The Art of War – Book Excerpts

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (“Master Sun”), is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to a different set of skills or art related to warfare and how it applies to military strategy and tactics.

For almost 1,500 years it was the lead text in an anthology that was formalized as the Seven Military Classics by Emperor Shenzong of Song in 1080. The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare and has influenced both Far Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy, politics, sports, lifestyles and beyond.

#1. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt

Devote significant time in planning for any project. And more importantly, use deception. Many people get over excited on starting a new project and fail to fool-proof it, ultimately giving your rival an advantage. Your buisness should be seen as struggling to your rivals until you reach a point where you’re outperforming them. “When you’re near, you must make the enemy belive, you’re far away.”

#2. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim

Sun Tzu says, it is extremely important to choose the timing of when to engage the enemy. Having a good strategy is must, but appropriate timing of it’s implementation is essential for it’s success. Like in marketing, it is important to pay attention to what is happening in a market before entering it, and to stay on top of trends, responding to them in real-time.

#3. In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity

Every conflict creates an oppurtunity. Warren Buffet says, the best time to invest is when everyone sells out of fear & prices hit the floor, maximizing the value of your investment. So, as a leader continue to make strongly informed, rational decisions and not decisions based on emotions. Sun Tzu suggests that, remain calm and clear minded during chaos.

#4. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst

Sun Tzu always had to be prepared for the worst, no matter how trained his soldiers were. While going for battle, you have to counter serveal variables and tactics, so it’s better to always be prepared for worst case scenario. Similarly, when you’re working on a project, there can be several instances, when your plan can go wrong, so anticipating this in advance can help you come out with solutions quickly.

#5. If you want to take the island, burn the boats!

“Boats” mean the excuses. If you’ve provided yourself a goal, a dream, then burn every friggin boats! Destroy every possible excuse which blocks your way. Commit entirely to the goal, but again, be prepared for the worst.

From the book:-
The Art of War by Sun Tzu

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