The Art Of War

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The Art Of War

By Sun Tzu

I - Laying Plans

  • Which army is stronger?

  • On which side are officers and men more highly trained?

  • In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment? 

  • By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat. 

  • The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:--let such a one be dismissed! 

  • While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules. 

  • According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans. 

  • All warfare is based on deception. 

  • Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem 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. 

  • Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. 

  • If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. 

  • If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. 

  • If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. 

  • Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. 

  • These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand. 

  • Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.



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