides teaching one how to become a great leader, the Art of War also contains great advice on how to read the minds of your opponents.
That being said, here are the most memorable quotes of the book:
War is a matter of vital importance for the State: its the province of life or death; the path of survival or ruin. It´s ought to be studied profoundly.
With the joy of overcoming difficulties, people forget the threat of death.
The Five Virtues of a general:
If he is so, his army will call him ¨The Respected One¨.
There has never been a State that has benefited from a prolonged war. War is like fire; those who can´t put aside their arms are consumed by them.
Winning 100 times in 100 battles is not the essence of hability. Submitting an opponent without fighting, is the true essence of hability.
The most important element of war is attacking your opponent´s strategy.
Five Omens of Victorious Men
- He who knows when to fight and when not to.
- He who knows how to use both, big and small troops.
- He whose army is united in spirit.
- He who is prudent and waits for the right moment to attack.
- He whose officials are competent and doesn´t have a meddling superior.
Know the enemy and know thyself; and in a hundred battles you will never face peril.
Being invincible depends one`s self ; that your opponent is vunerable, depends on him.
When planning, never make useless movements. In strategy, never take a step in vain.
Generally, being in charge of many is the same as being in charge of few. It´s a question of organization.
Apparent confusion is a sign of adecuate order; apparent cowardness, of valor; apparent weakness, of strength.
Make the enemy see your strong points as weaknesses, and your weaknesses as strong points.
During the first hours of the morning, the spirit´s of the men are high. During the day, they waver. By the afternoon, their thoughts start wondering home.
Don´t pressure a cornered opponent.
A doctrine of war. Don´t assume the enemy won´t advance; be confident in your own preparation to confront him. Don´t presume he won´t attack; better yet, turn yourself invincible.
How to read your Opponent
- If the enemy is close, but hiding: he is in a favorable position.
- When his messengers approach you with humble words, but he continues his preparations: the enemy will advance.
- When his lenguage is deceitful and he advances slowly: he will retreat.
- If his messengers speak too highly of you: the enemy wishes a ceasefire.
- If out of nowhere, the enemy proposes a ceasefire: he is up to something.
- If instead of advancing, the enemy parades his troops around: he is waiting for reinforcements.
- If 50% of his troops advance and the other 50% retreat: the enemy is setting a trap.
- If the enemy sees an opportunity and doesnt´t move: he is tired.
When sorrouding your enemy, you must always leave an ¨apparent¨ escape route in sight. By showing the enemy´s men the possibility of fleeing, they won´t be obliged to ¨fight to death¨.
The feats of a wise general surpass those of ordinary men because of previous knowledge. (intel/espionage)
The best spies/informants are:
- those who are intelligent but appear stupid
- those who are intrepid but appear inoffensive