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Sun Tzu Art of War

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  • #31
    My favorite quote is this:

    "It is best to keep one's own state intact; to crush the enemy's state is only a second best. It is best to keep one's own army, battalion, company, or five-man squad intact; to crush the enemy's army, battalion, company, or five-man squad is only a second best. So to win a hundred victories in a hundred batles is not the highest excellence; the highest excellence is to subdue the enemy's army without fighting at all."


    I also don't like the fact that a lot of books has come out adapting Sun Tzu's work to various fields. Not to argue their usefulness or success in adapting it, but I guess it does make it sort of cliche to say, "I've read Sun Tzu", when in fact the context some people are using are vastly different from what it was originally intended for. That said, I've found some adaptations to be surprisingly well-written

    I also have Robert Greene's 33 Strategies, and I really like it too; particularly the fact that he draws on history to illustrate his points. Sort of how some of the posters here do, too, actually. Which is why I like this forum, am learning a lot. Thanks, guys, you know who you are.
    "We have no white flag."

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    • #32
      As military intelligence officer, I like Sun Tzu's "signs of significance". They were based on human aspects which would be too difficult to manipulate in war or battle, such as, when the men who go for water drink first then the army is thirsty; when the men lean on their spears they are tired; and when they turn their cooking pots over on their camp fires, they plan to fight to the end.

      Later while researching indicators that the German army used for determining Red Army actions, I found a similar list of "signs of significance." For German intelligence, they would notice the length in the guard sectors to determine widening or narrowing of a unit's sector [narrowing would indicate attack]; if they saw new faces such as Asians or different languages, that meant reinforcing a sector for an attack; the issuance of vodka before the attack; and for an army that was good at camouflaging, spotty camouflaging met the arrival of additional troops [it is human nature that one would better camouflage their own position than one to be occupied by someone else].

      Then, serving in Korea during the winter when concern for a North Korean attack was highest, I learned that the South Koreans watched to see if the North Koreans soldiers north of the DMZ hung out their morning wash.
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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      • #33
        I once heard something similar to your "signs of significance." We were told not to leave cigarette butts in the field because it was an indication of the state of supply.
        AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
        The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.

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        • #34
          Here is a link to Project Gutenberg's audio books, Art of War by Sunzi (SunTzu).

          http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20594

          I've found it works great as a MP3 listened to on an iPod, while driving in a car over distance. Or while traveling on an airplane.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Torien View Post
            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.
            - Sun Tzu, the Art of War


            I am one of those who think that the teachings of Sun Tzu can be applied to many fields of study.
            I agree that we should take the lessons of Sun Tsu and apply them as best we can, but do not discount other lessons that history's war masters have taught us.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by stukoke View Post
              I agree that we should take the lessons of Sun Tsu and apply them as best we can, but do not discount other lessons that history's war masters have taught us.
              Very good point. Could probably be stated about every book...
              History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
              _________
              BoRG
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              "I am Arthur, King of the Britons!"

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              • #37
                I had to read it a few years ago for work. It was kind of like reading the Book of Five Rings. It didn't make a lot of sense to me the first time reading.
                TTFN

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                • #38
                  It's one of those books you have to keep going back to, like On War and Jomini's Art of War. Book of Five Rings I re-read the other weak, at least some of it's 'books'/chapters. I think Sunzi's Art of war is more understandible though
                  ------
                  'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

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                  • #39
                    I have returned to Sun Tzu several times throughout the years. As I get older, I find that he offers the most succinct, timeless analysis of warfare.

                    It is hard to come up with a favorite, but currently, the following passage strikes me:

                    "Anciently those called skilled in war conquered an enemy easily conquered. And therefore the victories won by a master of war gain him neither reputation for wisdom nor merit for valour."
                    - The Art of War, VI.10-11
                    There is a lot to digest here, but Sun Tzu stresses elsewhere that the true mastery of war is to win without fighting. When we think of great commanders of history, we often associate them with grand victories on the battlefield. Yet, Sun Tzu believes the true masters of war won victories that seemed so easy, we hardly notice them. This was due to the commander putting his troops in a position to win, as opposed to slugging it out on the battlefield.

                    So were the greatest victories of someone like Napoleon at battles like Austerlitz (1805) or Friedland (1807) where he confronted armies and beat them on the battlefield? Or was it during a campaign like Ulm (1805) where he outmaneuvered an army and hardly had to fight to defeat it? I believe it was the latter and so would Sun Tzu.
                    Historian on the Warpath | Medievalism on Screen: An Annotated Bibliography

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                    • #40
                      A free e-book.

                      The Art of War





                      By: Sun Tzu c. 554 BC – c. 496 BC

                      The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it has long been praised as the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time. Translated by Lionel Giles.

                      http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/boo...war-by-sun-tzu
                      Credo quia absurdum.


                      Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
                        The Art of War





                        By: Sun Tzu c. 554 BC – c. 496 BC

                        The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it has long been praised as the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time. Translated by Lionel Giles.

                        http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/boo...war-by-sun-tzu
                        Thank you! I look really forward to reading this today!
                        "War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity." - General George S. Patton

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                        • #42
                          We have no clue if Sun Tzu even existed.
                          First Counsul Maleketh of Jonov

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Delenda estRoma View Post
                            We have no clue if Sun Tzu even existed.
                            Well, I'm pretty sure that he did

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu
                            http://scienceofstrategy.org/main/content/sun-tzus-life
                            "War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity." - General George S. Patton

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                            • #44
                              The book itself is so surprisingly small but incredibly good

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                              • #45
                                There is a HUGE controversey over his eru existence. All we have is "his" book ehich may not be his.
                                First Counsul Maleketh of Jonov

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