The Art of War by Sun Tzu Review

I’ve always wanted to read this classic and was reminded by it when I found this new version on the top shelf of my favorite bookstore.

The art of war is a 13-chapters book written by a Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu.
The original chapters are small and fun to read, the book itself would amount to no more than 40 pages, however, this version contains additional content. Most notably a commentary on all 13 chapters as well as stories of Sun Tzu and his existence (or possibly non-existence?) in ancient books.

If you’re interested in history, you will find the first few segments of the second part to be very engaging, but I am not very big on ancient Chinese memoires hence, I skimmed through some parts up to the commentary.

Lionel Giles (translator and commentator) notes many interesting things throughout the chapters such as related quotes by other Chinese war strategists, different translations that fit mentioned words better, interesting facts and extra explanations. I would suggest you buy the book with the commentary if you would like to have a deeper, more sophisticated look into The Art of War.

Although the book was written during the time of castle sieges and knights on open fields, the strategies that Sun Tzu examines can be applied to military strategies of the 21st century. We can also interpret his tactics as business stratagems (take a state intact becomes capture the market without destroying it, much like cutting prices and winning market share at the cost of making profit).

There are many ways to read into The Art of War, and I suppose that’s what makes it the success it is today. The ideas aren’t new, nor are they radical, but seeing them put together in such a fashionable manner helps readers grasp what is written on, as well as in between, the lines. As mentioned, the chapters are small (one to three pages each) and the ideas are written down as bullet points, so the book can be read multiple times in one sitting and I encourage you to read it with a different perspective each time, try on different lenses and take your time to interpret the lessons.

Enjoy and always bring a book home. x

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