The Art of War

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When it comes to politics or warfare the name of chinese general Sun-Tzu always rise up, a sort of global cultural reference for developing a winning  strategy. As it happen Sun-Tzu’s masterpiece, “The Art of War”, is a worldwide success, translated in more and more languages every year.

A pity that so few really read the book and fewer more understand it.

If you read that book (as I strongly suggest to do) you will easily understand that there are three different levels of comprehension of the text. The first is about the definition of various types of military strategies, the second is about to use that strategies in other areas of conflict excluding warfare, the third is about a cultural lesson – understand a different approach to problems that derivates straight from Taoism.

Every level is useful, no matter how many years passed since the Sun-Tzu age. Even with all the differences given from the development of technologies and from a whole different set of cultural meanings the sharp thoughts of long-time dead general are still with us. These few pages are a must, something to keep with you for a long time. There’s no need at all to know about China in the 6th century B.C. or about the personal life of Sun Tzu; his lessons are what you need to be on the edge.

Links:

Sun-Tzu biography (from Wikipedia) – here

“The Art Of War” (from Wikipedia) – here

Free version of “The Art Of War” (from Project Gutenberg) – here

4 thoughts on “The Art of War

  1. Sun Tzu is a great classic, and even if it is a small book, I never read it in its entirety but just some sparse parts; luckily Project Gutenberg is always a blessing to put some patches to our ignorance😉
    It is basic wisdom, highly valuable precisely because representing a basis, it can be read in different levels, as you said.

    It is somewhat comparable to our own Machiavelli, whose writings I have always appreciated; he is often superficially labeled as “cynical opportunist”, but from my point of view it is just pragmatism.
    There is a passage from one of his letters to Francesco Vettori, where he describes the time he spend with books in the evening, after all the day’s work and annoyances, that always make me sympathize and feel close with that man lived in another time and in a different culture :

    Venuta la sera, mi ritorno a casa ed entro nel mio scrittoio; e in sull’uscio mi spoglio quella veste cotidiana, piena di fango e di loto, e mi metto panni reali e curiali; e rivestito condecentemente, entro nelle antique corti delli antiqui huomini, dove, da loro ricevuto amorevolmente, mi pasco di quel cibo che solum è mio e ch’io nacqui per lui; dove io non mi vergogno parlare con loro e domandarli della ragione delle loro azioni; e quelli per loro humanità mi rispondono; e non sento per quattro hore di tempo alcuna noia, sdimentico ogni affanno, non temo la povertà, non mi sbigottisce la morte: tutto mi transferisco in loro.

    http://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Lettere_(Machiavelli)/Lettera_XI_a_Francesco_Vettori

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