Sun Tzu is widely regarded as the greatest war leader and strategist of all time. His leadership and conflict resolution concept has been employed for ages, not only on battlefields but also in everyday life.
Sun Tzu conveyed essential military methods that extend beyond combat into disciplines including administration, business, politics, and sports through his classic, The Art of War.
Sun Tzu Early Years
Sun Tzu’s early life is shrouded in mystery. Historians think he was born as Sun Wu in the ancient Chinese city of Qi during the Spring and Autumn seasons (approximately in 544 BCE). He is thought to be the son of aristocratic parents, but little is known about his family life, childhood, education, or military beginnings.
Sun Tzu lived during the Age of Warring Nations, a turbulent period marked by a great struggle between seven states vying for the sovereignty of China. During this time, states sought men with experience in leadership and strategy to aid them in gaining an advantage in battle.
Ascend the ranks
King He-Lu of Wu governed one of the seven warring states. A young Sun Tzu was among his army of mercenary troops, and he exhibited a keen interest in military tactics. He stood out from other soldiers because of his intelligence and unusual ambush and espionage methods. Sun Tzu was quickly promoted to one of the military’s most powerful positions.
One of the most well-known Sun Tzu anecdotes is about King He-Lu, who discovered the potential generally and put him to the test. Sun Tzu’s military strategies were something the King wanted to learn about, so he requested him to demonstrate his ability before selecting him as his war strategist.
According to legend, the King held a mock military rehearsal in which Sun Tzu was tasked with commanding and training an army. The army, however, was made up of around 200 royal concubines and maids who were there for the training.
Sun Tzu split the army into two groups, each led by one of the King’s favorite consorts. The women burst out laughing and amusement when I gave them a directive. As a result of their actions, the general became enraged and ordered the two women to be shot right away.
Fearing that a mock drill might result in the deaths of his beloved consorts, King He-Lu pleaded with the general to spare their lives. Sun Tzu, on the other hand, remained adamant, emphasizing that victory on the battlefield is contingent on the warriors’ complete obedience.
The public beheading of the two ladies sent a powerful message to the Wu military that disobedience is unacceptably dangerous and has no place in the army. Despite the loss of his beloved consorts, King He-Lu appointed Sun Tzu as his kingdom’s Commander-in-Chief.
Sun Tzu, as the army’s brain, devised his own fighting theories and techniques. After that, he led King He-realm Lu’s to numerous victories over more strong powers.
The Art of War’s Legacy
Sun Tzu spent the majority of his life fighting on numerous battlefields. His views and experience aided him in flawlessly devising and executing combat strategies. He served as a military adviser to King He-Lu and his successor after withdrawing from active service.
When the number of kingdom-to-kingdom warfare dwindled, Sun Tzu, passed on his wisdom in the form of a text called “The Art of War.” It is concerned with the philosophy and psychology of war: techniques for injuring the enemy’s morale while increasing the confidence of one’s own army. It is concerned with the philosophy and psychology of war: techniques for injuring the enemy’s morale while increasing the confidence of one’s own army. It also examines the attributes that a ruler, military commander, and soldier must possess to succeed in combat.
Over the last two millennia, military philosophers have been shaped by “The Art of War.” The Samurai of ancient Japan is said to have revered the book’s precepts and used them to advocate for Japan’s unification.
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France employed it in his fight against other European countries. Sun Tzu’s influence on Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong’s triumph in the Chinese Civil War of 1949 has been acknowledged more recently. In countries like Vietnam, Russia, and the United States, it is still used as a textbook in military schools.
Sun Tzu’s concepts are applicable in a variety of fields, including management, business, politics, and even sports. Competition thrives in these domains, just as it does in battle. It’s a contest of wills.
It’s a competition in which the most effective and efficient use of resources determines the winner. The element of surprise, deceit, moves, tactics, and obtaining an advantage over the opponent is all-important.
Sun Tzu is thought to have passed away about 496 BCE. His life’s effort influenced the modern world and changed the rules of battle.
Here are 30 of “The Art of War’s” most brilliant lessons:
Quotes by Sun Tzu
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tzu
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu
“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.” – Sun Tzu
“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.” – Sun Tzu
“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” – Sun Tzu
“Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.” – Sun Tzu
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.” – Sun Tzu
“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.” – Sun Tzu
“It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy.” – Sun Tzu
“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.” – Sun Tzu
“Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” – Sun Tzu
“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.” – Sun Tzu
“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.” – Sun Tzu
“Rewards for good service should not be deferred a single day.” – Sun Tzu
“Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.” – Sun Tzu
“Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.” – Sun Tzu
“Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.” – Sun Tzu
“Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.” – Sun Tzu
“The wise warrior avoids the battle.” – Sun Tzu
“Bravery without forethought, causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull. Such an opponent must not be encountered with brute force, but maybe lured into an ambush and slain.” – Sun Tzu
“Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.” – Sun Tzu
“If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be unless.” – Sun Tzu
“If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.” – Sun Tzu
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu
“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.” – Sun Tzu
“The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy so that he cannot fathom our real intent.” – Sun Tzu
“Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.” – Sun Tzu
“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.” – Sun Tzu
“What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins but excels in winning with ease.” – Sun Tzu
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” – Sun Tzu