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The Art of War

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  • Oxford University Press, USA

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Customer Reviews

A Serious StudyThis English translation of this classic work by Sun Tzu is certainly an excellent one in that in addition to providing the original 13 "Chapters" of the original work it also provides the reader with considerable background that places this work in its proper context. It also provides commentary on specific portions of each chapter by Chinese scholars of Sun Tzu. All in all, the late Samuel B. Griffith has produced one of the more complete and carefully organized versions of, "The Art of War." Any serious student of this classic work will find Griffith's work an excellent resource.The written Chinese language is ideographic not phonetic and consists of thousands of pictographic characters whose meanings often depend on how they are arranged and combined into compounds. Further, Chinese doe not employ Western style punctuation so it takes a good deal of skill and knowledge for a Western to know where to break Chinese texts into sentences and paragraphs. Griffith appears to have done an excellent job in translating the Sun Tzu texts into something understandable by an English reader.Yet understanding the statements of Sun Tzu much less applying them to current situations requires that the reader be willing to actually exercise critical and contextual analysis to really understand the concepts that Sun Tzu was presenting. Griffith clearly understood this which is why he made sure to provide the historical context in which "The Art of War" was written. If the reader is not willing to make this sort of mental commitment, but simply wishes to be able to drop an occasional quote from Sun Tzu then it doesn't really matter which of the numerous versions of this work that is available is purchased.A final note if the reader of this work by Griffith is able to read Chinese, then as a supplement to this fine book, a book containing the 13 Chapters presented in modern Chinese Characters would be useful. "The Art of Strategy" by R. L. Wing is one example of such a book offering the reader a split text of Chines eand English.5materially excellent, physically flawedThis certainly is a cleanly translated version of Sun Wu's (Sun "Tzu" is but a nickname) "Soldier's Doctrine" (literal meaning of the characters commonly translated as "Art of War"). Also, the prefatory biographical and historical notes are most interesting. Unfortunately, the physical aspects of the production are not up to the high standards set by the text. To begin with, at the chosen page size, much of the print (mostly in the frequent, extensive footnotes) is so tiny that anyone over forty needs a magnifying glass to stomach it. Further, while every other page is bedecked by a beautiful color photograph of an ancient Chinese objet d'art, nowhere are captions (other than photographic credits in the end notes) provided, so I have no idea what I'm gawking at. I really can't think of a better edition of "The Art of War"--the recent Sweetwater Press conglomeration of five classic Asian texts into an oversized, ten-or-more-pound coffee-table edition doesn't pass my muster--but I wish the publisher had invested more thought into the physical production of what could be an outstanding volume but, ultimately, emerges as merely very good.4A most read for all humans interacting with other humans.And a beautiful edition! We've also given several as gifts and have been well received. The Art Of War can easily be stripped of its military applications and used in any endeavor that requires forethought. We've used the principals of TAOW for most of our adult lives and is definitely one of the reasons we have been able to retire early and have the resources, financially and physically, to enjoy our remaining years together.5A classicThis book comprises two parts. One is a translation of what Sun Tzu wrote, together with some comments from Chinese generals who lived shortly after. These comments are explanations for what Sun Tzu meant. What Sun Tzu wrote were chapters that were a collection of points, each point a short piece of advice, which was usually a broad generality on one hand and a universal truth on another. As such, much of what he wrote, although essentially designed for Chinese infantry and chariots of the fourth century BC (or thereabouts), are in many ways just as applicable today.The second part is a description of what we know about the history of the period, and how Sun Tzu (if there were actually a Sun Tzu!) fitted into his time. What is given is very extensive; I do not know whether it is accurate because distant history usually involves some degree of interpretation, but the authors/compilers of the historical aspects appear to have covered most of the possibilities.There are two reasons for purchasing "The Art of War". The first is to obtain the text attributed to Sun Tzu, and assuming you wish to do this, any such book will probably do. The second is to obtain the auxiliary information, and for this I highly recommend this version.Ian Miller, author of Troubles.5Now how is this book going to help me in the 21st century?My review title says it all. Yeah it's a good and even famous book. But how does this book apply to our current age? Should we pick a nice open field when meeting tough customers just to gain advantage on the terrain?This book should be read without judgement. Just breathe in all wisdom the ancient Sun Tzu has given us. Don't expect instant knowledge, but read this book over and over again and you will get the clue.Sun Tzu's writings hold a vast knowledge on tactics that still apply today, although we throw e-mails to each other instead of spears. You'll learn to recognize his tactics within your own situation. Use them how you seem fit. I even applied it on strategy games and it seemed to me I had an advantage with his knowledge. Even in business we can still 'pick the ground' although it could be a good restaurant instead of hills.Does this book apply to the 21st century? Definitly!4Picture is deceivingThe picture on this item is NOT what I recived , instead I got a softcover cheap copy.!! I have tried to get a refund but they keep giving me the runaround, even when I filed a claim they don t comply.!! These people are deceiving & fraudulent on what they re selling here you expect a hard cover well made book & you revive a cheap softcover book.1The act of waging and winning WarsSun Tzu explores the psychological motivations for power and discipline in `Art of War'. His work is ostensibly about tactics and day to day practice of warfare. As Sun Tzu was a keen observer of human nature, `the Art of war' is filled with advise useful not only for those engaged in war but also for those carrying on their normail lives.The strategic and tactical doctrines expounded in `The Art of War' are based on deception, the creation of false appearance to mystify and delude the enemy; the indirect approach; readily adaptability to the enemy situation' flexible and co-ordinate maneover of combat elements and speedy concentration against point of weekness. The best policy is to attack the enemy plans to prevent him from acting; then disrupt his alliances; creating a wedge amongst the people in state.In the `Art of War' the underlying tone is discipline. The general has to spend considerable amount of energy in emphasizing the need for discipline. Discipline via fear is however useful only up to a point. There must be a motivating force for all people who aspire to succeed, whether in the field of business, politics, administration, government or warfare. Wars cannot be won by just mere strength but it is on a conglomeration of factors, which need to be accounted. Sun Tzu emphasizes the need to take the moral of oneself and its enemy, the environment and other barriers into consideration. The moral strength and intellectual faculty of men were decisive in war, and that if these were applied war could be waged with certain success. Never to be undertaken thoughtlessly or recklessly, war was to be preceded by measures designed to make it easy to win. The master conqueror frustrates his enemy plans and breaks his alliances; he creates cleavages between the sovereign and minister, superior and inferiors, commanders and subordinates. His spies and agents are active everywhere, gathering information, sowing dissention and nurturing subversion. The enemy needs to be isolated and demoralized and his will to resist broken, thus without battle his army is conquered his cities taken and his state overthrown.Sun Tzu is a very vigilant and keen observers on human psychology.4The Additions to Sun Tzu make this special.The author adds his own knowledge along with Sun Tzu's. And the author's additions are excellent. You might find Sun Tsu on the net in PDF or something, but I wanted a book form and the author was a pleasant surprise for his own good knowledge on these matters. Its a fairly short book, but that it compares so much with modern warfare and intelligence wars that you should get to know it.5The ageless artOne would intuitively think that any book on war written thousands of years ago would long-since be rendered obsolete by all the technological advances in warfare that have occured over the past few centuries. Not so, says Sun Tzu. The present text is perhaps even more relevant today than when the master put pen to scribe.The best generals throughout history (Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, Lee, Patton) have all either innately grasped the lessons of this book, or they have learned by reading from the master. The worst generals, on the other hand (Nicias, Crassus, Hooker, Burnside) have been oblivious to Sun Tzu's teachings - and more often than not they paid dearly for their shortcomings.Much of THE ART OF WAR is straightforward. Some of it even falls under the category of common sense. Amazingly, even the most rudimentary instructions have been ignored by military leaders down through the ages.If, perhaps, there is one single "golden" rule of warfare that Sun Tzu would ultimately allude to, it is this: warfare is a complicated business. Do not enter into it without thinking through what it is you wish to accomplish by going to war. Do not go into combat half-cocked, and don't rely on half-baked plans or half-wit generals.The penalty for not following this dictum could very well be either your annihilation or the financial and materiel ruin of your society. For further elaboration on this point I will defer you to the Chinese sage himself.Given the amount of information rendered by this book, it is a surprisingly quick read. As a bonus, we are also able to peruse the trenchant commentary of various other Chinese military persons.This book is, quite simply, a must for the military historian - both amateur & professional. I would hope that it is standard reading for all major war colleges in my country. While the instruments of war change over the centuries, the rules of war remain constant.5Not a reviewNot a review of the book. However I bought this hardcover book as new, but it seems as if the book was used because it was damaged on the pages and in the middle of the book.4
The Art of War

The Art of War

4.3
Error You can't add more than 500 quantity.
Regular price
£30.00
Sale price
£30.00
Regular price
£48.00
Sold out
Unit price
per 
Save 38% (£18.00)